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Liberty's choice of Romney leads to angry student response
Students at Liberty University bow in prayer during commencement in 2007. Current students were angered by the choice of Mitt Romney for the 2012 graduation speaker.
April 20th, 2012
06:16 PM ET

Liberty's choice of Romney leads to angry student response

By Laura Bernardini and Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Liberty University students and alumni are accusing the Christian school of violating its own teachings by asking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whose adherents are called Mormons, to deliver its 2012 commencement address.

By Friday morning, more than 700 comments had been posted on the school's Facebook page about the Thursday announcement - a majority of them decidedly against the Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.’s invitation, citing that the school had taught them Mormonism isn’t part of the Christian faith.

“I can’t support Romney and I am happy I decided not to walk (in the commencement) this year,” wrote student Josh Bergmann. “Liberty University should have gotten a Christian to speak not someone who practices a cult. Shame on you Liberty University.”

Janet Loeffler, a 53-year-old freshman at Liberty, expressed her anger at the decision when contacted by CNN. She also sent a copy of the page of the freshman textbook “The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics” which includes the passage, “Mormon doctrine stands in stark contrast to Jewish and Christian monotheism, which teaches that there is only one true God and that every other ‘God’ is a false god.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Loeffler’s daughter, Sarah Misch, 33, of Unionville, Virginia, who is also a student at the school said, “I am glad I am not graduating this year. I would not want to end my studies at a Christian university by being sent in to the world at commencement by a Mormon. We came to Liberty because of our faith in Jesus; not for political reasons.”

Holly Stanton Morgan, another student, posted to Facebook, “I am glad that my husband and I won’t be attending his commencement. Mormonism is not Christianity. My commencement is next year. Hopefully they choose more wisely.”

Mark DeMoss, a Liberty graduate, member of the Board of Trustees and a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said on Friday, “We have had a Jewish commencement speaker, we have had a Catholic commencement speaker, and so, I think people are certainly entitled to their opinion. Social Media certainly provides an outlet for people’s opinions, but I think it is a great thing for the university.”

DeMoss also noted that the night before graduation is the annual Baccalaureate and that event will feature an evangelical Christian speaker.

Liberty University was founded as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971 by the influential pastor and Moral Majority co-founder Jerry Falwell. He founded the school to be a Christian university for evangelical believers, according to Liberty’s website.

Today, Liberty brands itself as the largest evangelical university in the world, with 82,500 students enrolled either on campus or online.

Liberty University would not comment beyond the press release it sent out Thursday announcing Romney would speak. There will be 14,000 graduates for the May 12th ceremony. The University announced that it expected 34,000 guests.

Previous commencement speakers included previous Republican presidential candidates Sen. John McCain in 2006 and Ronald Reagan in 1980.

The relationship between Mormons and evangelicals has been tested as of late. With Romney as the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, many political commentators are asking whether the evangelical base, an important voting bloc to the GOP, will come out for Romney.

If those votes hinge on how evangelicals see Mormonism, Romney may need further outreach to the evangelical community. A recent Pew Research Center survey finds that nearly half (47%) of white evangelicals say that Mormonism is not a Christian religion. Sixty-six percent responded the Mormonism and their religion are “very or somewhat different.”

The charge of Mormonism as a cult is not a new one for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Michael Otterson, head of public affairs for the Church, wrote about the word in a 2011 column.

“As part of the rhetorical warfare that has come to characterize modern American political discourse, it was only a matter of time before someone once again used the term “cult” to describe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Otterson wrote. He went on to describe the word as a, “a neat, shorthand and rather lazy way of putting a whole group into a box.”

The nation’s largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Conference, lists the LDS Church as a cult. They specifically cite differences in theology surrounding salvation, baptism, belief in the Trinity, and marriage. A major sticking point between other Christian traditions and Mormons is the Book of Mormon, which Mormons believe is divinely inspired scripture and on par with the Bible. Other Christians do not recognize the Book of Mormon as scripture.

CNN reached out to a LDS church spokesman for further comment but they demurred, stating that the story was a political story.

A Romney spokesman did not respond to questions about the issue.

Not all Facebook comments were negative, though. Tom Johnson added, “Mitt Romney has been invited to give a motivational speech, not a religious sermon. His religious beliefs do not have anything to do with his ability to give a motivational speech at commencement.”

And Kathy Creech added, “I, for one, am pleased that the future President of the United States will be speaking there!”


soundoff (1,597 Responses)
  1. John the baptist

    because of Romney, this will be the first time ever that I will not vote for a president. I dislike Obama, but hate what Romney is even more. and those fellow republicans who do vote for him should be ashamed for putting God second to their earthly desires. shame!

    April 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Barrack Obama

      I totally support your position and strongly encourage Christians to do the same.

      April 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • John the baptist

      you win some. you lose some. I'd rather our party lose to Obama then elect a person like Romney into office. maybe then the conservative party will get it together.

      April 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Fortunately for the republic, there is no "conservative party".

      April 21, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  2. ?

    Mormons believe Jesus appeared in America in 1825. And the second Mitt Romney says he agrees with that, his candidacy is finished. When will some brave reporter ask him that question?

    April 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • !

      Similarly, anyone who believes that God incarnate showed up as a peasant in a Middle Eastern backwater 2,000 years ago should also have all hopes of high office end.

      April 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • John the baptist

      @? great question! sadly the leaders of the republican party care more about winning then holding steadfast to their moral beliefs.

      April 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Franz

      Jews and Christians both believe a snake talked to Eve in the Garden of Eden. They believe a burning bush talked to Moses. They believe a woman turned to salt when she looked back at her city. Christians believe people were raised from the dead. Sounds crazy? Any religion seems odd to someone not of that faith. So you can take events from Mormon history and say how ridiculous it sounds, when in reality all religious stories are strange to a non-believer.

      April 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Or, better still, in reality all religious stories are ridiculous .

      April 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  3. aussieguy55

    I think there are many more reasons to not support Romney than the fact that he is a Mormon. Ernie Duncan, Obama's Education Sev also is a Mormon wears funny underwear, believes in some strange theology like God living on a planet,once being a man and becoming God. We have Romney's work in Bain Capital, his flipflopping and his wooden personality enough factors to perhaps not support him as President

    April 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  4. mms55

    well i got news for them but all religions are cults.

    April 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • John the baptist

      and your slowly rotting, big deal.

      April 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  5. been there...done that

    It took the death of a 5 year old for this ex-Mormon to find out the way out there beliefs of this "religion". History shows what a fraud J. Smith was. Since the LDS uses the excuse that one might lose the Holy Spirit if they view or read anything contrary to what Mormons are taught doesn't mean history has it wrong...members are just afraid to find out the truth.

    April 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  6. Yodeling Bob

    The problem is not whether a school like Liberty dislikes Romney as a speaker; the problem is that schools like Liberty even exist. Ah well, people can go to shams like Liberty if they want. If they don't have the sense to realize that it was founded by one of the true slimeballs of Christianity, if they don't have the sense to know why Young Earth Creationism is propaganda, not science, well that must be why their freshmen are 53 years old.

    How appropriate it is that the largest Southern Baptist university is in LYNCHburg.

    But Walmart always needs gemployees, and a Liberty diploma would be perfect for that.

    April 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  7. DC Observer

    Liberty students are IDIOTS -- COMPLETE TOTAL IDIOTS

    If they think for one nanosecond that some ultra christian zealot will ever be President, they are in for a lifetime of disap[pointment.

    To turn their back on The GOP alternative to Obama is unconscionable -- these students have NO sense of reality - Zip Nada None

    April 21, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • John the baptist

      @dc observer clearly you put your political belief over you belief in God. you blindly push a person who believes Jesus walked the America's to be the next president of this great republic, you should be ashamed of yourself. you are an example of why this country chose to elect Obama in the first place.

      April 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  8. naksuthin

    The danger for Evangelical Christians is that if Romney becomes President , Mormon missionaries who are competing for converts with Evangelicals Christians in Africa and Asia will now be able to add credibility to their message by pointing out that "even the President of the United States is a Mormon".
    The Mormon faith, due mainly to their aggressive missionary work, is now one of the fastest growing religions. It's not inconceivable that it could eclipse the Evangelical movement...which has a more passive outreach program .

    The willingness of Evangelicals to vote for a Mormon could be the biggest change for Mormonism in 100 years. It could bring Mormonism into the mainstream and silence the voices of those who have labelled it as a odd cult.

    April 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  9. Yowzas

    Romney = More preemptive WAR. Not very Christ-like

    April 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • They Scoff At Gravity

      Personally, I fear all the jello.

      Hey Mormons, what is with the jello obsession? Don't you know what it is made of?

      April 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  10. Yowzas

    Thank the founders for the 1st Amendment.

    Liberty U, founded by a "baptist" should have avoided all of this trouble by selecting a presidential candidate who happens to be a baptist and wishes to further the cause of Liberty... Dr. Ron Paul.
    However, I'm sure that if they had chosen Dr. Paul, CNN would not have run a story about Liberty U.

    April 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  11. Matt

    Come on Liberty students (the minority of them), grow up and leave your little bubble behind. You're narrow-mindedness is hurting your university's reputation.

    April 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  12. Levi

    It's nice to see that all of the students at Liberty learned about acceptance and loving one another and following Jesus while attending this school. For a school that claims to be the largest evangelical university, it sure doesn't teach its students tolerance.

    It apparently also teaches them garbage if their textbooks say that the LDS Church is a cult. Millions and millions of members worldwide and an outstanding reputation for helping people doesn't sound like a cult to me.

    April 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • ?

      Go to Wikipedia and learn the truth about Joseph Smith. The guy was a con artist, pure and simple. In and out of jail on fraud charges. All historical fact. Will any Mormon on this site address the fact that Joseph Smith was jailed as a fraud? Clear the air. Set the record straight. Google "Mark Hofmann" Or better yet, read the book "The Mormon Murders." Not only will you not vote for Romney, you will demand the United States invades Utah and restores democracy.

      April 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  13. Wayne Dequer

    Are commencement speeches primarily about being taught religious doctrine? Is education about only being willing to listen to those with whom we agree? If you education has made you dismissive of all views but your own, it is a poor education. In the last 25 years BYU has listened to the following speakers at it's commencement:
    L'Engle, Madeleine Newberry Award Winner, author
    Sadat, Jehan Former First Lady, Egypt
    Yunus, Dr. Muhammad Nobel Peace Prize Winner
    Rosenblatt, Dr. Roger Former editor of US News & World Report
    Templeton, Sir John Marks Billionaire philanthropist
    Paige, Rod U.S. Secretary of Education
    Tate, Lucile C. Biographer
    Clark, Kim B. Dean of Faculty, Harvard University
    Postman, Neil Professor, New York University
    Cheney, Vice President Richard B. U.S. Vice President

    Of course there have also be many leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have spoken at BYU commencements.

    It is true that Mormons are NOT trinitarian Christians although they do revere and worship Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer. I have long noted that it is common for protestant schools of divinity to exclusive use anti-Mormon, and for that matter anti-Catholic texts, etc. in their classes that purport to be about comparative religion. I am not surprised by the protests at Liberty University, but I am a bit disappointed. I would still home that in America, a land of religious liberty, we would be willing to listen to each other, although we certainly have the right to express our religious intolerances.

    April 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Ting

      Nicely said. The Mormons are doing well. Okay ?, where's your reply?

      April 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • John the baptist

      mormons are a cult. a group which puts their religion 1st before God, wear magic underwear and look at their own differently if not born a Mormon vs what they call "converts". a cult in which said converts do not go to the same heaven as those born Mormon...

      April 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Shiloh

      WOW, the individual that goes by "John the Baptist" is one religiously ingorant individual! If you are going to talk crap about a religion at least get the crap right. There are a lot of things wrong with Mormonism, that last comment was some of the most worthless waste of computer space!! Go do some reaserch!!

      April 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • John the baptist

      @shiloh and a person w a name like Shiloh obviously grew up around the stench of pot. grew up Mormon. I've been sealed. so suck it, you troll.

      April 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Sadly, Shiloh, the above post is what I've grown to expect from these self-proclaimed "christians".

      April 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  14. ?

    Joey Smith used to travel around the country 150 years ago with magic stones that he claimed could help him locate buried treasure. People gave him money to find the treasure. He never found any treasure, and as a result was jailed on fraud charges. Does that sound like a mighty prophet, or a scam artist looking for dupes?? How brainwashed do you have to be to buy into this malarkey?

    April 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Ting

      How brainwashed do you have to be to buy into this malarkey?

      Jesus brought people back from the dead. Is that malarkey or are you okie-dokie with that?

      April 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Robert

      We're going to ignore you from now on. You've read such a twisted and biased version of Mormon history that we will not even dignify your claims with further response. If you refuse to read from original sources, then there is nothing further to be gained from communicating.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Romney in 2012

      Religious attacks in this day and age are weak.... especially when they are dishonest.

      Romney > Obama

      April 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • ?

      The truth is a b-tch, ain't it?

      April 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Levi

      What in the world are you talking about? Do you have any clue? You sound like an uneducated moron. He never once claimed that he was out looking for treasure.

      They had to move West because the government turned a blind eye to the murders and persecution that was brought on them. Missouri even passed a law that it was legal to kill a member of the LDS Church. Give me a break.

      You should read up before you start posting. Well, only do that if you want to be taken seriously.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • gregor1971

      So, you completely make something up and post it on the internet in hopes that it will become truth. I am a professor of world religion in the UC system, and I am quite familiar with Mormon church history. Your post is without any credibility.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      @"?"

      In 1835 Joseph Smith wrote a declaration of belief regarding governments and laws. The purpose of this declaration was so “That our belief with regard to earthly governments and laws in general may not be misinterpreted nor misunderstood, we have thought proper to present, at the close of this volume [of History of the Church], our opinion concerning the same.” (History of the Church, 2:247) It is now Section 134 in the Doctrine and Covenants, canonized scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

      This declaration was adopted by unanimous vote of the general assembly of the Church in Kirtland, Ohio 17th August 1835.

      Three years later in 1838 Governor Boggs issued Missouri Executive Order 44 or Mormon Extermination Order. For nearly 140 years it was legal to kill Mormons in the State of Missouri.

      It was four year after the declaration on government Joseph Smith Jr., an American Citizen, representing the people who were suffering at the hands of mob violence for their beliefs. He met with President Martin Van Buren in November 1839 and worked for two months until February 1840 Joseph Smith was told, “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.”

      It was a bitter lesson in government.

      Joseph returned to help relieve the suffering of the people as best he could against the mobs that attacked the Mormons who called them liars, a cult and did worst in the name of Christianity.

      In 1844 Joseph Smith announced his candidacy for President of the United States. He ran on a platform to stop mob violence, free the slaves without collapsing the Southern economy and expand the borders of the United States by annexing Oregon and further at the consent of Native Americans to include their lands to the western coast.

      The forces of religious bigotry and racial inequality conspired together with the Governor of Illinois to murder Joseph Smith Jr. to stop him from his attempt to win the presidency that election or the next.

      You who call Mormonism a cult, weird and liars associate yourselves with bigots, murderers, rapists, and the worst of humanity that call for the extermination of Mormons from American life.

      Over 100 years ago that was attempted and failed. So there is another legacy you get associated with too, failure.

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints did not end with Joseph Smith Jr. and will not pass away even if the same extermination orders, mobs and assaults were tried again and again.

      April 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • John the baptist

      a cult which now denounces the same gold plates it based its belief on. it be like Christians saying the 10 commandments were never written.

      April 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Ting

      it be like Christians saying the 10 commandments were never written.

      Which set? The Bible has two. BTW have you stoned your child lately or have you denounced that part of the Bible?

      April 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      @John the baptist

      What are you talking about? Care to cite your claim?

      Please visit lds.org or mormon.org to check your facts next time you post.

      April 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  15. Rockgod28

    To create what?

    What kind of society, without religion, do you propose to make?

    Will greed be abolished without religion?

    Will cruelty, malice, hatred, and evil?

    Let's say you get your wish and get to tax all religions which will you claim will cause religions to be come extinct.

    Then who are you going to tax, who are you going to take money from because of personal beliefs not associated with religion when the tax money runs dry because there is no one to tax?

    Your world is a fantasy, built on illusions of your mind that have no place in reality.

    April 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • chubby rain

      "Will greed be abolished without religion?
      Will cruelty, malice, hatred, and evil?"
      –No, but without religion there would be one less thing for people to fight over. There wouldn't be the prejudice and hatred perpetuated by religions.

      "Then who are you going to tax, who are you going to take money from because of personal beliefs not associated with religion when the tax money runs dry because there is no one to tax?"
      - Tax....the same people we're taxing now.

      "Your world is a fantasy, built on illusions of your mind that have no place in reality."
      –Isn't that just religion?

      April 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Ting

      Your world is a fantasy, built on illusions of your mind that have no place in reality.

      It looks like we've made some progress. Now you're coming around to our way of thinking. Welcome aboard.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      I noticed Chubby Rain those like you are quick to respond with a whole lot of nothing.

      Nothing to offer. There is nothing to gain, sacrifice or work toward in a world without religion.

      "Will greed be abolished without religion?
      Will cruelty, malice, hatred, and evil?"
      –No, but without religion there would be one less thing for people to fight over. There wouldn't be the prejudice and hatred perpetuated by religions.

      **And what Utopia or acceptable society do you offer as a replacement?

      "Then who are you going to tax, who are you going to take money from because of personal beliefs not associated with religion when the tax money runs dry because there is no one to tax?"
      – Tax....the same people we're taxing now.

      ** Which is what? Producers being forced by government to give their money to consumers without compensation by laws, taxes, fines and regulations?

      "Your world is a fantasy, built on illusions of your mind that have no place in reality."
      –Isn't that just religion?

      **It is a world you don't even define. You have no structure, basis or even system of regulation except assaulting those who do. Why should I choose a society that is based on degrading my fellow human beings because they believe in something I can't see, hear or touch?

      **You call for a more civil society while removing the mechanisms that make America great and secure the blessings of Liberty without creating one to replace the societies you want to exterminate.

      Give me your vision, your designs for a better tomorrow without religion. Not how to continue to suppress religion.

      Does the world look like a Star Trek-like future?

      What is the life of an average citizen like? They live, breath and then die. End of story. Not much excitement or challenge with no religion to cry out against. Even if there is loads of excitement, the end of the story still comes to all people everywhere.

      The end.

      April 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  17. the1stchastiser

    Christians don't even like Romney.

    April 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • narrow-minded students

      I don't think that those were real Christians. They are self-righteous hypocrites. BYU has speakers from all religions and poliitical stances speak. I guess some of the "Liberty" students can continue life in their little bubble.

      Unfortunately, many students are pretty ignorant of reality and narrow-minded.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      Then why did Mitt Romney get invited to speak to a Christian school or even the GOP candidate for President of the United States?

      April 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Anne

      The difference is that when an Evangelical speaker or anyone is invited to BYU the students don't get angry and protest and say things like, "well, I am not attending my commencement then!" Also, BYU doesn't have classes that teach bigotry against another religion. Instead, they are encouraged to be respectful and open .

      April 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  18. carlos

    well, the mittsy is a bishop in the mormon cult, period, case closed.

    April 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Fabjan

      What's wrong with the office of a Bishop? It's one of the offices in the church that the apostle Paul said needed to be there. Any church that has eliminated the office of Bishop is not following Biblical doctrine.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Get Real

      He *was* a bishop. Large numbers of adult males (ahem!) serve a 4-7 year term as a "bishop" in Mormonism.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishop_%28Latter_Day_Saints%29

      April 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  19. ?

    The Mormon church is a cult. I understand that you don't want any scrutiny. Because the facts about the LDS are embarrassing. I do not want a cult member as president. The thought is sickening. Mormons are not Christians. Scream all you want. They are not and never will be. Anybody that reads about Joseph Smith will come to the same conclusion. The man was jailed for saying he could find buried treasure and scamming people out of their money. He was jailed for running a fraudulent bank. In the early days of the church, men were sent on missions so the church elders could steal their wives away. What part of these ain't Christians don't you get???

    April 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Fabjan

      Just keep perpetuating the worn out myths, rumors and stereotypes, buddy. Why don't you read what the church itself provides about their faith? Would you go to the writings of Mao Zedong or Stalin to learn about the beliefs of the American Founding Fathers? Learn from the source. Show some academic integrity.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • daric hepworth

      When you write things please do your homework or you just end up embarassing yourself as uneducated and hypocritical. There is nothing in the bible that doesn,t support the beliefs that mormons believe about god and christ. It is the same bible you use KJV.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • ?

      Answer the friggin' question?? Was he jailed for fraud?? Did he claim to be able to find buried treasure? Was he chased out of communities all over America?? You act like people make this stuff up. But it is true. Are you in total denial about Joseph Smith?? Answer the question. Was he jailed for claiming to be able locate buried treasure??

      April 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      No one is screaming "?".

      We don't need to scream or shout or complain about how other Christians treat Mormons. We know how Christians can treat Mormons and did so many years ago in the form of mob violence.

      Many people will have the chance to read about Joseph Smith some more to come to their own conclusions in a book called the Joseph Smith Papers. These are historical first hand accounts of the life of Joseph Smith for those interested.

      Do you think if you keep putting down enough slander, lies and attacks "?" that somehow you will expose or destroy Mormonism?

      It hasn't happened for nearly 200 years and your ranting will not stop people from drawing their own conclusions.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Fabjan

      Christ was executed by the government. Does that mean He was guilty as charged?

      April 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Ting

      Mormonism is a Christian cult. Christianity is a Jewish cult. Fascinating, isn't it?

      April 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Robert

      Don't forget John the Baptist was jailed for heresy and executed as well. Does that make him guilty too?

      April 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Levi

      You need to educate yourself before you start posting such garbage.

      What an idiot.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • laughable

      Yawn.

      No, you're a cult. No, you're a cult.... You're a cult.... Silly kid.

      April 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      To those that call Mormons a cult, liars and display other bigotry:

      You have a rich spiritual heritage of over 182 years. A heritage of those that spoke and acted just like you during the early years of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ by Joseph Smith Junior.

      In 1835 Joseph Smith wrote a declaration of belief regarding governments and laws. The purpose of this declaration was so “That our belief with regard to earthly governments and laws in general may not be misinterpreted nor misunderstood, we have thought proper to present, at the close of this volume [of History of the Church], our opinion concerning the same.” (History of the Church, 2:247) It is now Section 134 in the Doctrine and Covenants, canonized scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

      This declaration was adopted by unanimous vote of the general assembly of the Church in Kirtland, Ohio 17th August 1835.
      Three years later in 1838 Governor Boggs issued Missouri Executive Order 44 or Mormon Extermination Order. For nearly 140 years it was legal to kill Mormons in the State of Missouri.

      It was four year after the declaration on government Joseph Smith Jr., an American Citizen, representing the people who were suffering at the hands of mob violence for their beliefs. He met with President Martin Van Buren in November 1839 and worked for two months until February 1840 Joseph Smith was told, “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.”

      It was a bitter lesson in government.

      Joseph returned to help relieve the suffering of the people as best he could against the mobs that attacked the Mormons who called them liars, a cult and did worst in the name of Christianity.

      In 1844 Joseph Smith announced his candidacy for President of the United States. He ran on a platform to stop mob violence, free the slaves without collapsing the Southern economy and expand the borders of the United States by annexing Oregon and further at the consent of Native Americans to include their lands to the western coast.

      The forces of religious bigotry and racial inequality conspired together with the Governor of Illinois to murder Joseph Smith Jr. to stop him from his attempt to win the presidency that election or the next.

      This is your legacy and spiritual heritage to those that call Mormonism a cult, liars and lay the charge of conspiracy upon in your anger and hatred.

      You who call Mormonism a cult and liars associate yourselves with bigots, murderers, rapists, and the worst of humanity that call for the extermination of Mormons from American life.

      Over 100 years ago that was attempted and failed. So there is another legacy you get associated with too, failure.

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints did not end with Joseph Smith Jr. and will not pass away even if the same extermination orders, mobs and assaults were tried again and again.

      You are free to display your bigotry and allegiance to those whose spiritual heritage is one of murders and the worst humanity has to offer as long as your words remain words.

      April 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  20. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    Please post the following PowerPoint slide on all the doors at Liberty U:

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:

    THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:

    THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF ORTHODOX JUDAISM:

    ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

    (prob•a•bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.)

    Added details upon request.

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?:

    An end to Islam:

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    An end to Christianity:

    – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    An end to Judaism:

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax-exempt.

    April 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      Let's say you get what you want.

      Mr. Manhattan from Watchman reappears with Reality bending powers to give you your desire about religion.
      All religion is now gone, poof!

      There will be no religion at all anymore so you don't need to suppress it or regulate religion. It is GONE!

      Now what is the world like?

      You don't have to worry about invisible gods, myths and legends.

      Is the world now like Star Trek or some other fantasy the masses are supposed to buy into?

      Give me your description of this paradise or maybe not paradise. A Dystopia without hope like Blade Runner.

      Let me know. Unless of course you have nothing to offer except taxes, fines, oppression, government regulation, all for the purpose of suppressing religion.

      April 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Ting

      Rockgod28,

      Believe it or not, atheist don't go around committing crimes because they know that they won't be going to hell for eternity. The vast majority are civil people with good att.itudes about life. Enjoy the life you have now. You have to admit that this could be all that there is. As Jack Nicholson said, "what if this is as good as it gets?"

      April 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Reality

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

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

      April 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      @Ting

      So enlighten me.

      An increasing secular society that is rejecting religion is not impressing me for the last fifty years plus.

      America has ended manned space exploration.

      Science looks out into space and claims to "see" black holes, dark matter, and dark energy all which have never be duplicated by experimentation.

      So you don't even get a Star Trek like future.

      As you said what if this as good as it gets; an even worst assumption is what if humanity as a species has peaked in development which means it is downhill from here. All it takes is one large astroid and boom, no more you.

      No singularity, no atrificial intelligence, no faster than light space travel, and no colonization of space.

      What a sad bleak future? That is no future, no vision and tragedy that the Universe will not even notice.

      Is that the vision of humanity without religion in the future?

      April 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.