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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.”

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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. Nick

    Mormonism is a cult!!! None of us should vote for some religious cult member! Romney is a pshyco for following such a demented religion.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • 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.

      April 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Uneducated sleazebag

      You and I think alike

      April 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  2. bigdoggie

    Religion...it's so 15th Century!

    "Those christian...they're so poor they only got one god! -Comicus, 39 A.C.E.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Huebert

      lol

      April 21, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  3. Lori

    I can't say I'm surprised, but I am still disappointed to see that so many people- and an ESTABLISHED UNIVERSITY even- is officially TEACHING that Mormons are a cult, not Christian, and don't believe in the Holy Trinity.

    I am descended from the first Mormons, have been raised Mormon and am proud to call myself a Mormon. For anyone so quick to tell ME what I believe, let me share with you first:

    We do NOT believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the SAME being. We DO believe they are separate beings- how else could Jesus be God's son? I don't see anywhere in the Bible that says that they are ONE being or that believing otherwise is HERESY. Different interpretations? Sure- just leave it at that!

    We DO believe the Bible is the word of God. We ALSO believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God- an addition to the Bible. Not to REPLACE it.

    I believe Jesus Christ is the Savior, our Redeemer, and died for our sins so that we may be saved.

    I'm pretty sure that's a good description of what a CHRISTIAN believes.

    Cult? I'm free to leave this "cult", and did leave for many years during a rebellious youth. Many others leave and come back, and some just leave for good. There were no consequences given by the "cult". When I chose to return to my "cult" I was welcomed and NOT chastised. From our modern understanding of what a cult is (Waco, anyone?) the Mormon church is a far-cry away from that.

    I believe what I believe, and you believe what you believe. But please don't YOU tell me what *I* Believe!!!!

    April 21, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Sam

      Lori, don't be upset, most religions have cult-like tendencies. Just G o o g l e crazy evangelical Jesus camp, and you'll see what I mean.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Rockgod28

      Agreed.

      I don't like others telling me what I believe either as a Mormon when our beliefs are published and easily viewed by anyone who cares to read them like the Articles of Faith.

      Have a wonderful day!

      April 21, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • TR6

      “I am still disappointed to see that so many people- and an ESTABLISHED UNIVERSITY even- is officially TEACHING that Mormons are a cult,”

      If this is a respected “established university” then the Taliban are a respected and established political organization

      April 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  4. Mugatu

    They're all the same. Doesn't anybody realize this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  5. Kenjitheman

    When is CNN going to get over the mormon cult thing. This has to be the third or fourth "cult" article I've read on here. Get over it, nothing you publish is going to change anything. People will have their opinions and some will still say it's a "cult". That is our right, I understand that but please.......find something else to write about. I am going to join this cult just to see what all the hate is about.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Sam

      Okay, but you'll have to learn the secret handshake, where the secret garments, and possibly get baptized for the billions of people who weren't fortunate enough to be born since Joseph Smith started this "religion".

      April 21, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Kenjitheman

      O.K. its a free hot tub and some underwear that look like boxers and a regular white hanes t shirt. Almost every person on earth wears under wears. Not too sure of the problem

      April 21, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  6. Faith-Isn't-a-Preacher

    And Liberty University claims to be a school that promotes tolerance and diversity?
    Apparently, there are some at the University that are Religious Supremacist.
    Too often those Supremacist are themselves cult members that follow a charismatic preacher that teaches supremacy and validates the ill will of their followers.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  7. ron

    It's all about politics. Liberty University is a radical right-wing political machine. So it is not surprising that they would invite a right-wing candidate regardless of religion. They would probably invite a right-wing atheist before inviting President Obama, an avowed Christian.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Sam

      True that!

      April 21, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • AlStat

      Ron, unfortunately, that is probably true. I am a Liberty student, a Christian, a liberal, and I will be voting for Obama. I do not understand why some people feel the need to so vehemently stand against something they refuse to learn more about. I hope you understand that not all Christians act this way.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Tom Howard

      Well said, Alstat!!

      April 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  8. Mike Cook

    But was not born with a Muslim father. Evangelicals are sure not to vote for someone born with a muslim father, you forgot to mention that

    April 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • bigdoggie

      Idiot!

      April 21, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • LEK

      pretend Christians forget that, even if the President’s father was a Muslim, he (Obama) has confessed that he's is a Christian and believes in Jesus Christ as his Savior; besides let’s say he is a convert–do he not share in the same promise as you pretend-Christians...I'm just saying...what a bunch of hypocrites to the highest power...

      April 21, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  9. Bill

    It is a sad day when evangelical Christians sell out the Truth of the Bible to politics and legitimize an antichrist religion throughout the world.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Huebert

      Mormons believe that Jesus was God's son who died for their sins. They are Christian. Get over it.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  10. Lucian

    Please continue your intolerance, false "Christians" that you are. The President's re-election campaign thanks you!

    April 21, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • AlStat

      I am a Christian. I am a liberal. I am voting for Obama. I am a Liberty Student. I highly object to the comments from some of the students on here. Please do not clump all Christians into one group.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  11. Sam

    Mormons have looked down their nose at other Christian Religions forever, it was Joseph Smith's whole premise when he founded his church. This is just their Karma coming back to get them.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    No religious conflict, but Christ.

    Once the Jew Jesus met a religious woman from Samaria at the well of Jacob (John 4).

    Jesus was very thirsty from a long walk and said to her: "Give me to drink!" The woman refused, because Jesus was a Jew and the ordinary Jews despised the Samaritans (the Samaritans were somewhat supersti-tious).

    Yet the woman made a mistake, because Jesus was not a typical Jew, but a loveable Jew. He responded, he had given her Water of Eternal Life, if she had asked him.

    Jesus did not want to talk with the woman about the conflict of Jewish faith and Samaritan faith, but he showed her that she had a lack of love, which would be the consequence of the true faith.

    We can learn very much from this story.

    All false religions are bigoted. They tend to handicap believers of other religions (see how the woman handicaped Jesus by not giving him water, although he was in need). In contrast, Jesus had been ready to give her not only ordinary water, but living water. Jesus had not considered the religion of the woman, but only her need.

    Hence, if I am a Christian and born by Water and Spirit, I should help people in need independent from their belief. If my Muslim workmate needs an advice, I should give him an advice. If my Hindu neighbour is hungry, I should give him food. If my Mormon classmate is hurted, I should transport him to the hospital.

    The true Christian love is independent from belief, nationality, colour, social status, etc.. True Christian love is not bigoted, but sees the neighbour as a human being with full human dignity, which is loved by God and for which Jesus has died and resurrected or for which God delivered his Son and raised him from the dead.

    Concerning Romney:

    Romney is a Mormon bishop and they are of course bigoted. It is questionable, if Romney becomes president, if he will treat all poeple of America equal. I could imagine that he will prefer the Mormons (I cannot prove that).

    John 4:

    Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

    April 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Ting

      Really? You're still arguing that Christian bigots are better than other bigots?

      April 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  13. AlStat

    As a Liberty student, I was highly disappointed by my fellow students’ responses to Romney speaking at commencement. The comments have turned into a strong debate between so-called liberals and conservatives. One comment on the Liberty Facebook page even went as far as to say that it was impossible for someone to be a liberal and a Christian. To that I say, do you know my heart? Do you know Romney’s heart? Only God does. God is so much more powerful than any government. That’s why the Psalmist says, “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.” (Psa 146:3-4, NIV)
    The definition of liberal is favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs. Who doesn’t want progress or reform in this day and age? The real problem here is that the students who were taught by Liberty that Mormonism is a cult are upset that their teacher (Liberty) is allowing a “cultist” to speak to them on a very important day. But here is the point dear Liberty students: this man is coming to speak, not to proselytize. It is okay to have deeply held convictions. That does not make you close minded. Refusing to hear other people’s points of view, however, does make you close minded. A commencement is not a sermon. Those of you who say you plan to protest the commencement, consider this verse: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" (Matthew 22:36 NIV). Jesus replied, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV). If the most important thing on this earth is loving God and loving mankind, how does protesting a single speech love anyone, or better yet, how does it bring ANYONE closer to God? There are many non-believer students at Liberty. Each day they are probably taking an internal inventory of the way you act in order to determine whether or not they want to join the kingdom of God. Protesting someone because they are not like you can only lead to a non-Christian judging you in a negative light. If the goal of Christians is to bring people to Christ, how does this help with that mission? Treat your enemies with love. I’ll say one more thing about this: "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But now (or 'as it is') my kingdom is not from the world" (John 18:36); Christ's religious teachings were separate from earthly political activity. Church and state have separate spheres of influence. If you don’t want to hear the words of Mitt Romney, simply don’t attend the ceremony. I guarantee you he will not be preaching about the Mormon faith. He is not hurting anyone by being there. Move on to something that is more important. To all non-Christians reading this-please know that not all Christians act like this. There are plenty of us out there who concern ourselves with loving everyone and being slow to anger.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  14. Alger Dave

    So often the best lies have the most truth in them, but waver from that truth by one or two important parts. Discernment about these issues takes education and understanding. Evangelical Christians consider Mormonism a cult because they've taken the time to look into the issues and carefully consider them. That doesn't mean Christians hate Mormons – quite the contrary as we tend to pray for and compassionately consider those different from us. Foolish people think that if you disagree with someone you hate them, but smart folks understand that this is not true. Most Christians I know (myself included) care very much about people they don't agree with, like Mormons, gays, etc. We're not afraid of them, and we don't hate them. We've carefully studied our beliefs and theirs, and we choose ours because of this discernment.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  15. Alger Dave

    What's the confusion here? While Mormons may be nice people, they are 'heretics' in every sense of this word. They believe in extra-biblical teachings and practices that go against mainstream Christianity and the bible itself. It's a cult. Is the truth painful? Apparently so in a year when a Mormon might be the GOP's best hope of defeating the enemy Obama. So evangelical Christians need to decide if they want to vote for a Mormon billionaire flip flopper. Is that what Jesus would do? Write in Santorum and send a message to the GOP – don't take social conservatives and evangelicals for granted!

    April 21, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Huebert

      Mormons believe that Jesus is the son of the one true God and their personal lord and savior. I thought that salvation was obtained through belief alone.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Ting

      They believe in extra-biblical teachings and practices that go against mainstream Christianity and the bible itself. It's a cult.

      Imagine that...Now let's see...How about we ask the Jews what they think about Christians taking the Torah and adding in some extra teachings and practices that go against mainstream Judaism. Jesus was a Jew you know. Guess what? You're in a cult.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • ron

      The "enemy Obama" is an avowed Christian. So it really comes down to politics–liberal or conservative. It seems the evangelical Christians are more passionate about their conservatism than their religious beliefs. I'm guessing they would vote for an avowed atheist who is conservative before they would vote for a Christian they consider liberal.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Huebert

      Enlighten me, what do Mormons believe that goes against the bible? And FYI I'm not Mormon I'm an Atheist i just have many Mormon friends and family members.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  16. JL Fuller

    Universities are supposed to teach students how to think not what to think. Maybe that part is missing at LIberty or maybe the folks who object to Mitt Romney were sick the days they taught critical thought. Pity.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • TR6

      Don't you mean day? Singular.

      April 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  17. rosethornne

    Dear religious nutbags: please DO continue your flame wars about my-sky-fairy-is-better-than-your-sky-fairy.

    Please DO refuse to vote for the eeeeevil romney, and just stay home in november.

    And by the way, since this world is sooooo very terrible, why don't you refuse to bring your children into the world – or are you cruel as well as deluded? Please DO participate in lifelong celibacy and non-reproduction.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • AlStat

      While I am not a religious nut-bag, I am a Christian. Please read my post above so you know that not all Christians are close minded. Thank you.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  18. johnfrichardson

    Let the righteous right pull itself apart. When you encourage your rank and file to be as small minded and bigoted about faith and morality as possible, don't act all surprised when they don't turn on a dime and accept those of other faiths just because they won some primaries.

    April 21, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  19. Rockgod28

    To those that call Mormons a cult, liars and display other bigotry towards those of a different faith:

    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. I know that Liberty University is an accredited college and should teach history. It appears you either missed a few classes or haven’t taken the course yet.

    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.

    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 everything except examples and followers of Jesus Christ.

    Even though you are associated with murderers, rapists, conspirators and all manner of bigotry I will respect your right to be that way. To express your opinions, your voice and your religious liberty to attempt to degrade my Mormon beliefs as long as you remain vocal only. I will defend your beliefs in Jesus Christ and will do my best to do as the Savior has commanded all people who take upon His name to do.

    Luke 6:27-37.

    April 21, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Nii

      All well and good but take the way you talk about others calling you "cult, liars, and" You will need to also realise that spiritual abuse in the LDS is an established fact. You constantly talk about your church's restoration. If it is your religion it is ok. When you compare this with ours...Hmmmm

      April 21, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Matt

      The Mormon Church is a Christian cult and is not representative of Biblical Christianity (emphasis on the Biblical). Mormons reject the Trinity and put the Book of Mormon on par with the Bible. Sure, Protestant denominations are based on the theologies of individuals such as John Calvin, John Wesley, and Martin Luther but you will never, and should never, see a Protestant denomination put the writings of an individual on the same level as the Bible. The Bible is the ultimate authority and nothing else, which the Mormons do not practice. As Christians we don't need the Book of Mormon, nor do we need to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet because what Jesus did on the cross is final. No further revelation is necessary.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Ting

      The Mormon Church is a Christian cult

      The Christian Church is a Judaic cult. Fascinating, isn't it?

      April 21, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  20. Nii

    THOUGHT POLICE
    So now u r afraid 2 answer! I thought so. The fact is I'm neither a Mormon, Muslim, Jew or J W. I don't understand their beliefs. I understand Xtian beliefs even that of WBC not Mormon, etc. U'll not really understand them if u don't follow them. Atheists also differ from Agnostics.

    April 21, 2012 at 10:53 am |
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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.