May 1st, 2012
02:41 PM ET

House candidate and rising GOP star is black, female - and Mormon

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - To call Mia Love a minority is an understatement. She’s a black woman who won an upset primary race to become the Republican candidate in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. If elected, she’d be the first black Republican congresswoman in the House of Representatives.

Love, who has attracted lots of national Republican support, also stands out because of her religion: She’s a Mormon. The politician is a poster child for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ campaign to present a more diverse face to a historically very white church.

“There are a lot of people who have tried to define me as a person,” Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, told CNN’s Kyra Phillips in an interview Tuesday. “I’m not a victim, and I don’t allow anybody to put me in a box.”

Speaking from Salt Lake City, she said, “There may be some challenges. But ... I love this place and love the people that are here, and I represent their beliefs and values.”

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Love is featured in a video series produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of its “I’m a Mormon” campaign, which aims to bring the faith of about 14 million members worldwide into the mainstream.

In the CNN interview, Love talked about how Mormonism would affect Mitt Romney’s candidacy more than her own, which is happening in the most Mormon state in the nation.

“You know I don’t think those are the issues that Americans really care about,” Love said when asked about the role of Romney’s religion in the presidential campaign. “I think Americans care about jobs, the economy; they care about the debt and deficit spending. … Being a Mormon is part of who he is as a person, and I don’t think it should deter from the issues.”

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Love’s “I’m a Mormon” video shows her working as the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, her current job.

“I am the mayor of Saratoga Springs and I love it,” she says in the video. “I get to make this life better for me and better for others.

“My friends from back home are always saying, ‘What are you doing in Utah?'” she says in the video, referring to her East Coast upbringing. “What they don’t know is that when I came here I felt accepted.”

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mormonism • Politics • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (2,038 Responses)
  1. Ed Wood

    How strange. She says 'I won't allow anyone to put me in a box' yet, she is is a member of one of the smallest boxes on the planet.

    May 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  2. GoSitInTheCar

    She'll be an isolated target by Friday. Alinsky baby!

    May 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  3. DCInsider

    I am happy for her. Although she playing on the losing team. A black female being a Mormon and member of the GOP is the same as a Jew being a Nazis if not worse.

    May 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Scott

      Golly you sure sound smart. How many of our GOP candidates this cycle have fit into one of the following categories: female, mormon, black?

      May 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • John

      Godwin's law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies[1][2]) is an observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990[2] that has become an Internet adage. It states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."[2][3] In other words, Godwin observed that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably criticizes some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs held by Hitler and the Nazis.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  4. J

    See? We're diverse! We have a colored girl!

    May 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  5. Moroni

    First they give up allowing multiple wives, and now they admit African Americans into the religion. The times they are a' changin'. Next they may let women have equal standing with men. Now that would really be something to write about!

    May 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Reggie from LA

      Now Moroni, folks had better listen very closely to what you wrote. People may think what you say is hyperbole and I'm sure Ann Romney would disagree. I asked a deacon about where Mormon women stand in terms of equality. It would shock some and perhaps not others who may be in the know, but they are not equal citizens. How they let Ms Love get away with this one seems to be a bit of a diversity ploy. Tis the season for pimpin' women and showing how welcome they are in GOP circles. They really shouldn't take it badly that their partners in crime (crooks) want to ensure she can't sue if discriminated.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • souptwins

      Women have always had "equal standing". Do you her men complaining about not being able to bear children? Different roles does not mean less important.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • souptwins

      Nice try Reggie! At least learn the lingo. A deacon in the LDS church is a 12-13 yr. old kid. Doesn't exactly amount to much authority.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  6. TG

    Though the United States is defined as a "Christian " nation, this Mia Love said truthfully that "Americans care about jobs, the economy; they care about the debt and deficit spending", but not what the Bible really teaches about involvement in the political arena, with Mormons included.

    Jesus said that his genuine disciples would be "no part of the world."(John 15:19) Jesus gave a parable concerning "a man that sowed fine seed in his field." But "while men were sleeping, his enemy came and oversowed weeds in among the wheat, and left."(Matt 13:24, 25)

    The "fine seed" or "sons of the kingdom", and "while men were sleeping" or following the death of the apostles, that "weeds" or counterfeit "Christians" were sown by "the enemy", Satan, in among "the fine seed" that "a man" or Jesus Christ had planted over the course of 29-33 C.E., and in which these counterfeit "Christians" would immerse themselves totally in the political affairs of the nations, even ' committing fornication with the kings of the earth.' (Rev 17:1, 2)

    In this "conclusion of a system of things" or "end of the world"(Matt 13:39, King James Bible), these counterfeit "Christians" are exposed for what they are and are then "collected and burned with fire"(Matt 13:40) by the angels (Mat 13:41, 42) and in which "the righteous ones" will have been "no part of the world" of politics.(Matt 13:43)

    May 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      The U.S. is not a christian nation. It is a nation with a population that is predominately christian. Huge difference.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Moroni

      Actually, the U.S> is not defined as a Christian nation at all. We have freedom of religion here, including freedom *from* religion.
      The Founding Fathers were smart that way. America is a nation of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, pagans, agnostics, atheists... Name any religion and you'll find an American who follows it.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • J

      Maybe the weeds were just weeds. Who are you to say what a metaphor means?

      May 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      TG,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      Your analogy makes good sense! Could you please decipher the following verse for me so I have more than just my own views?

      1Cointhiansr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  7. Pat

    Very proud of a fellow Haitian immigrant. By the way Rose your comment is ridiculous. Haitians are very proud of their African ancestry. Please don't bring your own personal issues about race into this.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  8. sarah

    I'm ready to see a saner GOP. Really. I hope she's it.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  9. genebrady

    According to the Mormons, the Black people are the decendants of Cain and carry "the mark of Cain". Therefore, no black person can hold a high position. Neither can women but a black woman is less than zero in the church so I am wondering what she intends to "bring to the table".

    May 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • sarah

      That was once true... just as it was once true that most Christian religions held the same view. Just as it was once true that evolutionists contended that blacks were inferior human beings. It's not uncommon to hear that sentiment now. Really, if you're a racist, you'll find any reason to justify your point of view.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • zip

      Sarah, are you wearing a diaper right now? Cuz it seems a little snug.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • souptwins

      Sarah's exactly right. People seem to be stuck in the wrong decade.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Norman

      souptwins-the word of god is unchanging-blakcs are still inferior per mormon doctrine-you cant just change it

      May 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • John

      genebrady-A quick google search of "Curse and mark of Cain" will show you that this was not a Mormon specific theory of the time. Protestants were just as guilty of this theory.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  10. Rob

    Wow that is ironic- First off the Mormon religion believes that black people are black because of a curse that god placed on their people in ancient times. They believe that curse ended in the 1950s. Secondly, the Mormon record on women is atrocious at best. I met a bunch of early 20s Mormon girls on a cruise and could tell they were the moderate kind– they told me that their parents had sent them on a vacation to find husbands because they were embarrassingly old to be single.

    An African American Mormon woman is too much to be taken seriously. She has got to be crazy...

    May 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;

      Just contemplate this verse for a bit!

      May 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • souptwins

      Rob– I'm afraid these Mormon girls played you. You just don't realize the joke was on you. Seriously!

      May 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • John

      First off, Mormons don't believe black people were cursed. While some pioneer era Mormon leaders adopted that contemporary theory about a black curse, there has never been any official reason given for the priesthood ban. We do know that church founder Joseph Smith gave the priesthood to at least one black man elijah abel. So the picture seems to be more complex then whatever folklore you heard. Second, while it's true that Mormons believe strongly in family and marriage, I think you need to be more specific then your cruise story to make a point about womens rights.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Norman

      John-the book of Nehpi says youre a liar-And [God] had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God; I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities." (2 Nephi 5:21)

      May 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • John

      Norman- You present a staw man interpretation of that passage that most Mormons don't adhere to.

      According to modern interpretations of LDS theology, the curse of blackness does not refer to skin color, but generally refers to those who lack the enlightenment of the gospel in their lives (Alma 32:35). The curse of blackness is removed when unbelieving people accept the light of the gospel (Alma 23:18). This particular teaching—that the curse of dark skin came upon the children of Cain because they practiced genocide on the people of Shum, rather than it being the result of the mark placed upon Cain by God—was radically different from the views widely held by most Evangelical Protestant groups in the U.S. during and before the life of Joseph Smith

      May 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • John

      Straw Man

      May 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  11. zip

    Do a wiki search on Parley P. Pratt, Mitt Romney's great grandfather. Find out why he was killed by a jealous husband. Oh yeah, he also had 12 wives.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • souptwins

      So you're worried about what someone's ancestor did back 3 generations ago but no one can bring Obama's own father and his marriage practices? Interesting

      May 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  12. Angy

    she is not free thinking, she is delusional! she is on the rethugs plantation. IDIOT! the rethugs will only let her "rise" until they have to put her in her place.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  13. Barrack

    Republicans always bring out their tokens during election year. Let's be real neither Republicans or Mormons like blacks....

    May 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • 3511danny

      It sounds like you are the one who is generalizing.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Dean

      Very ignorant comment. Actually, the party that has been generally against African Americans has been the Democrat Party. The first African-American Congressman and Senator were under the Republican ticket in 1870 (Joseph Hayne & Hiran Rhode).

      – 1st black Democrat not elected until 1935 from Illinois.

      – 1st black elected Congressional Democratic from a southern state was not voted in until 1973

      – In 1865, the 13th Amendment was passed with 100% of the Republicans voting for it and only
      23% of the Democrats voting for it.

      – The 14th Amendment was passed giving the newly emancipated blacks full civil rights and federal
      guarantee of those rights, superseding any state laws. Every single voting Republican voted for
      the Amendment, no Democrat voted for it.

      – In 1892, Democrats took control of the House, Senate, and White House. They repealed all of the
      Republican civil rights laws and that allowed the Southern Democrats to pass the Jim Crow
      laws, poll taxes, literacy test, and others in their southern states.

      – Only 64% of Democrats in Congress voted for the Civil Rights Act.

      While 80% of the Republicans voted for the Act.

      88th Congress: H.R. 7152 (Public Law 88-352)
      House: 290-130
      Senate: 73-27

      Republicans: (H) 138-34 80%
      (S) 27-6 82%
      Overall – 80%

      Democrat: (H) 152-96 61%
      (S) 46-21 69%
      Overall – 63%

      May 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • me138

      what a bigot!

      May 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Norman

      dean-youre completely ignorant-the republican party of lincoln is now the democratic party-the current GOp is now controleld by bigoted old white men in the south

      May 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  14. Randall - God's Chosen One

    Black, female, Mormon and Republican? Whew!

    Enjoy your status as a token and a trophy because the GOP will never let you get much further than Utah. You've got too much estrogen, color, and weirdness for the bigoted white Baptists among the Republican Party.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  15. 3511danny

    The leftist, Bill Mahar, etc,. are not going to like this.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • zip

      Actually, it's comedy gold

      May 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • jayjay

      Are you kidding?? They're going to have a field day over it! The only reason the GOP is making a big deal about it is because she's a black Mormon. She's like the black neighbor in a whitewashed subdivison. All the surrounding white republicans are bringing her casserole after casserole, and talking about how great it is to have her.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • souptwins

      And yet the interview was by left-leaning CNN by a woman who struggled to keep her professional composure.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  16. rose

    As a second generation Haitian woman my people suffer from the same issues that plagued us at home, the need to connect
    with the "master"(at home it was the French). It was not unusual for families to encourage children to pursue relationships with whites to help" lighten-up" the race in fact it was pretty much expected, and unfortunately This situation sadly continues on these shores.
    There was a reluctance by me to post this as it exposes a part of our history that we would rather not discuss or confront,but I felt the need to try and explain a particular mindset.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • 3511danny

      You should except the fact that there are blacks who are conservative in this great country.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      rose,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      Did not the needs for nurturing societal functionalities in matters of skin color become of racial concerns in such matters of wanting to lighten up one's skin tones? Are we all heading for a mingling of uneducated creeds of multi-racial engenderisms?

      May 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  17. cheapseats2

    Wow. Just a few minutes of reading the posts here shows that the liberal facade mantra of tolerance and celebration of diversity is alive and well.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Stonesrule

      Exactly.....it's too predictable and too funny.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Jb

      It's predictable, but not funny....

      May 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  19. Pete/Ark

    wonder what this PR creation cost Romney....?

    May 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  20. Willy Brown

    Oh dear democrats, she's not on Obama's DNC plantation. I guess you're going to smear her now for being a free thinking woman.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • zip

      How's the weather in Cult Lake City?

      May 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Reggie from LA

      No Willy Brown, I'm not going to smear her. Smarter than that. I am going to smear you. You see, if her values are your values or for some reason you feel she's different (and I don't mean her color), you are mistaken. She sounds just like the rest of the GOP whereas they've done nothing but bi+ch about the President and have shown no propensity for forward thinking. As for the plantation, there's ALL kindsa colors of folks on it, suh. See most Dems believe in an America that cares about ALL of it's people. Her party (probably yours too) doesn't. Don't deny it. You can see it everyday. Just pay attention.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:31 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.