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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. Michael

    How can you belong to cult that just twenty years ago did not allow you to be a member, Mormon are all part of cult and they will prop this black woman as a spoke person. Must be very lonely for her. Brain washed in more ways than one

    May 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Doveab

      No they are not. Not all.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • O.S. Bird

      What is a cult?

      May 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • souptwins

      I think you're confusing "membership" with holding the Priesthood. Blacks have always been members back to pioneer times. There is even evidence that J. Smith ordained a black man with the priesthood. It was after his death that things changed. The origin of the policy is unclear. Many churches refused leadership positions to black well into the 20th century. I personally knew some black LDS people pre-1978.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • food

      O.S Bird,

      Anything that takes your money and promisses you something something after you die.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • g.c.kells

      If you belong to any religion you belong to a cult by someone else's standards. Why does it matter to you what faith she chooses? Obviously she has considered the past policies of the church and decided to move past it.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • nairb247

      Michael, How can you come on here and make claims that are 100% not true.

      The LDS Church has allowed Black members since its beginning.
      1832 – Elijah Abel goes on to become the first black man to be given the priesthood in the LDS Church.

      Joseph Smith used to purchase slaves to immediately set them free.

      Joseph Smith ran for president, his biggest campaign agenda was abolition of slavery.

      Joseph Smith Writes in His Personal Journal that Slaves Should be Set Free
      He writes that the slaves owned by Mormons should be brought “into a free country and set …free– Educate them and give them equal rights.”

      1847 – Several Blacks Arrive in Utah
      It is reported that Green Flake comes in with Brigham Young in the first company of Saints to arrive. All Blacks entering Utah are free.

      I would be lying if there weren't issues in the past regarding the priesthood, however the church has always been an advocate for civil rights and has never thought that blacks were cursed.

      Seek first to understand, then to be understood. It makes things so much easier.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  2. LogiK

    Interesting considering Mormons denied black people had souls until about 10 years ago... Its like Rush Limbaugh saying he's going to work for PETA – not a good fit dear.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • souptwins

      Please see my reply above. You are sorely mistaken!

      May 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • nairb247

      incredibly mistaken.

      Blacks have souls (an item that others didn’t necessarily believe) and that they are a product of their environment. Given an equal environment they would be on the same level as whites. – Joseph Smith as he discussed his disdain for slavery.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • skeptical

      This is a lie and I would consider it "hate" speech.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  3. zip

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

    May 1, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Joel

      Please explain how this is relevant. Seriously, if we were all defined by what our great-grandfathers did . . .

      May 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • g.c.kells

      Do a quick wiki search on "who cares" or "has absolutely nothing to do with anything". If we are going to penalize people for things their family members do, Kennedy's would forever be banned from public office.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • souptwins

      Zip is obsessed with Mitt's dead ancestors.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  4. Alex

    I wonder if she knows she's being used?

    May 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • larper2

      Token Black mormon to show marmons are normal people.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • marctheduck

      Too bad, Alex. Can't line up your blacks anymore like back in the good old days, huh? The Klan days are over dude... sorry.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Joel

      Jesse Jackson, Jr. still hasn't figured it out, and he's been there a while. (note obvious sarcasm)

      Alex, please stop spewing your racism. People of African descent can think for themselves.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • food

      She is probably laughing all the way to the bank.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  5. Doveab

    Message to Black Men and Women:
    The Dem party is not your friend....these minions think you are not smart enough to make your own decisions and will continue LIE to you to feed their evil agenda and will keep you down - and dependent. Wake up and break from the evil government chains of doom!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • zip

      How come planet Kolob isn't in My Bible, cult member? You are not Christian. And God has a fiery lake just for you, you brainwashed kook.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  6. zip

    The Romney family fled to Mexico because the United States outlawed polygamy. Romney's father was born in Mexico.
    Just curious. Is Ann Romney the favorite wife??

    May 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • marctheduck

      As Zit always says, "G.D. America, G.D. America, G.D. America. Now just give me the gift!"

      May 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • nobody important

      Obama has closer connections to polygamy than Romney. Ironic, isn't it?

      May 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Pk

      Zip, you should zip it. You make yourself look a fool Condeming people for the actions that you claim other made over 150 years ago.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  7. Doveab

    The ugly libs are threatened. How dare a black women be successful + free from government's evil ways. Disgusting lot.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • marctheduck

      It's obviously driving them nuts! LOL! :o))

      May 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Larry L

      Even Mormon Republicans can use a good Oreo.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  8. douglas

    How sad she won't be fighting for her own people...good luck to her!...the GOP will welcome her with open arms, and will kick her to the curb when they have no more use for her..

    May 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • marctheduck

      Feed a person for a day and make them your indentured servant. Teach a person to fish and they become free to vote for their own prosperity. No More Free Rides For Liberals!

      May 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Doveab

      Nice try, lefty but you are a broken record. Get a job and stop being envious of successful people. Get a life.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • g.c.kells

      What's sad is that you see her race, gender or religion as defining characteristics. Clearly she is a bit more enlightened than you, and doesn't feel the need to separate herself from others by her race, gender or religion. She is fighting for her own people, she is just too smart to let you decide who her "own people" are.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • john

      Yeah, because it's not presumptuous at all for you to tell her who "her people" are.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Joel

      And who are "her people"? I don't want to associate with anyone who does not consider the whole human race as "their people".

      May 1, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  9. zip

    Somebody's magic diaper is too snug

    May 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • skeptical

      Let's make fun of jewish clothes or a menonites hat or a catholics robe...good times for the Nazi types

      May 2, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  10. Doveab

    Why do liberals use and abuse black women?

    May 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • zip

      How come I can't find Kolob in my Bible?? Blasphemer

      May 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • marctheduck

      Because liberals are carpetbaggers and if they can't fool you into voting their food stamp patrons into office they get extremely worried.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  11. Doveab

    You Go Girls!!!!!! Huge fan of Condalissa Rice, too! Go Mia!! What will the left do now that they see she is not dumbed down and poor so they can control her? LOL

    May 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  12. marctheduck

    Obviously this gal (like any woman or any A.A.) is a major threat to liberals. They're working overtime here to "crucify" this lady.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  13. zip

    Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon cult, was in and out of jail in the early days. Not for his religious beliefs, but because he travelled around the country with magic stones that he claimed could find buried treasure. He took people's money, but never produced the treasure. And thus the jail. He also claimed that Jesus Christ appeared in America. that is flat out blasphemy. Which is why true Christians know Mormons are not Christian. If Mitt Romney is ever asked the question about Jesus in America, his run is over. Mormons are brainwashed. Do you want a brainwashed cult member in the White House? Mormons use the same mind control techniques the communists used in the Korean War. That explains this poor misguided woman.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • marctheduck

      Bigot!

      May 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • duh

      AAaahhhhh zip. Your words are so inspiring. Everyone in society agrees with you. Mormons also have horns and do blood sacrifices in their temples. The solar system has 7 planets (including the sun and moon) and the Earth is the center of the Universe. The planet is flat and all black people belong in shackles. Thanks for your inspiring words, zip.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Joel

      "Do you want a brainwashed cult member in the White House?" Our current president fits that criteria, and the last one (and the one before that, etc.) You must have a hard time voting if you don't what a Christian in the WH.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Boo

      What have you been smoking Zippy? Your numerous comments here are all so wrong, that you give wrong a bad name. Whatever the reason for your hatred and bigotry, your views are really warped. Maybe you better stop reading the comics. They're not real you know.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • nairb247

      Seriously Zip, sit down with a mormon who knows his stuff and he would wipe the floor with you.

      Why don't you try learning something from someone in the know rather than all the anti stuff you read.

      You are so full of hate and disdain you can't see your hand in front of your face.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • skeptical

      This is a lie and I would consider it "hate" speech....

      May 2, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  14. food

    Wow, if she was only half latino too the repubs could claim their votes too!

    As Kenny Rogers sung "You got to know when to hold them, know when fo hold them, know when to walk away and know when to run." Give up repubs we have seen your cards, you are bluffing.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • marctheduck

      Obviously this has you hypo-crats terrified. Carpetbagging only works for so long...

      May 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  15. sybaris

    I bet she can see Russia from Provo

    May 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Doveab

      Nice try, lefty but she sees through the lefties BS and is not buying the Kool-Aid! She knows Obama sucks!

      May 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • sybaris

      Actually she's buying into the biggest BS ever created, religion.............the triumph of ignorance over reason, it's what the right does best.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  16. God's Oldest Dreamer

    Token the priveleged audascious beguilers their leavenings spread out upon the undulations of political variations until the clemencies surpass and protrude into the depth's blackness for but an instant! The lighter sides of the skinny of it all will fight against the dignities of the serventied who are being bred manipulatively by discombobulated social farms without even an inch to be bartered negatively upon!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  17. Doveab

    My son lives there - college student –and will vote for her!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  18. Frank

    She's not african american. What BS

    May 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • food

      ...and I am eurpean american. No wait, there is no check box for that. I am an american that happens to be white.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  19. Qev

    They will USE her well.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Doveab

      Nice try, lefty ...but your excuses are so old news (yawn) How dare she be blakc and want lower taxes and smaller governement,? /sarc. LOL
      Go Mia! !!

      May 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  20. Mike

    I myself am Haitian and feel proud to finally see a fellow Haitian woman reached that level. YOU GO GIRL!!!!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
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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.