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. therightwingofchickens

    Her family is rather new the the U.S. and and that lack of history, more than likely contributes to her ignorance. There were not around and obviously do not understand the struggle.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • TownC

      She lives in a state where blacks make up a very small percentage of the population. If she doesn't understand the struggle this says a lot about the open mindedness and tolerance of the people in Utah in general and Mormons in particular.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Kelly

      Her family is relatively new to thhis country so they didn't pre-judge. They moved to Utah and found the people friendly and accepting. Just so hard for libs to understand..

      May 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  2. paul

    looks like lz granderson in drag

    May 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  3. iambreitbart

    Well I guess this doesn't go along with the hateful liberals narrative of lies that conservatives are racists and hate woman. Typically, liberals will attack her worse than any conservative would because of their extreme unquenchable hatred for anyone who thinks differently than they do.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • dave

      that's like the pot calling the kettle black... seems to me that most of the racism, lynchings, and other hate crimes are perpetrated by conservatives.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      Some conservatives are racists and some are not.. As for this candidate. IT depends on her positions on many issues. If she is in favor of the current GOP mantra of starve the aged, the very young, the disabled and the personnel in the military so we can give more tax dollars to Chevron and the wealthy I am not even slightly interested. Where does she stand on School funding? Foster care payments? VA benefits ( Ryan's plan wants to cut 16 billion from VA benefits), highway maintainence, and help for the disabled. That is what matters.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Kelly

      Dave: You need to become educated. Segregation, lynchings and racial hate was predominent in the south, a majority Democrat area. Heck, even George Wallace was a Democrat. Your ignorance is astounding..

      May 1, 2012 at 11:13 pm |

    America Rocks! You know why? Because you can choose to be whatever you want to be, as long as you don't
    break "THE LAW." This is a free country and it's Mia's God given right to run for Congress
    as a conservative and a black mormon woman. God bless America.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  5. Maya

    Black female Mormon Republican = self-loathing masochist

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

      I know, Maya! This one's startin' to git real uppity now, ain't she? Purdy soon she'll be startin' to act like she can think for herself. I think somebody better go have a word with this girl. Right Maya?

      May 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  6. zip

    All the women in America will vote for Romney. Cuz nothing says women's rights like a church that was built on polygamy. Is Ann Romney the favorite wife, or do the younger, hotter wives move up the food chain?

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

      The LDS church disowned polygamy over a century ago. You might want to get your facts straight.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • TownC

      Perhaps you are unaware that Mr Obama's grandfather and great grandfather were polygamists. Mitt Romney is not a polygamist anymore than Mr. Obama is a polygamist.

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

      Yeah, plus Ann's pretty good-looking, so it would be pretty tough to top her 😉

      May 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Kelly

      Can you name a mainstream religion that doesn't have something in it's past that they regret? Bigots come in all shapes & sizes, and one is named "zip"

      May 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      Romney's grandfather and great grandfather were also polygamists. Fled the US so they could have lots of wives. Moved to Mexico where it was illegal also.
      Where Obama's grandparents lived it was a legal and accepted way of life and had been for centuries. where Romney's ancestors did it it was illegal and not accepted. That is one difference.
      Of course none of us are responsible for the behavior of people who doed before we were born.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • souptwins

      Zip– Do you also think people in the South still practice slavery? That would make as much sense because the LDS Church got rid of polygamy shortly after the civil war.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  7. blackluke8

    She may be talented, but I am so sick of the narrative our "best" leaders must naturally have hit every branch on the demographic tree. America wouldn't be in the mess it's in if we evaluated our "rising stars" on actual capability

    May 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • souptwins

      Even if I was in her district I probably wouldn't vote for her based on politics but she is quite accomplished. The city she's mayor of had a huge deficit when she was elected and they now have AA+ rating while seeing enormous growth. Yes, she's got more than race and gender going for her.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  8. Shardik

    For generations the GOP has not bothered to elect more than a handful of black Republicans. Suddenly, since the 2008 campaign they start digging up blacks (and women)? No damage control there...

    May 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • blackluke8

      Race to the bottom...

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

      Same for the Democrats. And the parties have little control over who runs (primaries) so your premise that the GOP never bothered to elect blacks falls flat on its face.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      The Republicans used to elect black candidates, back when they were the liberal party. But they started moving to the right in the early 1900s
      Actually the Dems have been electing Black congresspersons and Senators since the 1940s but not the Southern Democrats who now form the backbone of the GOP.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  9. Doveab

    Time for the sewer rat libs to take their meds now....what idiots.

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

      Run along, little boy. You can't cut it here.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  10. T in Dallas

    Seems like the Mormon's are normal people after all...they use black republicans too!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  11. Duane

    If only she was half Jewish and in a wheelchair they'd have their bases covered. (For those old enough to remember James Watt's quote during the Reagan years)

    May 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  12. zip

    In the Belief section here, there is a topic called "A rare look inside a Mormon Temple" Scroll to the right at the top of the page. Look in the comments section. There you will find a short animation about what Mormons believe. Take a look at it. You won't believe it. Enjoy. The Mormon kooks here will freak out.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Don't bother. It is all made up. Go to mormon.org.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Michael

      You won't believe it, because it's completely laughable. Campy 1980's anti-Mormon propaganda, widely discredited by Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

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

      To quote a great American: "Run along, little boy. You can't cut it here"

      May 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • nairb247

      Zip you are right I guess because it is on the internet it must be true, everything on the internet is true.

      Seriously dude, if you believe everything you see and read I got a bridge I would like to sell you.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  13. puckles

    Cracks me up that this loser is trying to be a Mormon! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Boo

      What do you base your statement on? Mia is a winner. And she's not trying to be Mormon, she IS Mormon.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  14. jazzpiano8

    It would be awesome if she came out and endorsed Ron Paul for president. Then the mainstream media would go nuts. RON PAUL 2012!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • 23 from texas

      lol yeah but we all know that NOBODY creditable would endorse RP for POTUS... he's just not presidential material. Keep his where he is now, he does just fine.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      Ron PAul is going nowhere despite hie consistant efforts to pack the caucuses and his anti democratic" who cares who the rubes vote for, my guyw will just invalidate their votes" actions. I guess his followers think the election will be a case of who yells the loudest.
      Next January he will be unemployed and that is just fine. He can stay home and play with the grandchildren.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  15. T in Dallas

    Wow, so the Mormon's and GOP are striking up a rainbow coalition to try and win the election. Pure genius, like we have not seen this move before. Does the GOP and the Mormon church think black folks are that stupid? What an insult! We know the history of both,

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

      Yes, we have seen it before, from the Democrats. I love how liberals accuse the GOP (falsely) of racism, then accuse any black person who thinks for themselves and decides to be a conservative (actual racism) .

      May 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Ricky

      What are you talking about? There is 0 evidence that the Mormon Church has helped out her campaign at all. Now run along and take your tin foil hat and moon hoax conspiracy theories with you, bigot.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Don't believe the hype ...

      The history of both? Do a little research. Do you know in which party the Civil Rights Act of 1964 originated? That would be the Republican Party. They don't teach you that in your text books or on msnbc do they? Did you know that in 1964 81% of Senate Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act, while only 64% of Democrats voted for it. Did you know that the President at the time, John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, originally opposed the bill, but then later joined up because he realized it was politically expedient to do so? Did you know that prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there were five predecessor civil rights bills proposed to Congress – all by the Republican Party. Don't believe me? Research it yourself. Again, they don't teach much of this today, but you are the one who brought up "the history of both."

      As for the Mormons, did you know that the founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, was considered a radical in his day because of his extremely liberal stance concerning blacks and slavery? Did you know that he personally advocated to Washington that the federal government should pay cash to all slave owners to buy their "property rights" of the slaves, and then free all slaves? Did you know that one of his very good friends was a black man, who he ordained to a high church position? DId you know that Joseph Smith campaigned briefly for President of the United States in 1844 on a platform to end slavery by 1850, LONG before almost any other politicians were doing so? Sure the Mormons have a period demonstrating bigotry toward African-Americans during the late 19th century and several decades into the 20th century. But can you tell me a religion at that time that did not? I find it amazing that almost every organized religion during that time was at least partially, if not fully involved in bigotry toward blacks, including outright banning them from their membership and congretations altogether (which Mormans have never done), but only Mormons are still chided constantly about their history with blacks, despite the fact that black members have had full benefits for almost four decades, and despite the fact that Mormons have been actively proselyting and doing charitable missionary work in Africa for over 160 years. Where were all those other churches in Africa then? Well, at least the ones in Missouri, Ohio and Illinois were too busy planning the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

      It's very easy to take cheap shots and both Mormons and the Republican party on these forums when there are no consequences for doing so. Maybe next time you should do some research first.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Boo

      Don't believe the hype is absolutely right! Nice post....

      May 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • souptwins

      Nice reply Don't believe!!

      May 1, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      Don't believe the hype is sort of right John Kennedy was not president in 1964, he was dead. Yes the Southern Democrats voted against the Civil rights act and then they immediately became Republicans. If you discount the Dixiecrats who immediately became Republicans 91% of the Dems voted for the civil rights act. The GOP especially the GOP of the NW and the NE were much more liberal than the Dixiecrats but as the GOP welcomed the Dixiecrats into the party the effectively pushed out the NE socially liberal Republicans That was when the NE became Democratic and when the largest number of black voters left the party. Because of the Southern Strategy. I a white business owner left the party in 1980 when Reagan gave a speech in Phildelphia Miss Lauding "States Rights" even a white person could see through that one. Believe me the GOP of today would not have organized Civil Rights workers to go south to register peopleto vote. Today they are trying to get rid of voters rights.
      Your views of Smith and slavery on the other hand are non factual. Smith was a huge supporter of slavery as were later leaders of the church. Yes Smith wanted the government to buy slaves from those who wanted to sell them but he wasn't in favor of the abolition of slavery. Yes there were 3 black people early in the church 2 were slaves. One owned by a mormon family. But that was pretty much it. Of course the mormon church is as internally inconsistant as any other religious group and has had just about every position on just about every issue over time.
      Is this mayor worth voting for? Well it depends on her positions.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • nairb247

      T you know the history of neither . well stated Don't Believe The Hype.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • nairb247

      You on the other hand Angela couldn't be more wrong about Joseph Smith and the early members of the church.

      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 2, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  16. souptwins

    The most glaring thing about this interview is the unprofessional nature of the interviewer. He tone and questions themselves are disrespectful to Ms. Love and a disgrace to real journalists. She seems aghast that anyone of Mia's race or gender would dare be LDS or GOP. Oops Looks CNN is the one showing its racism and bigoted views not to mention unfounded stereotypes.

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

      Ooops– "her tone"

      May 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  17. julnor

    This lady will be vilified by the press. In their mind it is not acceptable for either a black or woman to be a republican. If she is also pro-life, every aspect of her life will be ridiculed.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      Not likely to be vilified. There are women and black people in the GOP. As for pro life. Both parties have pro life and pro choice people in them. Don't make the mistake of thinking all GOP are pro life and all Dems are pro choice. It makes you look uninformed.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  18. marctheduck

    The liberals here are showing their true colors! They are enraged at the nerve of an African America woman to actually think for herself and succeed (wildly). It would be so much better if she was a welfare mother just producing more liberal votes... so the liberals here could continue to go up to Capital Hill and whine that somebody needs to pay for their condoms. Waaahhhh...

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

      Mormons are brainwashed. None of you think for yourselves.

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

      Zip is the only brainwashed person here. So full of hate, can't accept others' beliefs. Classic liberal view – if I can't understand it, must be the brain-washin!

      May 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      Hmm mark,who has asked for free condoms? No one. It is interesting that you see only black people aseither Republicans or welfare recipients. Get out more you will learn that they are people just like everyone else.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  19. larper2

    She's a tea partier.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  20. Billy Bob

    I wonder if she knows that Mormans believe she is cursed because of the color of her skin? Or that Mormonism is a cult. Doesn't matter if she considered a rising star. Mormon church is just using her to help Romney, but don't think the electorate can see through this.

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

      I wonder if you know you have no idea what you're talking about.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Boo

      Sorry Billy Bob, but Mormons don't believe she is cursed. And Mormonism is not a cult. Where do you get your misinformation? Mia is awesome, which is why the electorate will vote for her. You don't even know her, so how can you judge? Give her some credit.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Ricky

      Note true. Mormon theology has NEVER held that view. But nice try.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      mormons quite believing that black people were unacceptable when they were going to be kicked out of a football conference and got a revelation that perhaps black people could have the priesthood.
      As for will she be elected? Maybe maybe not depends on the opposition and her positions and what the elcetorate of her disctict choose.

      May 2, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • RMW

      The GOP love to use those blacks that are out of touch with the fact that they are black. To the GOP she is just a black person to use to help their cause to bring down the president (that black on black thing) The GOP do not want Mia in their party but they see they can use her so they will tolerate her. I bet Mia think these people really like her. (I hope she is not that stupid)
      6 ways to know if you, MIA, are a token or a house "n".
      1) Will they invite you over for a family get together and how they introduce you
      2) How would they feel if you married their son (Mia)
      3) How would they treat your children if they were mixed and looked more like you. (dark)
      4) How often will they come to your house
      5) Since you are in the GOP they parade you around like "we have a black person"
      6) Do they say she's a good one (meaning she's a good "n")
      There are more ways...ask your former GOP leader Mr. Steel.
      (Mia don't be the poster child for stupid)

      May 2, 2012 at 11:13 am |
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About this blog

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