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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.”

Watch CNN Newsroom weekdays 9am to 3pm ET and weekends. For the latest from the CNN Newsroom click here.

- 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. Pebanks2

    She is suffering from a serious case of denial and self hatred. I don't understand how a black person can align herself with a political party and a religion that hate the very thought of her existence.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  2. dennis dehart

    She's just an oddity cashing in on her 15 minuets of fame and being paraded by the GOP tring to reach out to other black voters. She remiinds me of a two headed calf in a carnival freak show.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  3. aya

    A black republican. Really. Someone needs to remind this lady WHO she is. She married a white man so maybe she has forgotten. mormon members, the don't even like blacks, also, republican, don't even like blacks.. lady... wake up!!!

    May 2, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • XxMacleodxX

      you represent your party well...

      May 2, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Jordan

      What are you smoking?

      May 2, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • knnkin

      REALLY?????? It's hard to respond to such ignorance. Why is it ok for liberals to bash black republicans for thinking? For taking a stand and not following the norm? And yet all "republicans are racist". If you look at the middle, the normal republicans and the normal democrats we're really not that different, I'm a female republican and some of my best friends have been black. It's the far left and the far right that have driven a wedge between this country... and the ignorant people like yourself. Do yourself a favor and read any of Star Parkers books.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Katz

      Good for her! It's nice to see that a black woman can pull her own without a race card! She finally realized that the Dems and Libs just want to keep the blacks down! They like when they are on welfare and dependent on the government. Unlike the Republicans who want to see them get jobs and thrieve like every other citizens.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  4. Alex

    When opportunity knocks you take it .You go lady take advantage of this morons before your 15 min fame is over.You don't belong in that group come back to your base we love you.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Worgen Freeman

      A black republican. Really. Someone needs to remind this lady WHO she is. She married a white man so maybe she has forgotten.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  5. John _Atlanta GA

    I think that Romney being a mormon is less likely to hurt Romeny and more likely to hurt the Mormon church. What is the Morman churchs stand on the constant lieing?

    May 2, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  6. Anthony Quatroni

    And another lying politician is born.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  7. Tex71

    Sadly, just another political tool.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  8. Gina

    Being from Haiti is not the same as born in America. Sorry. she can not relate to Black America or even White or anyone in America. Her history is from a perspective that is miles different from anyone living here. Republican's are touting her, while in places they feel free to talk are looking at her as a token. Been there, done that. She will get as high as they feel comfortable, but no further.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Bell

      It doesn't say she is from Haiti, only that she is the daughter of Haitian immigrants. The article goes on to mention her "east coast" upbringing.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Worgen Freeman

      Reading comprehension, Gina.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Mike

      Obama was born in Hawaii from a Kenyan father and a hippie mother. How does he relate to Black America. He's just a Black hippie.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • XxMacleodxX

      you show true American reading skills

      May 2, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Celestin

      Listen Gina. Finally you need to stop that crap. If you are a black American your history and her history are the same even if she is from Haiti. Even if her parents are from Haiti, once she went through the educational system here, she has been brainwashed just like you have and that is why she saying those stupid things (pandering to the racist Republicans). You are no more American than an African from Nigeria or an African from Haiti. When the slave ships were dropping people off they did not select anyone based on any particular characteristics. So, please stop. That is what keeps the black community divided. Haiti had slavery, just like the US, and the only difference was that Haitians beat the French and told them to get the hell out. Haiti had laws, back in the 1800s, welcoming to Haiti any American runaway slave anywhere in the world, and many former American slaves went to Haiti where they acquired land and had a family. I am sick of hearing those idiotic and frankly racist comments coming from African Americans. We are all Africans; our citizenship is only incidental.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  9. Sam

    Way to go girl! Looks like you enjoy the 2nd class citizen treatment of GOP! A massochist you are and I hope you like it there!

    May 2, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • John _Atlanta GA

      THey will at least put her in every photo op and mention her everytime they put forward one of thier racist laws. The very definition of the word token.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Worgen Freeman

      Mia = Token from South Park

      May 2, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  10. rtbrno65

    Usual politician doubletalk. She says being a Mormon isn't an important thing, and yet she appeared in the "I'm a Mormon" ad campaign, which also pointed her out as being an elected official. She also says "I'm not a victim", and then implied that she had to flee the east coast in order to feel "accepted". She says "I don't allow anyone to put me in a box" after having appeared in the Mormon Church's ad campaign stating "I am a Mormon". She'll try to use all of this to her advantage just like every other BS politician.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  11. The Cold HARD Truth

    The mormon church has been giving people AIDS for a couple of decades now. This is a well-documented FACT.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      References?

      May 2, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • The Cold HARD Truth

      Why are people always too lazy to do their own research? Why are you so lazy?

      May 2, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • D-man5005

      Uhh, like rational libertarian said, references. Also, the church has been providing tons of 'aid' for people, but they don't (and I don't see how they could) give AIDS to people.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • The Cold HARD Truth

      Do your own goddamn research.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You made an outlandish claim without providing any evidence. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • The Cold HARD Truth

      Oh yeah? Then you'd better tell that to the mormons who have been claiming that god exists for a while now. Way to be a hypocrite.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'm an atheist, as I gather you are. You are clearly the hypocrite, demanding proof of a God yet not providing proof for your ridiculous claims.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Justin

      Did you eat paint chips as a kid? Aid: Help, assist, or support (someone or something) in the achievement of something. AIDS: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, a disease in which there is a severe loss of the body's cellular immunity, greatly lowering the resistance to infection and malignancy.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • The Cold HARD Truth

      I am not making any claims here. I am passing along WELL-DOCUMENTED and FACTUAL information. You can either choose to research it, or you can pretend it doesn't exist, just like all of the mormons that dismiss Joseph Smith's false stories of finding gold plates and horseshoes. You sir, are a filthy liar and I hope everyone figures you out.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • D-man5005

      Ya, well I've taken to searching google (since you evidently can't, or don't want to due to a lack of proof). I typed in the words "mormon" and "AIDS". Couldn't find a single thing that had to do with giving AIDS to anybody, only things about mormons with AIDS

      May 2, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • The Cold HARD Truth

      Do you believe that Google is the only authority on information? You'd better wake up.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      All I'm asking is you point me to a book, article, website (preferably something peer reviewed) which verifies your claims.

      Also, are you referring to me as a liar? If so, what false claims have I made?

      May 2, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • The Cold HARD Truth

      Liars. Both of you.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      OK, it has become pretty obvious that you are either a troll or a cretin. Either way, you have my sympathy.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • D-man5005

      hahah, ok, well I think to anybody reading this thread that it's obvious what's going on. Until any valid sources are provided (which I would gladly look at), I'm signing off this ridiculous argument.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • XxMacleodxX

      The Cold Hard Truth has been sodomizing goats for decades now....do your own research if you don't believe me

      May 2, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Andy

      Coldhardtruth...HAHAHAHA, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I must say I have learned sooooo much from your post. I was confused as to why they were passing out needles in hazmat suits and telling the congregation to hide the needles everywhere but to NOT touch them...THANKS PAL! You know, everyone who has responded to Cold, I would like to thank you very much for calling "it" out for lack of facts. I know that not everyone would do it and it was an amazing thread to read. I believe you all to be great and upstanding people. Have a great day and thanks for the smile!

      May 2, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  12. sybaris

    More evidence that religion is a filthy disgusting disease of the mind.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • John _Atlanta GA

      Science flies you to the moon
      Religion flies you into a building

      May 2, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • TTEX

      Even as a believer in God, I must say that there is a funny post; however, I would add misguided or false to the religion statement.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Thats eerily beautiful John.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Republicans are going to be very upset when they find out ‘she’ is actually a dude.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  14. Robb

    most of you disgust me...because she isnt a scrming Jeremiah Wright lunatic who was/is a card carrying member of the Black Panthers, and claims to be descended from Louis Farrakhan she isnt BLACK enough for you! Truth be told she is so much stronger than you it isnt funny! Think of the strength she must have to break all the typical stereotypes that minorities love to use when it suits, then embrace them to put others of their minority down!

    May 2, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Breaking a stereotype should be easy.. because they are just made up …right? *cough*

      May 2, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • The Cold HARD Truth

      The majority of us aren't looking at skin color in regard to this political figure. We're deeply concerned about the choice of leaders however when it comes to their choice of religion. Political leaders that believe in fairy tales are not worth voting for. Religious people cannot be trusted, period.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • TTEX

      It must me a tough life not trusting 90 percent of your fellow Americans.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  15. heloise8

    Reblogged this on The Trough.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  16. Smythe

    She still has a better chance of one day being elected president than any kind of Atheist.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:20 am |
  17. Naija

    I am curious to know what year the Mormon starts allowing Blacks as members.The religion if you can call it that is a cult.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • skeptical

      Calling the religion a cult is just plain "hate" speech. Are you sure you aren't a Nazi wanting to burn Jews and Mormons?

      May 2, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • D-man5005

      They have been allowed to be members from the start of the church. They were never banned from that. Same goes for women

      May 2, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • The Cold HARD Truth

      ALL religions BY DEFINITION are cults. Stop being a spoil sport jerk off.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Skeptical

      All religions are cults, in the sense that they use lies and fear mongering to recruit and maintain members. Comparing someone to a Nazi (Godwin's law, by the way) for referring to Mormonism as a cult is very UN-skeptical. I can only assume you are a contrarian, uneducated or a troll.

      Naija

      It was 1978 when the Revelation on Priesthood allowed blacks to become priests. I don't think blacks were ever not allowed to be members.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Randy

      Mormonism *is* a cult. They've changed portions of the Bible and even come up with their own "addition" to the Bible. Look at their beliefs compared to mainstream Christianity. They're not even close.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Randy

      The only advantage Christianity has over Mormonism in not being labelled a cult is age.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Gman

      It's funny to me that their God changed his mind about Black people, who were not allowed to hold any leadership roles until about 20 years ago. I wonder if this young lady knows the historical perspective Mormons had toward people of color. And yes they are a cult. You don't earn your way into heaven. You get there based on a relationship with Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to make you Christ-like in character.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • LDSinSC

      GMAN-
      God didn't change his mind, Brigham Young did. Under Joseph Smith, blacks held the Priesthood, he was against slavery, and when running for President in 1843-44 wanted to buy the slaves from their masters and give them equal rights including the right to vote. It was under Brigham Young that the right to hold the priesthood was taken away. But since this was also during the civil war and rise of the KKK, this might have been done to "save" the church from further violence against its members.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Andy

      GMAN,
      So what about Jesus then? Wasn't it he who said that he did not come to preach to the "Gentiles" and then after he died, "Ok, open it up to the gentiles too...". It sounds to me like this is a normal thing that was done through the bible. I mean Not even all the Jews were allowed to be in the priesthood, only the sons of Levi, and Aaron (Levitical Priesthood). Please, how does that make other religions correct who get their authority from a school? Seems like a godsend huh?

      May 2, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Gman

      Andy
      His assignment was to reach out to the Jews first. Yet, he ministered to several gentiles. And he forbid them from coming. Unlike the Mormons. True faith is having the courage to show love and follow his teachings even when it isn't convenient or politically correct. Either Young was a coward or he expressed what he really felt. Either way as a black christian, I don't see his teachings lining up with what Jesus taught or lived.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • GodsPeople

      @Andy: Actually, Christ extended God's grace to us after meeting the Caananite Woman and healing her daughter.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Gman

      correction: Jesus didn't forbid the gentiles from coming.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  18. Free Thinker

    What a bunch of ignorance displayed on here in the guise of intellectualism. I just can't understand how the black community blindly follows the liberals when they are the ones keeping them down. And pro-choice?? Margaret Sanger was the biggest racist of them all and stated as such.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:16 am |
  19. paul

    someone needs to remind her that she's black. Black and Republican Mormon goes together like picante ice cream.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Heaveninc

      We live in America, Mia is free to be Black, Mormon and Republican. It is called freedom.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • crazypete

      That is my favorite ice cream!

      May 2, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • skeptical

      You might want to tell Gladys Knight and other prominent mormons that. They would wonder where you get your information from...sounds like "hate" speech on your part to me

      May 2, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • The Cold HARD Truth

      Fairies use the term "hate speech" a lot. Just an observation.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  20. Dave

    Joseph Smith (the Jesus of Mormonism) declared in the 1800's that Black skin is the mark of Cain. Nothing has changed substantially except the nodding assent to Civil Rights. Blacks and women will never rise in the Mormon Church to ANY level of higher command. This interesting ploy is simply to make the Mormons LOOK mainstream.

    When you go to heaven, you are just a regular Joe. When Mormons go, they are Gods.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Robb

      You are a dope, why does equality have to be measured in terms of power? Power is perceived anyway so your point not only idiotic, but moot!

      May 2, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • The Champ

      Dave is correct. The mormon cult is REALLY screwed up.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Chris

      I am sure that Gladys Knight and other prominent african american mormon members would wonder where your information is coming from. Sounds like "hate" speech to me

      May 2, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Chris
      Exceptions don’t make the rule. Do a little research into the religion and the political history regarding it. You can try to silence others by calling it hate speech but it won’t change the facts.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:40 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.