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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. Sumo

    Black, Mormon, female... Looks like now that Condi is out of the media, the GOP is hunting for another token minority to parade around...

    "No, no! We can't be racist! Look, we have this one black friend!"

    May 2, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Keller

      You're the one sounding like a racist my friend.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      It's not racist to point out an obvious trend in the GOP to promote token members/candidates at key times.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Matt

      We get it – you democrats havent found anything on her to run her out like you did to Herman Cain. We know, women, blacks, mormons – they cant be conservative. It flys in the face of the Liberal lies doesnt it? How can this person be making it on her own so successfully? The liberal story is that the white man should be holding her down – how is this possible? Cant let it get out!!!!!!!!! Scramble, find a way to get her out of the public eye – cant have the women and minorities realizing they can do it on their own without the democrat hand outs (hand cuffs).

      May 2, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Landlubber

      No Mormon does anything on their own. It's a criminal organization banded together for mutual support and greed.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Matt

      I am not a liberal, left wing or a democrat. I do however have an adequately functioning brain, which can see the "token" trend being employed by the GOP. I'm sure that Mia Love is a perfectly competent woman and don't buy into the idea that she is being forced to go along with things she doesn't agree with. She is however being given excessive promotion by the GOP because of what she is.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Keller

      You just make stuff up. you don't know this woman – perhaps she's a student of world history and philosophy and decided on what her values would be. You belittle her as a "token" without any knowledge of what her true beliefs are and how she arrived at them. Shallow barely describes you analysis.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  2. hidden to protect

    Didnt this newscaster expose herself as completely single minded and 'racial'. "You are obviously diverse"...how does she know that? Her definition, being ignorant as she is, is that diversity comes from skin color. How do dummies get on TV? Oh never mind...I remember now.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      He's just pointing out that Mia is pretty unique. She is a black, Mormon, Republican woman. That is pretty rare.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  3. mary

    The shocking part is that ethnic people would join a religion that for MOST of it's existence taught that ethnic people were 2nd class citizens to their god !
    That their god would Not let them into heaven until they went thru an after life process that turned them into white people .

    Seriously , just because they had recent "revelations" reversing this teaching , there are people sucker enough to join up ?

    Anyone who would say I was born Not worthy of their god would NEVER gain me as a member .
    What is wrong with these people ?

    May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Women have always been second class citizens in the catholic church, amongst others. the bible teaches that women should stay quiet. Yet about a billion women are still Christian. Go figure.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Aleph 1

      Mary, by that logic no African-American should ever join the Democratic Party (slavery, Jim Crow, etc.). People can change, groups of people can change, organizations can change.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  4. Michael

    Can somebody name a politician from Utah, who is not Mormon? No. I lived in that state for over 5 years while serving in the military and everything there is run by the Mormon church. When I lived there it was considered a great accomplishment by the Mormons that I knew, if they could convert "dark skinned" people to their religion. Folks, it's time to wake up and stop giving a "pass" to this cult. Try finding a job there without being a Mormon. Good luck!

    May 2, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Sounds just like national politics. Except replace Mormon with Christian.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  5. Tracy

    is her husband white ?

    May 2, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Matt

      Tracy: Yes, he is white. You can see the Mormon promotional videos on youtube which shows Mia with her whole family. I am not Moromon BTW, it's just easy to come across those videos as they are like an advertisement that keeps popping up when looking for other videos.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  6. sdmco

    So she stands out because she's GOP, female, black and a Mormon? Not one mention of her ideas or accomplishments. We need candidates who stand out because of their ideas and willingness to work with people to solve problems. I don't care if they're blue and from Bottomofthemoonistan ...

    May 2, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Nijee

      THANNKKK YOUUUUU!!!!!!!..... ^^ 1000 thumbs up ... FINALLY a comment worth framing.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • TownC

      You are correct. She is the Mayor of one of the fastest growing cities in Utah. Saratoga Springs, Utah is a very well run fiscally sound city.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • mary

      She is mayor of a new yuppie town ( a little more than a decade old ) and population less than 20,000 .
      Somehow I doubt the experience as mayor in a new suburb in the west would really qualify for dealing with urban issues that come with millions of people in cities now aging into centuries .

      May 2, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  7. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    "My friends from back home are always saying,...."
    So you still consider Haiti home?

    So your move to Utah and your conversion ~ was it all just political opportunism?
    Sounds like a typical republican.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • plorenz88

      "...she says in the video, referring to her East Coast upbringing."

      May 2, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Keller

      You sound like a " typical" liberal.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  8. The Woof

    Nothing against Mormons and I believe that they are Christian as followers of Jesus Christ but there's still the stigma of not allowing minorities into certain positions until 34 years ago. As followers of Christ how can a practice certain people being excluded from serving in any capacity in the church be justified? At least now they are trying to make up for it.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Bishop Romney - Ruler of Mormon Planet Kolob

      I wonder why the Mormon kids in Idaho taunted we Christians by calling us "Gentiles".

      If Christians are Gentiles then what are Mormons?

      May 2, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • D-man5005

      Actually there's a large history as to why blacks weren't given the priesthood before 1978. The first black to receive the priesthood got it 2 years after the church was founded. When the people of Missouri (this is in the 1830's, before the civil war, so the south was HIGHLY racist against blacks) found out about Mormons giving blacks the priesthood, the Mormon church was chased out of the state, and this kept happening. As a result, the Mormon church had to stop giving the priesthood to blacks for a time. As you already said in 1978, blacks were allowed to receive it again. So really you could say it wasn't the Mormon church that didn't allow it, but the people of America.

      Look at blackhistory dot org, under their priesthood timeline, and search for "Priesthood Ordination before 1978" on lds dot org

      May 2, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  9. JW

    First of all, she IS NOT African American. Most Haitians look down upon African Americans, even though African Americans were the most giving when Haiti had their devastating earthquake. Second, the Book of Mormon looks down upon people of African descent. Third, the GOP is using Mia as a pawn, and obviously she's not smart enough to see that. Fourth, it's really sad to see a person of color align themselves with the GOP, because the GOP WILL NOT serve any of the interests for people of color.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Of course the question remains as to who is using who. Frankly, they seem to be using each other.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • RP

      Maybe you should read the Book of Mormon before making statements about it "looking down on people of African descent". Just not true, period. No people of African descent are part of the Book of Mormon. It just never is part of the book. When you speak from ignorance it just makes you appear ignorant. As for the Book of Mormon, the book starts with a family out of ancient Jerusalem that migrated to the American Continent on the western shores of most likely South America. They did not even get near to Africa!!! Please get your facts straight beforemaking these types of statements.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • nobody important

      JW – Your post is full of racist nonsense. (The Book of Mormon never once even mentions people of "African decent")

      May 2, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  10. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    mormons are not christians no matter how hard they pretend.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      And Christians have no cognitive ability, no matter how much they pretend.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Amron

      How can you say that a church who calls itself "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" is not Christian? Their Church teaches that Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and that only through him can people return to live with God after this life. What is the definition of a church that is Christian then?

      May 2, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • D Marie

      That was rude and inappropiate...you must not have any cognitive ability to speak in a generalization.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Argh

      Because you're the authority who decides who is christian and who is not, right?

      May 2, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      D Marie

      Thank you, I enjoy being rude and inappropriate towards religious people. It's why I get up in the morning.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • D Marie

      And i rest my case. Its very "rational" for that to be your purpose in life when you enjoy what you enjoy by six degrees of separation...some ppl would just like to be able to eat when they get up in the morning.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I suggest they go to McDonalds. I quite enjoy egg McMuffins in the morning, although I've recently cut down on fast food as I'm attempting to lose weight.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  11. zip

    Brigham Young, a founder of the church, had 55 wives. Many were still married to their first husbands. He later divorced many of them. Old Brigham used to send husbands off on missions, then turn around and marry their wives. Damndest Christians I ever heard of.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • TownC

      Your information about Brigham Young is a little mixed up. Go to Mormon.org for the facts about Mormons.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Right, and I fact the GOP by going to Mitt's campaign website........

      May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • MarkinFL

      fact check

      May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • baj4q

      I'm not big on the LDS church, but I think your comparison is a bit unfair. If you look at Christian history, it is full of Christians doing things that most Christians would consider abhorrent. Spanish Inquisition, throwing scientists in jail, Salem witch trials, priests molesting young boys and others covering it up–all of these are things that people who considered themselves Christians have done. And you could also point out that prominent figures in the bible like King Solomon had many concubines. So while I don't have a particularly high opinion of the LDS church, you cannot say that their history is any worse than any other Christian sect.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • MarkinFL

      True, I have an equally low opinion of both.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  12. Conrad Murray

    Isn't Mitt Romney just another mormon mexican anchor baby?

    May 2, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  13. HERE

    Mia Love for President!!
    Who cares about her religion, she has the right ideas.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  14. Conrad Murray

    didn't they try this "hail mary" with Sarah Palin before?

    May 2, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Yeah, but let's face it, she'd have to be dumber than someone who drowned in a bowl of soup to do more damage to the GOP than the whole Sarah Palin fiasco.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  15. Mitt

    Mitt calling Orson.. come in Orson...

    May 2, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  16. chaz

    The Left resents folks who are successful. How dare a Black woman not be a liberal Democrat? Their ideal Poster Child is some failure who lives off government programs, paid for by people who work.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Conrad Murray

      What about the Mormon Church stance on us black folk?

      Ohhhh....forgive and forget?

      May 2, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Mitt Romney

      Well, that's 95% of the blacks and mexicans in this country, Chaz

      May 2, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • AGuest9

      You are one more reason why I'm registered an Independent. Fiscal responsibility is great, lack of compassion is not.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  17. Dan

    I wonder if she's aware that the Mormon church used to teach that black people were cursed by God?

    May 2, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • kc

      They still have these beliefs in their scriptures.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  18. Rick

    The comments here just show that there are just as many bigots on the left as there are on the right. The left's "tolerance" only extends to people that fit inside their preconceived world view. Even though they've never actually met this person, they assume that because she's black she doesn't really believe what she's saying, and that she's being "used". How enlightened. How about we take people for their word.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'm on the right (although not a Republican) and it's clear that she is a token candidate to try and increase the black vote for Romney. The Republicans occasionally give lots of public support to a "minority" within the party to increase "minority" support.

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

      I'm sure she has a good head on her shoulders. She's still an idiot.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Daniel

      Wow, you mean the left and the right find the same faults in each other? That's a very profound and new concept.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Alex

      its not because shes black,its because shes a mormon.you dont choose color.you choose to believe

      May 2, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  19. Bob

    Can somebody name a politician in either party from Utah who isn't a Mormon?

    May 2, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  20. zip

    Do a wiki search on Parley P. Pratt. Parley was Mitt Romney's great grandfather. He was killed by a jealous husband. Oh yeah. He also had 12 wives. You won't believe it.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:42 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.