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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.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. Benedict Cruz

    She is a liberal's nightmare.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Kelly

      And that is why you see all the Libs posting their hate here..

      May 2, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • JC in Western U.S.

      No, Benedict, she's not. She's what we liberals wish all Republicans could be, because then we might actually have civil public discourse about real issues, and make some progress as a nation.

      As I said in a comment below, I'm a (very liberal) Democrat, a non-Mormon, and a Utahn. Mia Love is smart, she's done a good job as mayor, she's really reasonable and she doesn't find it necessary to insult or demean anybody else in order to defend her views. So that makes us liberals wonder if she IS a Republican.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Isn't that what people said about Herman Cain?

      May 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Native Pride

      Excellent point Kelly, Can you just see all the hate they spew. They talk about accepting everyone, but that is just a farce.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Kelly

      To "JC in Western U.S." Ms. Benedict is what we Conservatives wish all Libs could be. If they stopped the race baiting and just dealt with issues in a civil manner we might yet still be able to do great things in this country..

      May 2, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • ronbry

      JC in Western US: Your very statement at the end, "So that makes us liberals wonder if she IS a Republican" is iinsulting and demeaning to Republicans. You generalize all Republicans as having those traits of being insulting and demeaning, but you don't see the prejudices you hold within yourself. You only see them in others. It's time to have some personal inspection.

      May 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  2. Sodomite

    She's a thousand times better looking than that goat-face Michelle Obama too

    May 2, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Michelle Obama is hot. Sarah Palin is also hot. Both are fairly useless, although the latter is mentally deranged and is a massive threat to national security through sheer stupidity.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Landlubber

      Sodomite, you suck as an American and as a human being for making such a disgusting comment.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Sodomite

      Geez, Landlubber! Of course I suck as an American because I'm not an American lol. Also, I can have an opinion about women in power if I want! As if women don't talk about how attractive Barrack is or other politicians for that matter. I'm just saying it looks like Michelle Obama looks like she's going to eat a tin can and a straw hat for breakfast. But this Mia Love is someone I could look at in the news every day. Sarah Palin too... and her zany crap makes it even more worth it.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  3. JC in Western U.S.

    I think Mia Love has been elected as Mayor and nominated as a candidate for Congress because she's smart, competent, personable, and has done a good job. I'm a Democrat, a non-Mormon, and I live in Salt Lake City (not Saratoga Springs).

    I think Mia Love is evidence that white Mormon Utahns are not as prejudiced against other people as other people are against white Mormon Utahns.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  4. zip

    I see the argument about Mormons not being Christian is brewing. I wonder if the average American knows what Mormons believe in. Do a wiki search on the Book of Mormon. Spend 10 minutes reading, then return here and tell us if you think Mormons are Christians. I don't believe they are.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • TownC

      Try Mormon.org.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Kelly

      It is a moot point, and you are still a bigot.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      So Mormons don't fit the mold of what you think is Christian. That doesn't make them any less Christian. Just because they believe some goofy stuff on the side doesn't mean they aren't Christian. Christian means "follower of Christ". That is the definition of the word. Mormons believe, and follow Jesus. I can't believe I'm even defending the Mormons but you people are ridiculous.

      There are plenty of reasons to dislike Romney. I refuse to hate on him because of his religion. There are so many better reasons to dislike him.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Janette Glass

      Yeah- we all know how accurate and 100% truthful Wikipedia is. Too bad you don't get your facts from factual sources.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Lewis Keseberg

      So ... do you have similar problems with human flesh-eating Catholics?

      May 2, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  5. ?RuREPUBLICANreally

    this is another GOP stunt to attract black voters. white conservatives only do this type of stuff just to have a wedge issue. this lady is Haitian she aint even pure black. let me see her birth certificate. the GOP is an organization that is for white people who are afraid of other ethnicities that is why this is a big deal.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Kelly

      What a racist.. Can you explain how a Hatian cannot be "pure" Black?

      May 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  6. KudzuKannibal

    Funny how people defend Islam in this country and bash the Mormons. I don't see peoplew from the LDS church strapping explosives to themselves and killing innocent people.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Kelly

      KudzuKannibal, you are trying to use logic on Democrats and Libs.. That never works, it just frustrates the heck out of them.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      I must have missed the part of the article that talked about a rising GOP star who was Muslim. Can you point out where it is in the article so we discuss this? Thank you.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  7. Native Pride

    LMAO.....all these "experts" on Mormans in here. What a bunch of morans. I bet they dont' even know any, so it's much easyier to blast and mock them. Big deal, you looked up a link or watched a video. Must be easy to be a bigot to people you don't even know. BTW....I am not Morman. As a Native Ameican, you wouldn't believe the number of people that still think we live in Teepee's and have no indoor plumbing. Like I said, is easy to be a bigot to people, when you have never really known any.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      "You are a filthy Lamanite, who's skin was turned red for fighting against the glorious light skinned Nephites."

      – A Mormon.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Also, I never met Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Ghandi, Joseph Smith, Muhammed, Jesus (if he existed) or Moses (the most evil character in fiction/history), yet I reserve the right to judge them for their well recorded horrific actions.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • MrDifficult

      Been to a res lately? The indoor plumbing claim holds.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Kelly

      Rational Libertarian is not living up to his moniker of rationality.. Can you name a single mainstream religion that does not have shameful acts in it's past? Including Protestants, of which Obama is one..

      May 2, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • MrDifficult

      Flying Spaghetti Monster still here!!

      May 2, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'm all inclusive in my religious hatred, but I'm mainly focusing on Mormonism due to the article's topic.

      Name a religion and I'd gladly offend it.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Kelly

      "Libertarianism is generally considered to be the group of political philosophies which emphasize freedom, individual liberty, and voluntary association." Not only are you not rational, you don't live up to the defenition of "Libertarian" either. Maybe you need to change your moniker.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Landlubber

      Anyone who doesn't know how to spell "moron" is not someone I would listen to anyway.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Kelly

      Religious people are free to practice their religion, and I'm free to laugh at the sheer retardedness of doing so. This is liberty in practice.

      Also, please point out any irrationalism in my previous posts.

      May 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  8. rhobere

    as a politician, her race and religion are definitely the most important parts about it her. \sarcasm

    come on people. why the hell can we not have a conversation about a successful minority without the undertones of surprise?

    May 2, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • MrDifficult

      Because it's surprising.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Religion is important when deciding who to vote for. Would you like someone to base their decisions upon rational and scientific methods, or would you rather they based their decisions on the writings of a man who was a known conman in the early 1800s?

      May 2, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Can you please explain one freaking thing that Romney did as governor of MA that would make you think he bases his decisions on being a Mormon? Please. I would love to hear it.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Landlubber

      Romney lies. This is a Mormon staple. Maybe he lies for his own non-religious purposes, but his position as "Bishop" in that organization makes a clear enough case for me on why he lies so much, hates the poor, and really doesn't know how to treat people. No religion teaches how to treat people with intelligence. Religions use ignorance to function. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Jacques.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Actually you would think someone who is Mormon would be more willing to help the poor just due to the services members perform for the community.

      And to say that Romney only lies because he is a Mormon, all religions are a lie. Politicians are liars. It has nothing to do with what religion he belongs to. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

      May 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  9. MrDifficult

    Who cares if she's black and mormon, just being a woman is enough reason to pay no attention to her.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      How enlightened (although I'd have to agree with you if she was attempting to be a comedian).

      May 2, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  10. Kool Aid

    A black woman who is a member of a political party that secretly loathes her presence and a religion that openly shunned blacks for most of its history–can anyone say 'masochist'?

    May 2, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Kelly

      She could be a Democrat, the party that invented the KKK, lynching & segregation. Heck, George Wallace was almost it's presidential nominee at one time. The same Democratic party that now tries to enslave people by keeping them on the government dole. "Kool Aid" is a hypocrite..

      May 2, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Benedict Cruz

      a liberal who still uses racism and hate to make a point? definitely YOU!

      May 2, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  11. Sam

    She has a lovely smile, for someone who has been deceived twice, once by the GOP and once by the Mormons. More power to her! I hope she wins and sends the bigots and racists scurrying out of the Tea Party.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • MrDifficult

      3 times! She probably thinks women are equal too. . .

      May 2, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  12. James PDX

    Talk about a glutton for punishment on too many levels. Doesn't she know what the Mormon holy books say about black people? Doesn't she know what the GOP thinks about black people? Doesn't she know what half of the people think about the GOP? Doesn't she know what every person with any amount of common sense thinks about American politicians? I wonder if they'll let her wear magical panties?

    May 2, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  13. susan

    You are wrong my friend. I am mormon and our church is the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are christians.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • zip

      That's odd. I can't find planet Kolob in my Bible. You are not a christian. that is heresy.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • MrDifficult

      Not your friend, and not wrong. Mormonism is a cult founded by people who, for one, spoke to a white salamander in a cave, thereby OKing polygamy.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  14. Julia Native American

    And how long have Blacks been considered equal by the Mormon Church, better look at your history

    May 2, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Mormons Restricted people of Color until 1978

      This gal's father and grandfather likely wouldn't have been allowed to join the priesthood like most of the white male members do.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      They could be church members prior to 1978, they just couldn't be priests.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Landlubber

      The Vatican did the same for centuries. This is not a new characteristic to religions at all.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • mm

      It's called progress. Many of your fellow native americans, particularly in the Oklahoma Territory, owned slaves and refused to give them up after the Emancipation Proclomation was signed by Lincoln. Federal troops invaded many of these tribes in order to force them to free the slaves. You seem to have a narrow, hate-filled and likely anti-white ideology. Good luck in life. Those who think "tribal" like you are a dying breed. The world is becomming more integrated and mixed. In multiple generations you have millions of black mormons who will allow the faith to evolve and experience new chapters. Like I said, it's called progress. Rather than commending Mormonism for changing its ways and realizing its past sins, you mock it. People like you are the most hate-filled and narrow minded in the country. There is no such thing as foregiveness with people like you. And that causes you to remain bitter, angry and have a miserable life.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Juliass

      Better look at your history too Julia. Ever hear of the Cherokee Slave Revolt of 1842? Your people owned slaves – and many of them. Slave ownership was not restricted to the Cherokee nation. Whether you want to admit or not is not up to you. The truth speaks. Many slaves found safety and refuge with whites who protected them from the natives. History is very complex and likely not meant to be understood with minds like yours. To mock Mormonism for her past with blacks while conveniently overlooking yours is hypocrasy at its best. And to this day, black descendants of the Cherokee nation are prohibited from from tribal member status. The Mormon Church does not do that to blacks today. Any black person who wants to become a member of Mormonsim is welcome with open arms.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Terry

      A few mikes from where I sit here in Salt Lake City, at a cemetery not far from where Brigham Young is buried you can find early black members buried at the same spot. There were many black members prior to 1978 check your history for yourselves. mormon men only have one wife and we believe in God and Jesus Christ. Whats your problem, have you ever met a mormon?

      May 2, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  15. mary

    Saratoga Springs , Utah is 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 10:17 am |
    • zip

      The plan to introduce this woman onto the scene was hatched 5 years ago. All timed with a Romney run. Clever. Unless we see right thru it.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Romney tried to run four years ago too. I think you are giving the Romney camp a little too much credit for being clever.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  16. Jim

    Hood Ornament.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Juliass

      Bigot

      May 2, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Juan

      At least she is not in a cage on top of the car. Great progress.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  17. zip

    In another section of this Belief blog, there is a story called "A rare tour of a Mormon temple" In the comments section, there is a video called "What Mormons believe" Watch it. It is factual. When you are done, not only will you not vote for Romney, you will demand the United States invade Utah and restore democracy.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • James Kirk

      Romney was a Republican Govenor of Massachusettes. The same state that had Ted Kennedy and John Kerry as Senators. How exactly hard-core Morman do you think Romney is?

      May 2, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • rocketscientist

      What an incredibly amount of idiotic and bigoted rehtoric you just spouted there, zip. Congratulations. Rarely have I seen such an incredible job of self-destruction.

      Dr. H

      May 2, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • A Yook

      What the video won't mention is the most insidious practices of Mormons – they eat their bread with the BUTTER SIDE DOWN! We must destroy all mormons!

      May 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  18. jw

    jesus what doe sit matter about religion skin color and gende...

    May 2, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Mormons Restricted people of Color until 1978

      It's no mystery that BYU was one of the last schools to integrate their college sports teams. It got so bad that black members from opposing teams refused to play them.

      It took protests and threats from the IRS to get the Mormons to finally change their racist views.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  19. Bishop Romney - Ruler of Mormon Planet Kolob

    The Mormon church restricted black people as late as 1978. This gal's parents and grandparents wouldn't have been allowed full privileges like he. (Actually, she is still restricted from celestial heaven – they must not have told her.)

    Only Mormon males holding the priesthood, and their many wives, are allowed into the highest celestial heavens. Sorry ladies – you need a Mormon phallus to make it to big-wig Mormon heaven.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • jason

      I won't even begin to address the number of errors contained in your comment, but one that needs to be understood is that Mormon men cannot achieve the highest degree of celestial glory alone. They must have a wife. So ladies, don't worry, we're in this together!

      May 2, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      In fact, Mormon men can have as many "spirit wives" as they wish – but women can be bound to only one man.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • RS, CA

      What an idiotic, juvenile, inaccurate, inane, stupid post. - gotta be one of the many bloggers employed by Axelrottttt (e.g., Sniffit comes to mind).

      May 2, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Many religions restrict women. I hope that you see those religions as backwards and bigoted, too.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  20. JoeG

    Glad to see she is making a name for herself. I'll be more impressed when I see someone who is gay and Wiccan (or Buddhist or atheist) rising through the ranks of the GOP. Mormon is still a branch of Christianity, and the GOP seems to not want anyone of any other faith representing them in any office. I'll believe they are a party of openness and inclusion when that happens. Until then, best of luck to Mia Love, I wish her nothing but the best in her career. I see her rise as a very, very tiny step within the Grand Old Party of White Christian Men.

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

      You are wrong, friend. Mormons aren't Christian. Do a search on planet Kolob. Then you will understand.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      zip, the dictionary definition of Christian is "Follower of Christ". Just because they don't follow Jesus the way you do, doesn't make them any less Christian.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:30 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.