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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. polycarp pio

    She is definetely not a typical black women candidate. I am ambiguous about her running for office, a Godly women does not desire leadership, that position is for a man. Just my 2 cents. PP

    May 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  2. max

    Good gawd. Mitt Romney is reaching. How many people are female, Morman, Republican and black. I'll be voting for President Obama come this November. Solidly.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • lividgoosedots

      You and millions of others of us who are either non-religious, agnostic and atheist.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  3. Marion

    A lot of black immigrants or first generation children of black immigrants from the Caribbean, South or Centra America, or Africa do not completely relate to the African-American experience. They do not feel the same loyalty to "the black American struggle." Many of them won't hesitate to distinguish the fact that they are Haitian, Jamaican, Nigerian, Colombian, etc., before they will be identified with being "black," because for them being "black" is negative in America. But they will be the first in line to accept the benefits of affirmative action and other benefits of being black off the blood, sweat and tears that so many African Americans fought and died for over 200 plus years. Although I disagree with people like Michael Steele, J.C. Watts, Herman Cain, and Allen West's political ideology, at least they know they are black Americans or African American which ever term you want to use. I believe even Allen West is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. I wonder if Madame Mayor even acknowleges she is black, or is she only Hatian to conveniently distance herself from black America. I admit, I don't know anything about the lady besides from what I just read in this article, and she may not fall into this cateogory, I'm just speaking from my own personal experience over 40 plus years with "many" black immigrants or children of black immigrants.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • pen2

      I agree with everything that you have said.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  4. rep

    There's clearly a race on to find a person who votes/acts the most against their own interests. If this woman was also a lesbian, she'd probably take home first prize. That being said, to each their own.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Terry

      How is opposing government destruction of our economy and natural rights "against [Mia's] own interests"?

      May 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  5. Knucklehead

    Maybe all this black curse stuff in Mormonism has changed. I remember it was wrong for them to drink Coca Cola until they bought stock in the company. Coffee and cigarettes are still a no-no, I think. In fact, when I lived there, they called the folks who sorta believed but smoked and drank "jack-Mormons." Maybe she's a jack-Mormon.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • cloudyone

      Having seen a few of your comments, you don't seem to know much about mormons. I would suggest you get your information from other sources than the media, news outlet comments, and fanatical friends.

      Mainly, get educated.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Susan

      Boy, Knucklehead certainly fits this post. Obviously you don't know what you are talking about. Coke was NEVER outlawed by the LDS faith, Jack Mormon refers to people who don't practice the religion but still consider themselves Mormon – like myself. And the concept of a "curse" is another one of those old myths. I feel sorry for people who spout information without actually getting the facts. By the way, there are MANY Black women, men, and children in the LDS church. She is just one.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Terry

      I've attended Mormon churches for years, and never once have I heard any Mormon ministers say the things you're alleging are taught by the Mormon church. It's too bad you choose to lie.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Joseph Smith

      Whether they teach it now has nothing to do with whether it's in the doctrine...they're trying to go mainstream so of course they don't advertise that they're racist. Research your church Terry!

      May 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  6. Al-D

    The Manchurian Candidate!!!

    May 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  7. breezenev

    Wow, what stereotyping and prejudice, the point is respect for the individual, surprised that none of you dumbos mentioned her white husband as well. It this world had more Mia's and less Barack's (and fewer ignorant commentators), what a wonderful world it would be.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Terry

      Amen. I happen to know Mia personally, and she's VERY genuine. She has a great family, and she's a great person. I'm excited to see a "real" politician for once.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Knucklehead

      It's her judgement we're questioning, idiot. Anybody who joins a church that has a creed saying you are cursed deserves criticism. This is what makes America strong.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Truth

      The ignorance on these boards is astounding, unfortunately once you see it day in and day out it doesn't become surprising anymore.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Knucklehead

      Thanks for your contribution, Truth.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Terry

      Hey "Truth," do you lack reading comprehension skills? There are a ton of bigoted, racist comments on this board aimed at Mia Love. Pull your head out of the sand and open your eyes.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  8. M. Meyers

    No problems with Ms. Love. However, why she is being hoisted up a flag pole at this point in time brings two words to mind, pander and hypocracy.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Truth

      The correct spelling would be hypocrisy. Drop out of school?

      May 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Knucklehead

      Ya gotta admit a black female Mormon Republican is news. Rare, indeed.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  9. Truth

    l really dislike conservatives, but I CANT STAND liberals!!!!!

    May 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  10. Nick

    She has a pretty smile and seems genuinely happy. Optimism is contagious and she has it in spades.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • lividgoosedots

      She is a spade who jumped back to the plantation.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  11. Knucklehead

    What level of heaven is it possible for her attain? Does getting elected move her up?

    May 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Susan

      She'll go a lot higher than you. At least she isn't a hate monger.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Joseph Smith

      Susan believes that you can get to different levels of heaven through works. Not what the Bible teaches.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • jdb

      You are aptly named.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • nairb247

      @ joseph – Faith without works is dead.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • nairb247

      @ joseph – and by the way Joseph you are also misinformed. Mormons believe that they are saved only through Christ. However, what you are saying is that by faith alone you are saved. So I can say I have faith in Christ and then go beat my wife and kids, but because I say I have faith in Christ I will still be saved.

      I can have faith in Christ but ignore my neighbor who is in need an only think of myself but still be saved.

      I can have faith in Christ and be the worst person on the planet but when I am about to die say I accept Christ and all of the sudden I am saved.

      Much more to it than that. Through Christ all men are saved, totally true. But there is more to it than just that.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  12. Mike

    Unbelieveable that a black person would accept what the Real Book of Mormon teaches about people of Color.
    The first time we hear about the curse of dark, or black, skin in the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 5:21.
    It is said that God cursed the Lamanites with black skin so they would not be enticing unto the Nephites.
    When you compare the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon with today's version, you will see a
    small editing change in 2 Nephi 30:6. The word "white" in the phrase "they shall be a white and a
    delightsome people" has been changed to "pure.". The fact that white has been changed to pure
    reflects the LDS belief that white skin is symbolic of purity whereas black skin is symbolic of impurity.
    And you call yourself a MORMOM!!!!

    May 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Michael

      Mike: You're presenting, obsolete, outdated, and fully repudiated interpretations of those scriptures. The Book of Mormon expressly teaches that the blessings of the gospel are available to all, "black and white, bond and free." Mormons and LDS Church leaders who have interpreted those statements in a racist manner in the past were wrong, and such interpretations have been roundly criticized by the LDS Church.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Kurt

      I'm not a scholar (but I am a Mormon), but I've heard that many of those changes that you cite were actually changes BACK to the original translations done by Joseph Smith. I believe some of the original published versions of the Book of Mormon contained certain changes (like "white" instead of "pure"). So the modern Book of Mormon, which sounds less racist to us today, is actually the original translation.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Kurt

      The thing is, that is what you've heard, and that doesn't mean that it's true. Unless it can be verified through original manuscripts of Smith's, then at this point is all hearsay.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • abudum

      Michael, how do you just change your scripture at will? The scripture just that a scripture written by the so called prophets of the Mormons. How do you change it? Who repudiated what the founding prophets wrote and revealed as scripture?

      May 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • WASP

      @mike: "The first reference in Latter Day Saint writings describing dark skin as a curse and mark from God refers to Lamanites. The Book of Mormon, published in the late 1820s, states the following about a group of people who rebelled against God:
      And [God] had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God; I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities." (2 Nephi 5:21)"

      hey mike notice the date in that pas.sage? it's 1820. we all know religion evolves over time and most of the time it starts from violent teachings.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Michael

      Abudum, HawaiiGuest:

      In Mike's particular case, it's not that the scripture is wrong, but that the interpretation is wrong. In our racially charged society, we assume that "black" and "white" are skin colors, when "white," in the past, was often used to represent a state of spiritual purity. (Think of white bridal gowns.) If modern American Mormons were consistently misinterpreting that verse in a way that led to racist conclusions, it was entirely appropriate for it to be changed in an effort to clarify meaning.

      2) Whether it was part of the original manuscript or not is beside the point. One of the built-in tenets of Mormonism is the idea of "continuing revelation." That is, prophets are fallible humans, capable of making mistakes or being unclear. The reason we have a continuous chain of modern prophets is, in part, to correct and clarify the mistakes of the past. So *regardless* of what was originally written, it's certainly within the authority of a prophet to make a correction to what was written or spoken by prophets in the past, in order to bring it into alignment with truth.

      Note that this change to the Book of Mormon was made publicly, and was widely welcomed by membership of the Church. This could really only be scandalous if it were hidden. There is nothing to hide here, because even if some people believe that every word spoken by the mouth of a Prophet is infallible, Mormons do not.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      Ultimate fact and lesson from the Book of Mormon

      The fair, white skin of the Nephites did not save them. God did not save the fair white skinned people as the made their last stand against the dark skinned Lamanites. It is right there at the end of the Book of Mormon. So much for it being a book about racism when the whitest race was destroyed. Not to mention the numerous times that although the Lamanites did not follow the same religion of the Nephites, the fair white skinned people, the Lamanites demonstrated over and over why God spared them from destruction even when they were 'cursed'.

      The dark skinned Lamanite loved their wife and children better than the white fair skinned Nephite. The Nephites would fall away from their religion in pride while the dark skinned Lamanite coverted to the Nephite Christian religion would never depart from it.

      The dark skinned Lamanites at one point worshipped a religion of warfare (confirmed by archeology of Mesoamerica) according to the Book of Mormon converted from their blood-thirsty religion and as a sign of their conversion to not return to their old ways buried their blood stained weapons and vowed to never shed blood again. Their conversion and faith was tested immediately as those Lamanites still practicing their religion of war slaughtered those converted Christians.

      They died without raising a weapon and in humble prayer held true to their faith.

      If you actually read the Book of Mormon instead of picking out what you think is damning proof against Mormons you would realize there is no racism in the Book of Mormon. That the Book of Mormon condemns racism and proves that skin color saves no one which again is how the Book of Mormon ended.

      This leads us to Moses in the Pearl of Great Price scripture. Dark skin had nothing to do with the seed of Cain not having a place among the sons of Adam. Cain spread the oath he made with Satan and the curse is disobedience to God by willful choice. The children of Cain proved this by killing for the sake of oaths they made, not because of skin color. Opposition to God brings down the curse of Cain who are in willful rebellion against God.

      That is how the Nephites were destroyed. Chief Captain Mormon, the last military leader of the Nephites, heard the Nephites pray before their last great battle. At first he had hope for his people until he heard what they said. The once great people, fair and delightsome were now blood-thirsty, depraved, horrible, vicious people who prayed to die or kill their enemies. They did not call upon God in fear, but that He would uphold them in their aweful state of rebellion.

      God did not and the Nephites were destroyed as a nation because their pride and racism against who they knew to be their brothers and sisters, the Lamanites. That is one of many messages of the Book of Mormon and one you clearly missed in your attempt to accuse Mormons of racism when in fact the Book of Mormon teaches the exact opposite to the Mormon Church and the world.

      Actually read the book, you may learn what it really says instead of what you think it says to support your bigoted views of Mormons.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  13. Truth

    I really dislike conservatives, but I CANT STAND liberals!!!!

    May 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Knucklehead

      How do you feel about your mother?

      May 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Truth

      My mother is a wonderful woman who has raised a great son thank you very much. How do you feel about your intellectual capacity?

      May 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Joseph Smith

      Truth drinks LDS Kool-Aid

      May 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  14. Greg

    All this Mormon-promoting will do no good for our Nation. Please, everybody (especially Christians) need to really research this cult and see how Un-Christian it is. There is no truth in it. "As Man is, God once was. As God is, man can be." is one foundation of the LDS faith. it is BLASPHEMY. God will not be mocked.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • lividgoosedots

      The best thing Christians can do is not vote in November!

      May 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Susan

      AH. There it is at last. I was waiting for the "cult" myth to emerge. It didn't take long and once again we have uneducated, fear-spreading idiots spouting it. So good to see that things haven't changed. So, do you believe Mormons have horns and tails also? I got mine cut off as a child.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Dave

      Greg,

      You might re-read the Book of Revelation (in the Bible) again- if you have ever read it. The promises that God gives to those that overcome are pretty awesome. They definitely support the "As God is, man can be" concept.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Michael

      Greg,

      You are misinformed. That is an interesting folk doctrine of the LDS Church, something some believe but many do not. It is in no sense a "foundation" of the LDS Church.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      You should really read the Bible first before accusing Mormons of blasphemy when Jesus was accused of the same thing.

      John 10:33

      "The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God."

      We all know how that turned out for Jesus teaching the doctrine Mormons now teach. You are in poor company with Jesus accusors, is that really where you want to be?

      May 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  15. Knucklehead

    Maybe someone can explain it to me. I spent a good part of my youth growing up Catholic in the Salt Lake Valley. Was bombarded by conversion attempts by some friends and classmates. Thing is, I was told by my Mormon friends that blacks were the descendents of Cain. That is how God marked them. And therefore, black men were not allowed to attain the position of Deacon in the Mormon Church. It was codified racism. In fact, there was a controversy about a black Boy Scout not being able to attain Eagle Scout status because he wasn't a Deacon in the church. It was on 60 minutes actually. When I asked my friend about it, a friend who had been after me to join the Boy Scouts, he told me, point blank: "If he's black he's not qualified to be an Eagle Scout." So, I wonder how black members of the Mormon Church relegate their subordinate status in the church.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • abudum

      They're just happy to be accepted by white people.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Terry

      Sounds like your friends were severely misinformed.

      I've attended dozens of different Mormon churches, and never once have I heard one preach the things you've said.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Kurt

      I'm a Mormon, and we don't discriminate against blacks today. Until 1978, black people could not receive the Priesthood. But we have always believed that we are all sons and daughters of God.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Dave

      You must have grown up in the 1950s? Things have evolved since then ( in most parts of the country.) If Mormons still thought that way – why would they overwhelmingly vote for Mia Love? Please let go of the past.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  16. lividgoosedots

    If she were a man we would call her another "Uncle Tom"

    May 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Delise Means

      The female version of "Uncle Tom" is "Aunt Tomasina".

      May 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  17. Tim

    Something else for the Democrats to hate.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Knucklehead

      Shouldn't you be cleaning your gun collection?

      May 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  18. stew22

    Regardless of her religion and her race, it's nice to see a beautiful, articulate women who stands for individual liberty and limited government running for office. And for all the haters on here, I'm sorry you're so depressed and unhappy. Best of luck to Mia and her campaign.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • abudum

      She can't be that articulate to not know that the Mormon church despises black people. Reminds me of Clayton Bigsby the black Klansman in the Dave Chappelle skit.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • stew22

      You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. Why don't you wake up and join the 21st century. You have nothing to back what you're saying. Go sit in an LDS church this Sunday. You might just be surprised to see a African American bishop and plenty of African American people in the congregation. What you are saying is 100% false.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  19. Trish

    Just hope one day she des not become the female Michael Steele and JC Watts. Honestly

    May 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Knucklehead

      She's halfway there.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  20. Joseph Smith

    Women are subservient in the LDS church, and people of color are cursed by church doctrine...not sure what this woman is thinking.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • abudum

      That my point exactly Joe.For nearly 150 years, the Mormon Church taught that black people were cursed. A black Mormon male could not even hold the highly regarded LDS Priesthood because of his black skin. And since he could not hold this Priesthood, he could not enter the Mormon Temple. This doctrine in no way, shape, or form can be substantiated even in the phony Christian Scripture. Only in the LDS scriptures does this racist doctrine exist until they CHANGED what their GOD said to allow for the incoming dollars from a wannabee be part of everything, small group of ignorant black people. This woman is obviously not very bright.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Dave

      I disagree with both your assertions. (I think Mia Love would also.) Women hold extensive leadership roles and exercise powerful influence in the LDS church at all levels. "People of color" are welcomed in the church as children of god equal to everyone else. There are black general authorities, stake presidents, and bishops.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • nairb247

      You are incorrect. Women are far from subservient. Any well informed LDS person would tell you that.

      @abundum – Did you know that at one point and time in the old testiment only decendents of LEVI could hold the priesthood. Does that mean that anyone who isn't a descendent of LEVI should be mad at God in regards to that?

      Blacks have always have had full fellowship in the church. The priesthood thing is another story.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
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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.