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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. Mark

    I guess she's not offended that her church declared by word of God that she has the curse of Ham. Everyone makes mistakes I guess, especially the Mormom prophet... and God evidently too according to the LDS Church because God said something definitive and then went back upon it.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      That is a lie and not true in anyway. Please refrain from speaking slander not just about Mormons, but God too and inferring racism where there is none from God or Mormons.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Paul

      If you knew your Bible, you would know that God did the same thing in Bible times. He commanded his Apostles to not go to the Gentiles, only to the Jews. Later, he commanded them to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. Hmmmmm.....

      May 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  2. Easy E

    Hopefully Washington doesn't ruin her soul the way it does everyone else.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  3. AmericanSam

    Good for her. I disagree with her party, but I wish her well.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  4. wr

    What a racist interview. "It's unbelievable!! You're black and a republican! You're like a circus freak show!"

    May 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    John Wright, black people don't hate Mormons, it's obvious this woman joined the Mormon faith because we don't hate Mormons and they don't hate us. Just like Romney, the only problem she may face is within the Republican party.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  6. pearland

    Obama can not pat hisself on the back for killing Osama, something Bush could not do in 8 years. But it is ok for the GOP to waive around this black woman and say "look, see I do have one black friend." Not going to work! They even let her keep her braids and weave.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  7. Martin

    I think this is good even though Utah is almost a Mormon theocracy. I'd personally like to see more non-religious people running and in office.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Bah Rain

      "Almost"? LOL

      May 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  8. peter

    Perhaps she's using the fact minorities rarely become republicans to jump ahead. For the most part she's doing no more than selling her soul to get to the finish line faster. What's that saying, the end justify the means.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • David

      Peter, you're using strategy from the other party. Not everyone is as sinister; some want to see good in public life.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • wr

      What a disgraceful thing to say. God forbid someone should actually believe in something.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Stevo

      Selling her soul? Did it ever occur to you that she is happy with her choices? Open your mind.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Ken

      Not so sure her soul has been sold. There are a few have figured out tha American politics is a game that if played well can have professional sport like salary returns. Quite a few people understand well that there is no value to politics it is an arena that delegitimizes everything around it and adds no value to anyones life, so since it's paying well, why not jump in on the side of politics that is in need of diversity and syphon as much money as you can. If you are good at exploiting it, you can reap rewards much as Tim Scott from South Carolina, or Allen West from Florida.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  9. The World is filled with Nutters

    Grooming the Gop candidate for the year 2032

    May 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  10. jacksuns

    So many bigots out there. I thought liberals were supposed to be so open to change, hope, equality for all, women's rights, etc. All I'm seeing in the comments here are religious bigots, hypocrites, racists, and bitter, angry people. Pretty pathetic. It's sad to think you're Obama's support base.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Boohincus

      You're so full of self righteous bunk that your eyes are brown. Typically, you will hold one single face in a sea of white ultra conservative Mormons as some sort of sea change within the church: not. She will, however, be exploited by her white Mormon brethren to the max: See how 'diverse' we are: not. The church elders are falling all over themselves right now; for joy, just the break we needed! Our propaganda blitz really worked! Yippee.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  11. natepush

    You know our country is progressing when I, a young white male, only hate her for being a Republican.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Michael

      Ah, now *that* is funny. 🙂

      May 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Catzie53

      You mean the war on republicans, might as well say it or it is politically wrong!

      May 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • yowzers

      lol...progress indeed

      May 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  12. Greens47

    I'm always fascinated by non-whites who identify as Mormon. The church's very founders were not only vehementally racist but codified their racism into "infalliblel" church doctrine. That, and the silly fiction that is the Book of Mormon, should give any person serious pause before joining.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • David

      Ah, the old taint-with-obscure-historic-rhetoric move. It's not working like it used to, Greens47.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Michael

      The only people who say that Mormon church doctrine is "infallible" are people with an anti-Mormon agenda who set it up as a straw man in order to disparage the church.

      Quite the contrary, Mormons believe most certainly in the fallibility of their leaders and, therefore, in the need for continuing revelation to correct and clarify the false doctrines of the past. Including, most especially for over a generation now, any doctrine associated with racism.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      Pause before you continue your bigotry and false charges in the court of public opinion.

      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.

      Start reading and being to be educated with the facts instead of opinions and false charges.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  13. Daniel

    The Mormon religion is a cult, similar to Scientology. Please research what these lunatics believe in.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Stevo

      @Daniel

      Mormonism is NOTHING like Scientology. Why don't you take your own advice and "do some research". How embarassing for you.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Gene

      So incredibly stupid. How do you not fall down more?

      May 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      Mormons believe in Jesus Christ. The Son of God, who was the Word from the beginning, the creator of the world under the diection of the Father and Savior who redeemed humans from the fall of Adam.

      We believe in the same organization as the Church Jesus Christ established with Apostles, Prophets and other offices like bishops.

      We believe in ministering of Angels and that miracles such as healing the sick, comforting the afflicted and raising the dead still happen today.

      Not like Scientology at all. Distinctly Mormon and in line with origianal Christianity as established by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  14. Ran

    But the Mormon church was founded as a racist organization....especially towards black and native americans.....maybe she doesn't know.....it's like in the Book of Mormon....maybe she didn't read that part.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Stevo

      How misinformed you are? Does it HURT to be that stupid?

      May 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • David

      Sins of the past are over. It's not the 1800's anymore. The voices you're hearing in your head are wrong.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Ken

      Racism against blacks didn't start or stop with Mormons, you might recall this little economic system that America had just before the Civil War known as slavery! So what do yo suggest we do, now affiliate with anything that treated us with racism... Where should we start?

      May 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  15. Hairbear

    What a joke! I'm all for it but you can bet if she's a member of the GOP, real black women will snub her! Means nothing! But I have to say she's playing it smart only way to get ahead! Play The Game!

    May 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • wr

      "REAL" black women?? You should be ashamed of yourself.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  16. wontonsoy

    A cult is a cult is a cult. Her being black doesn't make that any more progressive. If she's religious, it makes sense that she'd be a republican, seeing as they're the party of regressive social stances. "Rising star" my ass.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  17. RapidOne

    Simple: 'Token'

    May 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  18. LB

    Coming from a black man, in our community if you're black and a republican then you're an Uncle Tom.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Stevo

      How "close-minded" of your community!

      May 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  19. ktucan1

    Good for her. Wish her the best. Although why in the Hell would you want to work in one of the worst places(Congress).

    May 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  20. John Wright

    How dare a black support republican policies. This poor candidate will be vilified by her own race and they will turn on her with vicious name calling led by the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • peter

      The best comment you could possibly come up with involves your own racist dispositions. Pass away, this world is no longer for the good ole boy club but the diverse.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Daryl

      Mr. Wright I am not sure if you are aware of this but like other groups blacks also have different political view. Since this article doesn't talk about her views I don't if I disagree with her. However if she sticks to the "party" line of Republican leadership then I do disagree with her.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Ken

      Thank you, mighty white of you to presume what our race will do to this woman. Perhaps you can share with us what else we are going to do. Then perhaps you can offer some points of wisdom on how blacks can divest themselves of the American Dream I mean nightmare, and stop having expectations of the paternalistic white society much as Ms. Love seems to be attempting to do...

      May 1, 2012 at 6:29 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.