August 30th, 2012
10:45 PM ET
Mormon speakers at RNC mark sharp departure from Romney's reticence on faith
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - After years of keeping quiet about his Mormon faith, Mitt Romney’s campaign thrust his church life into the national eye Thursday night, as a handful of Mormons took to the Republican National Convention’s stage to deliver moving testimonials about the Republican presidential nominee’s role as a member and leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
One couple that belonged to the same Massachusetts ward, or church, as Romney did recounted in a prime-time address how Romney tended to their 14-year-old son when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
“You cannot measure a man’s character based on words he utters before adoring crowds during happy times,” Ted Oparowski, the boy’s father, said on the RNC's final night, following speeches by such GOP stars as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“The true measure of a man is revealed in his actions during times of trouble,” Oparowski said, his voice shaking. “The quiet hospital room of a dying boy, with no cameras and no reporters – that is the time to make an assessment.”
CNN Explains: What’s Mormonism?
Oparowski explained how, more than 30 years ago, Romney would go on to eulogize his son.
Moments later, Pam Finlayson walked onto the convention stage to tell how Romney helped her when he served as bishop – the rough equivalent of a church pastor – of their ward in Belmont, Massachusetts.
Finlayson told how she’d given birth to a daughter 3½ months early and that the baby suffered from underdeveloped lungs, an unstable heart and a brain hemorrhage.
How Mormonism shaped Mitt Romney
“As I sat with her in intensive care, consumed with a mother's worry and fear, dear Mitt came to visit and pray with me,” Finlayson said, provoking tears throughout the convention hall.
“I will never forget that when he looked down tenderly at my daughter, his eyes filled with tears, and he reached out gently and stroked her tiny back.”
“When it comes to loving our neighbor, we can talk about it or we can live it,” Finlayson said later. “The Romneys live it every single day.”
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
With Romney almost never even invoking the words “Mormon” or “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” the intimate windows into the candidate’s church life came as a surprise to many ears.
“I was a little surprised that it really came out so strong,” says Richard Bushman, a Mormon and a scholar of the religion at Columbia University. “The number of Mormon notes struck in this one evening was remarkable.”
“It must have been some kind of balance of power in the campaign that shifted.”
Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter
Romney has opened up more about his Mormonism in recent weeks, but Thursday night’s speeches from Mormon friends marked a dramatic departure from Romney’s vague pronouncements about his faith.
In formally accepting the Republican nomination on Thursday night, Romney took the unusual step of invoking the "M" word, as he recounted his early years.
"We were Mormons and growing up in Michigan," Romney said. "That might have seemed unusual or out of place but I really don’t remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to."
Later in his speech, as he talked about arriving in Massachusetts, Romney referred to his church experience in a way that made it sound universal.
"Like a lot of families in a new place with no family, we found kinship with a wide circle of friends through our church," Romney said. "When we were new to the community it was welcoming and as the years went by, it was a joy to help others who had just moved to town or just joined our church."
Earlier in the evening, the Oparowskis and Finlayson were introduced by Grant Bennett, a fellow ward member who talked in specific terms about Mormon life.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an unpaid, lay clergy,” said Bennett, who succeeded Romney as bishop of the ward. “While raising his family and pursuing his career, Mitt Romney served in our church, devoting 10, 15, even 20 hours a week doing so.”
“Like all Mormon leaders, he did so on his own time and at his own expense,” Bennett continued.
While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seized on the national Mormon moment with national ad campaigns to try to explain and normalize Mormonism, the slate of Mormon RNC speakers may have done more to explain the fundamentals of Mormon life to millions of Americans.
“Tonight’s stories had an authenticity that’s greater than 20 public affairs releases from the church office,” says Bushman. “It’s just a huge enlargement of the understanding of the faith.”
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.
People always say there is no proof there is a God...but is there proof there isn't a God?
Silly question. Trying to prove something doesn't exist is a fools errand.
You can't prove that the wind isn't created by invisible flying dragons, but the likely hood of that being correct is negligible.
If one claims that it is truth that siomething exists, you may be required to offer proof, If you say you BELIEVE something exists, you do not need to prove a belief.
No their is no evidence that god doesn't exist. Of course their is no evidence that unicorns and faeries don't exist either.
Hey, Atheists can be bigots too
How many intelligent people profess belief in unicorns?
How many intelligent people profess beleif in God?
Not saying that makes theists correct, just saying there claim should be treated with more respect and consideration than a claim that Unicorns are real.
The onus of proof is on people who MAKE a claim, not on the people who refute that claim.
How many people profess a belief in a god? I would say none. Mutually exclusive principle.
the unicorn is on englands coat of arms...are you saying that they aren't real?
No one professes belief in God? You lost me there. Can you explain a little further?
I would say there is plenty of proof that God exists, and absolutely none that he doesn't exist. Who do you think created the laws of science, etc? But don't take my word for it, ask Him yourself.
And as for the person who states his "hypothesis" having to prove it, all of you who say there is no God prove it to me. You are stating your hypothesis that there is no God, where is your proof?
Actually no it shouldn't. The number of people who accept a claim has no bearing on the veracity of the claim. Millions of people world wide believe in astrology and psychic powers, those aren't real either. The only reason to believe a claim is if their is evidence supporting it.
I truly understand your point here.
But, could it not be argued that the fact that millions of intelligent people believe in something IS evidence of the claim.
To refute the claim of so many, is to put yourself up as smarter than any of those believing the claim.
And that may be fine, but it seems dangerous.
You people can't even define what your god is. What attributes does your god have?
God looks much like us. He has the same form as us. You know, 2 arms, 2 legs, ears, nose, eyes, etc.
He is immortal, perfect, loving, kind, omniscient.
He is my father.
If you are choosing between two claims that have equal evidence, picking the one because it has more supporters is a reasonable action. However if their is no evidence for a claim it should not be considered valid, regardless of the number of people who believe it.
Trying to use science to build evidence for the existence of something that transcends science is futile.
Thats the problem with science. Much of what science "knew" 100 years ago is now shown to be false. I believe the same statement will be true in another 100 years.
"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."
True, but what is the likelihood that 50 million people will actually say a foolish thing.
Moreover, what is the likelihood that 50 million people will believe and follow a foolish thing.
Of course, it is not impossible. It just gives whatever the "thing" is credibility.
I would make the same arguments for atheism. I find atheism credible because of the volume of intelligent people that adhere to it.
By the same token, I find agnosticism, christianity, and mormonism credible.
Seriously? Have you taken a look at human history? I assume you don't believe in or follow Brahma, Shiva or Vishnu and view belief in those gods as foolish, right? But there are 900 million Hindu's who believe in those "foolish" things.
How can you rationally view atheism and christianity/mormonism as credible? That is a contradiction.
To be clear, I don't believe in all of those things, but I accept them as credible beliefs.
I have one set of beliefs that I adhere to.
But how can I refute any claim that has been followed with devotion by so many intellegient people.
Again, this world, is clearly not as easy to figure out as most people claim.
"But how can I refute any claim that has been followed with devotion by so many intellegient people."
...because even intelligent people can believe in things for which there is no evidence. Again, simply take a look at human history.
"Again, this world, is clearly not as easy to figure out as most people claim."
True, but you have to keep trying, and searching for and evaluating evidence is the only rational shot you have at determining what's true.
How do you rationally refute a claim held by millions of intelligent people? It's easy repeat after me "Your claim has no evidence therefor I reject it" . Evidence is all that matters, and a large number of believers is not evidence. Heck half of the population of Iceland believes in the literal existence of trolls, and i mean the bridge kind not the internet kind.
I think we may be coming to the same place from different directions.
"True, but you have to keep trying, and searching for and evaluating evidence is the only rational shot you have at determining what's true."
Yes! And that's what I try to do. Thats what a lot of people try to do. And we end up in so many different places.
I beleive I found truth. Because truth is mutually exclusive, that means I believe others are wrong.
But I do not believe they are foolish because of it. And I don't feel like I have any authority to tell them that they are wrong.
I can tell them how I came to my beliefs, but in the end I respect their's.
With that kind of reasoning one could argue for the existence of anything predicated on the basis that it cannot be proved untrue. The burden of proof lies with the claimant not the skeptic. To further illustrate the point, i refer you to my namesake, Bertrand Russell, and his teapot argument.
Awhile back, a lot of very smart people believed the world was flat, the church supported this position, turns out they were incorrect. Hell, there are over a billion muslims, no doubt, many very intelligent and a billion christians in the world, both claim the exclusive path to eternal salvation, now both cannot be right, so, are 1 billion muslims wrong or are a billion christians wrong? Or for that matter, millions of smart people throughout the ages were polytheistic, were they correct too? See number of supporters to not imply validity.
Proof is in the eye of the beholder.
If you have faith and believe in G-d, there is your proof.
If you don't have faith and don't believe in G-d, there is your proof.
There are three Earth like planets not far from here ,two have people same as we are here on Earth.Said enough.
And you know that these planets have people how?
The Mormon's added a book to the bible. This is a cardinal sin. No true Christian should stand for a religion or man that is in that religion.
I missed that one in the 7 deadly sins
You didn't mention the name of the book they added?
As opposed to when they voted for which books should be added to the cannon and on the divinity of Jesus in the 3rd century?
Well then hopefully god will smite them for misbehaving.
@S.R the world is not going to end, you stu.pid.
If it is a sin for a man to add a book to the bible, then all of the bible was created by sinners, who added to the bible.
Your basic premise is rediculous
I grew up mormon in Utah and it is strange to me the lingo they are using. Mormons do not use the terms "Pastor" or "Sermon". Have they changed the mormon vocabulary to make it more acceptable for catholics?
Why is this strange? They're obviously trying to speak in terms that carry more meaning to people unfamiliar with the faith. If Mitt started talking about wards, stakes, bishoprics, endowments and seventies, non-LDS folk would just be confused. We've got our own lingo; just because it's 2nd nature in Utah doesn't mean it translates correctly in Iowa. Mormon bishop more or less = Presbyterian pastor. Mormon ward more or less = parish.
Mormon pastors (bishops) do not even address the congregation every Sunday let alone deliver a regular talk/sermon. There is no "sermon" in the LDS church, it is just a series of "talks" by people in the congregation (ward). So to say that Romney had this innovation to let other people deliver "the sermon" was giving him credit for something that is the policy world-wide.
Romney reminds me of Max Headroom. Punctuated speech with his head teetering.
There are good people who are atheist.
There are good people who are agnostic.
There are good people who are christian.
There are good people who are Mormon.
There are intelligent people who are atheist.
There are intelligent people who are agnostic
There are intelligent people who are theist.
How can any of us act like one set of beleifs is wrong?
This world is complicated enough to figure out that if you take a group of brilliant people they might each come up with a different set of beliefs about what this world is.
Lets each do our best to come to our beliefs personally and then follow them.
Then, lets allow others to do the same.
There are a lot of bad people in this world. Open your eyes.
There are a lot of not-so-good people who are.... Athesit, Agnostic, Christian, Mormon, etc.
Exactly my point.
The act of faith is never an intelligent decision. Faith means to believe in something without good reason. Faith requires one to believe even without evidence and in the presence of evidence to the contrary. Faith is never intelligent.
I forget, which planet do they go to when they die..............
Well actually the mormon god LIVES on Kolob and when Mormons die, they wait around until the resurrection of Joseph Smith and Jesus and then they get to go to their own kingdoms...depending on how good or bad they were (there are three different kingdoms: Telestial, Terlestial and Celestial, as well as the mormon version of hell, which is called "Outer Darkness." Supposedly in outer darkness "there is much knashing of teeth and renting of clothes." Anyhoo, after the super good ones go to the Celestial kingdom, they can work toward their own godhood and their own planets where they will become gods like the current mormon god (who was once a man himself according to mormon scripture). So...they aren't a cult???
what planet!! they float in dark space, until they get sucked into black hole.
pastmorm, you seem to have never understood what the church teaches. Your post is absurdly far from being accurate.
What's funny to me is how either ex-Mormons, anti-Mormons and rabid evangelicals focus so much more on Kolob and White Horse prophecies and glowing stones in hats and multiple wives and creating your own planets than anyone active in the church does. Do you know how often any of those come up in Sunday School, or any other Mormony setting? Well, I've been attending 40 years now, and I can tell you it rarely (bordering on never) comes up. Why? It just doesn't matter to people living their lives day to day. Am I going to church so can get my own build-a-planet kit someday? Nah. Am I going because it keeps me in close association with people I feel are trustworthy and who allow my kids to interact with other kids who don't spend every weekend looking to get laid or wasted? Yep. Joseph Smith was a ______? Well, OK. And that realization helps me pay my mortgage and influence my kids to be good citizens how?
The fact that you mentioned planet makes me wonder if you would like to listen to the missionaries to learn more about what Mormons believe...
I'm pretty sure Romney was(is) a nice guy. But tell me again why I should help place him as the head of the free world.
To get the socialist out
Have you heard "Building Blocks of Life Found Around Young Star" Aug 28, 2012. How are your lot going to change the creation story this time around. The nonsesnse in Genesis is getting more and more unbelievable with each new discovery, but please try to convince someone that is not a sheepie that god created man out of dust, eureka.
Bill....how weak and silly. Socialist? Right, like America is a socialist country right now. You and your pathetic GOP said from the start that they would do NOTHING for this country for four years, except work on keeping Obama from a second term. Now that's just communist thinking isn't it? Yes.
May because the present head of the free world is a moron instead of a mormon!! Moron!
"To get the socialist out"...really? That's the best answer??
Let's see...what could be worse here. A leader who people like to claim is a "socialist"...or a leader who is part of a bigoted religion founded by a man who read from stones in a hat and was killed later after trying to marry the wives of two of his members? Hmmmm "socialist" or crazy magic underwear wearing bigot....hmmmmm
I'll field that one, Jim . . because a man's choice of underwear or the peculiarities of what some other guy did 150+ years ago has little to nothing to do with how he'd perform as a Chief Executive. Now, being a socialist (which, btw, I think is a ridiculous label to put on Obama) has everything to so with a President's performance.
Seriously; why the obession with underwear? It's really not that big a deal, unless underthings in general are a huge political hot button for you. Nobody but the fringiest of fringe Mormons believe the garments (underwear) are anything but symbolic of covenents made to God, and, from a practical standpoint, as reminders to dress modestly. Are you worried Mitt's gonna make everyone wear the things? What's weirder; the fact that Mitt and I wear underwear that looks a little goofy, or the fact that you're so intensely interested in it?
Being fair about it:
ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG:
AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD
Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)
"Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."
Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;
Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).
Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does Obam and his family) (And Biden) (And Ryan)
The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.
Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
ignore Eric...he still is in grade school.
what do I not understand...
to just say someone does not understand and to attempt to discredit them without providing evidence or even a lucid point just shows the weakness of your position, it can not stand on its own and need to deflect attention elswhere, maybe you should run for office.
You do not understand that the bible is not validated in society. You do not understand that sin is only biblical and that being gay is not wrong. You do not understand that there is no evidence to support your god or any other gods existence. You have accepted things on faith (belief without evidence). You do not understand that you do hate even if you don't think of it that way. You use a book to tell you how to live...true free-thinking people are not so lazy.
You are gullible and the on;y real reason you believe is due to your parents instilling it, had you been born to Atheist parents you would not have a belief; if you had been born to Muslim parents your god would not be the same god-so how do you know you have the right god?
Theism is brainwashing: Essentially what you've stated is the following, "All beliefs are socially constructed, therefore all beliefs are wrong." I'm not sure if you realize this but that statement ITSELF is a socially constructed statement. So you have to circle around back to trying to determine which belief system if any is right or wrong.
Atheists are brainwashed.
Eric, provide evidence of your god and your myths and we might pay attention to you, otherwise you just have an unsupported opinion and should be ignored.
Until Mormons actually allow people into their churches, they will never lose cult status.
They do allow and encourage people to come into their churches. There are a few buildings called temples that, like the temples/tabernacles of the old testament, requre a certain level of worthiness to enter because they are places of purity. Before these buildings are officially set apart as temples, the general public is encouraged to come tour the building.
Who cares if they have Mormons speaking? Also, your comments do not make sense. Why do Mormons send missionaries everywhere?
Mormonism founded or organized in 1840s? My church is over 2000 years old and my Elders lives in Monasteries and on Mount Athos. It was not our practiced that dark skinned people were evil in the church. However, the influences of new religions do take their toll on weak Christians with their carefully structured dogmas.
Judaism was more than 2000 years when Christianity came and tweaked things. I wouldn't want to rely on medicine or scinece that is 2000 years old. Just cause something is old, doesn't mean its great. I'm not happy about some of the things in my church's history, as it is a young and developing religion, but you shouldn't be the one to talk, since the 2000 year old christian religion has a dirtier past than all the others, with murder, torture, priestcraft, witholding scriptures from the public, etc. etc. Now I'm well aware that these things don't exist in your church anymore, so i don't judge you based on them. I hope you'll do the same for me.
Mitt Romney’s faith does not stand in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ but rather in an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13).
For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and the spirit it serves we invite you to read the article ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
All of the other pages and articles explain how and by whom the people of this world have been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.
So what's a real god, or a real Christ? Are they just like the false variety but slightly more translucent?
Well the short of it Joseph Smith credits the founding of mormonism to an interaction with an angel same is true of mohamad and islam, which I dont doubt. But Satan appears as an angel of light, his minions can also fool us.
Jesus claimed to be the real deal it wasnt an angel bringing word.
Poor poor Eric...too brainwashed to understand anything.
Read what the atheist believe.
Oh please. Just because you say Mormons don't worship Christ doesn't make it so. Sorry.
Eric, the founding of the LDS church was initiated by a vision Joseph Smith had of God the Father and Jesus Christ. The event you are speaking of came several years later.
For a real understanding of the Mormon church go to Mormon.org or lds.org
Warning! Zealidiots Near!
Nice name. Guess you couldnt come up with an intelligent comment so you try to defame someone in an attempt to make yourself feel better. The only thing that can fill that need in your life is Jesus.
Where can evidence of jesus be found?
At the foot of the cross
Prayer changes things
prayer kills innocent people
Atheists believe –
Actually, agnostic atheism is very healthy for children.
It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, are just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about; and that there are a lot of weak-minded know-it-all's running around the world who have been deceived.
Atheists have strong minds, and don't run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, disserving society).
So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.
Atheists believe in lies.
The reality is that the only conservative factions that like Romney are the ultra-rich and the Mormons. For everyone else, he is what they are stuck with, the guy they are going to have to hold their noses and vote for in November. He's a big nobody with no platform and no policies and no vision, and most conservatives know it.
Mitt Romney's only real appeal is not that he is Mitt Romney, but that he is "Not Obama." The ballots should be marked "Obama" and "Not Obama", because that is all the right really cares about, and honestly a poop-flinging monkey would get as many votes as Romney.
Too bad there isnt a none of thee above box.
A monkey would probably be less calculatingly destructive.
Actually, Romney and Ryan will win the election. People want problem solvers, not false promises and blame.
As far as improving this economy, I don't see it improving if Obama is reelected. He had his chance. What he is doing is not working. Give Mitt a shot at it. He will get it done.
The Cult has been planning this moment for decades. Getting one of their own nominated to be president is as close as they will ever get. The Mormons are one step removed from Scientology and those beliefs are really weird.
It is really odd that people so conservative would believe and welcome a long haired, Jewish community organizer as their savior!
The same arguments were made for Kennedy, which turned out to just be utter paranoia.
And I fail to see how wearing magic underwear is somehow weirder than weekly ritualistic cannibalism.
Correct, google White horse prophecy
MaryM, that so-called "white horse prophesy" is NOT part of LDS doctrine.
I invite you to go to a Sunday meeting to see for yourself...
Time to grow up and stop believing in fairy tales with no evidence to support them.
Just as it is insanity to believe in the 6ft tall green monster in my closet without evidence so is it insane to believe in god without evidence.
The last thing we need is a president who cannot use his mind to determine what is real from evidence.
While I agree with what Mr. Pinker says, I just cannot get over how ugly he is.
So if I find Jesus as revealed through scripture to be beautiful and self-authenticating, I'm ignorant and arrogant? I guess that's what I am then.
John had a revelation.
How atheists get brainwashed.