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Can Mitt Romney’s evangelical ambassador seal the deal before Election Day?
Mark DeMoss and Mitt Romney at Liberty University, where Romney delivered the commencement address in May.
September 1st, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Can Mitt Romney’s evangelical ambassador seal the deal before Election Day?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Tampa, Florida (CNN) – The task of selling a Mormon presidential candidate to evangelical America has fallen to a public relations man who’s not even getting paid for what may be the toughest sales job of his career.

For six years, Mark DeMoss has served as Mitt Romney’s unofficial evangelical ambassador, making the case that born-again Christians should help elect the first Mormon to the White House.

It has often been a lonely job.

During this year’s primaries, DeMoss found himself addressing audiences of evangelical leaders in which nearly everyone was rooting for another candidate: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry – anybody but Romney.

“It would have been tough for anyone other than Mark,” says Richard Land, the public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention, remembering how DeMoss performed in one hostile setting last January. “The audience was stacked for Santorum and Gingrich.

“But he has a lot of street cred with evangelicals,” Land says of DeMoss. “He understands us because he’s one of us. So he did great.”

CNN Explains: What’s Mormonism?

Now that Romney has outlasted the other candidates to become the Republican nominee for president, DeMoss is using that street cred to help the candidate close the deal with evangelical voters in the weeks before Election Day.

It’s unclear whether he will succeed.

Polls show that although most evangelicals have come around to Romney, there’s a sizable chunk who have not. With those voters making up a huge part of the GOP base in swing states like Ohio, Iowa and Virginia, whether DeMoss’ gambit works could mean the difference between an Obama or a Romney White House.

For DeMoss, who is officially a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, the stakes of his work go well beyond electoral politics. He’s trying to open the American evangelical mind.

“I took this on to tackle prejudicial attitudes,” DeMoss says, explaining how he approached Romney about running for president in 2006, convinced that the then-Massachusetts governor was the most qualified man for the presidency that he’d ever seen.

How Mormonism shaped Mitt Romney

“I discussed it with Romney the first time we met,” he continues, sitting in his room at the elegant Vinoy Resort and Golf Club in St. Petersburg, his home during the convention. “It bothered me that some evangelicals said they couldn’t support a Mormon for president. As a public relations guy, I wanted to change that mindset.”

Which is why DeMoss was in front of the North Carolina delegation at the convention Monday morning, arguing that it’s unfair for some Republicans to insist on a presidential nominee with whom they agree about everything.

“My advice to those folks is perhaps you should run yourself the next time,” DeMoss told the evangelical-heavy delegation in a Hilton Hotel ballroom, still abuzz about a powerhouse speech that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had delivered a few minutes earlier.

“My wife and I have been married for 24 years,” DeMoss said, “and I don’t agree with her on everything.”

Looking professorial in tortoiseshell glasses, a blue blazer and a white polo shirt tucked into khakis, DeMoss never mentioned religion or Romney’s Mormonism.

But you could tell it was a big part of what he was talking about.

It’s why he told the delegation that he has prayed with Mitt Romney and shared scripture with him and has even sought parenting advice from Romney and his wife, Ann.

After years of traveling and visiting with the Romney, DeMoss told the crowd, “I trust his values - for I’m fully convinced they mirror my own.”

It might not sound like much, but an evangelical Christian vouching for a Mormon’s values in front of ballroom full of fellow believers can be a powerful thing.

At least that’s the hope.

Lessons from the Moral Majority

DeMoss developed an appreciation for Mormons from a somewhat unlikely source: the evangelical giant Jerry Falwell.

He enrolled at Liberty University, Falwell’s school, in 1980, the year after his father died of a heart attack. Falwell, a fundamentalist preacher, would become like a second father.

DeMoss’s dad had been friends with Falwell – DeMoss says it’s unclear if the insurance marketing company his father founded, National Liberty Corp., helped give Liberty University its name – and Mark found work in Falwell’s office after graduation.

By the time he was 23, DeMoss was serving as Falwell’s chief of staff and spokesman, helping his boss run a growing evangelical empire that included the Lynchburg, Virginia, university and a new organization Falwell had helped found: the Moral Majority.

The organization aimed to bring evangelicals back into the political fold, after millions of them had spent decades sitting out elections, convinced that politics were a dirty, ungodly business.

“We traveled the country, challenging pastors to get involved. He outworked staff  that were half his age” DeMoss says of Falwell, who died at 73 in 2007.

Mark DeMoss with Jerry Falwell at 1992 Republican Convention in San Diego, California.

Falwell taught him how political organizing works, from the grassroots to the very top. He took him to meetings with President Ronald Reagan, whom the Moral Majority had helped elect, and President George H.W. Bush.

Among the most important lessons Falwell taught, DeMoss says, is that politics is the art of the possible.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who was more politically conservative than Falwell, but he became increasingly pragmatic,” DeMoss says, eating blueberries from a plastic cup in his hotel room. “He was more practical and open-minded than a lot of people saw.”

As he waged crusades against abortion and for prayer in schools, Falwell proudly linked arms with non-evangelicals. While others in the burgeoning Christian Right wanted to organize only among their own flocks, the Moral Majority chief pushed an idea called co-belligerency: people of different religious backgrounds setting aside theological differences to pursue common political goals.

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

“A lot of people forget this or didn’t know it to begin with, but the Moral Majority was a coalition of evangelicals, Catholics, Jews and Mormons,” DeMoss says. “It was not an evangelical organization.”

Mormons consider themselves to be Christians, but some evangelicals and other traditional Christians disagree. While Mormons treat the Bible as Scripture, they also consider the Book of Mormon to be a holy book

There are other big differences between Mormonism and traditional Christianity, including the Mormon belief that the modern prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can receive revelations from God. Traditional Christians believe that the period for such revelations is over.

But Falwell’s insistence on coalition building with Mormons and others stuck with DeMoss long after he left the Lynchburg in 1991 to start his own Christian PR firm in Atlanta.

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The firm, called the DeMoss Group, took Falwell as its first client and quickly added business from big Christian groups like Chuck Colson’s Prison Ministries, Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse and Christian Crusade for Christ.

More than 20 years later, those groups are still with DeMoss.

“What makes Mark different than a lot other guys in this business is that he’s independently wealthy,” says Graham, who notes that DeMoss’ wife, April, is also from a family that started an insurance company.

“I find him to shoot straight because he’s not trying to keep my business,” Graham says. “I think he’s more concerned with trying to be honest. He will bill you and then at the same time he’ll make a big contribution back to you.”

Mark DeMoss with the Rev. Franklin Graham, a client since 1991.

Though DeMoss has kept his work for Romney, which is unpaid, separate from the DeMoss Group, the relationships he built over decades through his PR work are key to selling Romney to evangelical leaders.

Graham had never met Romney before DeMoss arranged for 15 conservative Christian leaders to visit Romney’s Massachusetts home in 2007, when he was preparing to make his first run for president.

As the leaders took turns introducing themselves, many volunteered that they had traveled to Romney’s home mostly because DeMoss had asked them.

By the end of the meeting, Romney had made some new friends.

“Sometimes on TV someone can appear one way but when you meet them face to face you see the personal side of him,” says Graham, recalling the meeting. “After I met Governor Romney I liked him very much and even more l liked his wife and his marriage and his commitment to family.”

As for theological issues that interested some of the evangelicals, Graham says Romney “answered those questions extremely well.”

Since then, DeMoss has helped evangelical leaders not only become more comfortable with the idea of a Mormon in the White House but also with Romney’s evolving position on issues like gay marriage and abortion.

“He’s absolutely trusted as a pro-life person,” Land says of DeMoss. “When he says Governor Romney is pro-life, that means something. That helps.”

Land is among the many evangelical leaders who use DeMoss to relay concerns or advice to the governor.

“Mark’s a trusted negotiator,” says Land, who had dinner with Romney and DeMoss last year.

Though Romney’s 2008 campaign was unsuccessful, DeMoss counted it as a victory that no major evangelical figure came out against him over his faith, even if few publicly endorsed his campaign.

Four years later, there still aren’t many prominent evangelicals who’ve come out publicly for Romney.

And there are questions about where Romney stands with rank-and-file evangelicals. A recent Pew poll found that, while most white evangelicals support Romney, a quarter are uncomfortable with his religion. Just one in five in that group are strongly pro-Romney.

Ten weeks before Election Day, it’s not where a Republican nominee wants a key part of his base to be.

Visiting Salt Lake

DeMoss’ case for why evangelicals can enthusiastically support a Mormon candidate echo Falwell’s arguments about why evangelicals and Mormons should be political allies.

It goes like this: If evangelicals are OK with seeing a Mormon doctor or flying with a Mormon pilot, DeMoss reasons, shouldn’t they be OK with a Mormon president? We’re electing a commander-in-chief, not a pastor-in-chief, right?

Plus, fixing the national economy – the No.1 issue in this election – doesn’t really have anything to do with religion.

In fact, DeMoss was drawn to Romney because of the candidate’s unusual breadth of experience as a businessman, governor and Olympics Committee chief with dual degrees from Harvard.

“On a personal level and a spiritual level, I might care a great deal about what somebody believes doctrinally,” he tells NPR during a phone interview from his room at the Vinroy. “In the case of presidential election, I don’t care.”

After hanging up, DeMoss stays on that point: “I hope I’ve shifted a conversation about the religion of a candidate to one about the values of a candidate.”

DeMoss says that voting on the basis of a candidate’s faith is dangerous and inane. He notes that three of the most successful politicians from his own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, are all Democrats whom many evangelical loathe: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

Since January, DeMoss has spent about half his time making such arguments, stressing to clients that the work is not official firm business. Still, he suspects that some potential clients have skipped signing up with the DeMoss Group because its founder and president is pushing a Mormon candidate.

April, his wife, who’s checking her iPhone on the bed of DeMoss’ hotel room, says they’ve lost a few friends over Romney, too. But they’ve also made new Mormons friends, and have developed a deep appreciation for the Mormon faith.

On the van to the hotel to address the North Carolina delegation, Mark and April trade stories with their Mormon driver, a convention staffer, about their respective visits to Salt Lake City, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is headquartered.

Later, DeMoss talks about being turned off by the evangelical street preachers he’d seen on the street corners there, preaching to Mormons in town for the church’s annual general assembly. How could such evangelizers hope to convert anybody in the 30 or so seconds it takes to wait for the light to change?

For DeMoss, the episode represents a civility deficit when it comes to the evangelical treatment of Mormons. He sees his work with Romney partly as a corrective.

Whether DeMoss can help soften the evangelical line toward Mormons is an open question. So is whether he can get enough of his brethren to go a giant step further and vote for a Mormon for president.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Christianity • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (1,426 Responses)
  1. AvdBerg

    Are so-called evangelicals, members of the Mormon Church and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Christianity and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘False Apostles and False Christs’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as
    confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Mike

      Lets start with Joesph Smith life as a hustler before he found and the golden tablets. Then we'll talk about his wives.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation?? Everyone knows this dude "john the divine" crashed his camel in a field of burning poppies to get high enough to write that mess. My goodness, the things christians believe from 2000-year old spam.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  2. Justin

    Check out this hilarious original song about Mormons

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR4En09lKmI&w=640&h=360]

    September 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  3. ivan bial

    No two religious groups could be less similar
    Evangelical America and the Mormons(LDS)

    Evangelical America have rational beliefs compared with the LDS beliefs.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  4. Abinadi

    35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
    36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
    37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
    38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made. (Book of Mormon, Moroni, Chapter 7)

    September 11, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Whiteman

      Pure drivel.

      September 11, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Abinadi

      and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. (New Testament, John, Chapter 10)

      September 11, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  5. Da King

    The fact that he needs one is not good.

    September 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Amy Romney spiritual wife

      Amy Romney-Bishop Romney's spiritual wifeSun Sep 9 2012-34like dislike reply report The worse thing is Bishop Romney and his wife ability to brain wash so many of their supporters. For the record, Bishop Romney made me his "spiritual wife" decades ago when I was 14 years old and promised to marry me. Bishop Romney was our spiritual God, my God. Bishop Romney has lied to his supporters and I want to come forward to tell the world about Bishop Romney. Bishop Romney doesn't talk about the Mormon Religion because he is afraid that the American people will find out about the truth about the spiritual wives the Mormon men are allowed to have. I was not the only young girl that Bishop Romney had as his spiritual wife. He told me that when I turn 18 that the higher leader of the Mormon Church called the Spiritual Gods would seal our marriage. I trusted Bishop Romney because in the Mormon Church you do not question the spiritual God and Bishop Romney was one of our Spiritual God, we have many. When I got pregnant, I was kicked out of the Church. They told me that it was Satan
      reply ·report
      Amy Romney-Bishop Romney's spiritual wifeSun Sep 9 2012-31like dislike reply report Satan's baby and kicked me out of the Mormon Church. Told me that I was going to ***** This type of brain washing can be confirmed by many young girls, boys and unmarried women in the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church believes that there are many Gods and becoming a Bishop gives a man a better chance of being chosen as a spiritual God and is looked upon as God. Mormons do not worship the same God as the God in the Holy Bible. Bishop Romney is one of the many Mormon's Spiritual Gods. The American people will be his people and America is Bishop Romney planet. diana before you speak so highly about Bishop Romney know the facts, I will vote for him because I want eternal life with him
      reply ·report

      September 11, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Abinadi

      What absolute pure nonsense!

      September 11, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  6. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    The Almighty Dollar is more powerful than any god! That is the only way Jerry Falwell's Liberty U would be in kahoots with a Mormon. So funny to watch! Voters for sale here!

    September 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  7. Iqbal Khan

    We Are at War
    Exploiting 9/11 for the Benefit of a Few.

    By Johnny Barber

    Who benefits from the War on Terror and who benefits when America threatens war?
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32415.htm

    September 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  8. donner

    Go to YouTube and search "Banned Mormon Cartoon" to see what Romney really believes. If you can vote for Romney after watching this, America is doomed.

    September 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  9. Alger Dave

    Romney continues to show weak polling because of this evangelical 'gap' in his backing. We'll probably vote for him, but not likely put a sign in our yard! And I would disagree that a person's religion doesn't have anything to do with fixing the national economy. If someone is grounded in their faith, it should drive every decision they make. That's another issue evangelicals have with Romney – how has his faith influenced his decision making over the years? His flip flopping on issues like abortion, etc. have many of us nervous. We've considered RINOs before, and hope he isn't one of them. Santorum would have energized the base by now, Romney has not.

    September 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      Santorum would have had no chance at all to defeat Obama

      September 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  10. Byrd

    Mitt Romney's evangelist. Well, isn't that special. He wants to be president and run everyone else's life but he can't even manage his own faith by himself.

    Pleased to meet you. Hope you guessed my name.

    September 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      It is not his own faith he is trying to manage....he is using the evangelist as a bridge to the Christian conservatives

      September 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  11. lordkid7777

    GOD will never, i Repeat, never be happy with a Mormon in the office of President...He will Punished this Nation as never before if he is elected..GOD is dictating the progress of the economic because of you all sin nature...GOD is also punishing this Nation with disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, etc) because of you all sinful lifestyle...Trust me, if you all don't change your ways, things are only going to get worse..We true Christians Saints will JUDGE you all non believers at the end times. 1 CORINTHIANS 6:2 KJV...

    September 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      speaking for god, are ya......kid?

      September 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      lordkid: your empty proxy threats are laughable....now get back on your knees and beg your petty punk god for salvation

      September 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      lastly, kid, fvck you and fvck your judgement

      September 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Jim Tackes

      Run Forrest Run!!

      September 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Archangel Michael

      Sorry, but you have no authority to speak for God. He is perfectly able to speak for himself. Perhaps if you shut up long enough to hear what he has to say, you might find that he stills speaks to man. But if you would rather believe in a god who would leave his children adrift without direction and revelation, then feel free to worship that dead god...that is your right.

      September 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  12. agentxyz

    Gay subtext, just like Batman and the boy Robin

    September 9, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • agentxyz

      Romney has finally fallen in love

      September 9, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Is there anything that doesn't have a gay subtext to you? That only illustrates your focus.

      September 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  13. Caleb Boone

    Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

    This news story contains some breathtaking details, at least for me.

    I had no idea that money had so much influence on Franklin Graham.

    Or for that matter, that money had so much influence, also, apparently, on about fifteen other Christian leaders, and, I am sure, many more.

    Forget the Presidential election for a moment, and consider what this article describes.

    It describes men who are supposed to be Christian ministers, meeting wealthy people to talk about other very wealthy people and all their money.

    And it describes those same men laughing at or making fun of born-again Christians whom they consider tacky.

    Breathtaking.

    Have a Dovely.

    Sincerely yours,
    Caleb Boone.

    September 9, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  14. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    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, were 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.

    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.

    mama kindless

    September 9, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • lordkid7777

      I am going to judge you, and Hell will be your destination...

      September 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Erasmus

      I’m curious, is it best for our children to get the definition of right and wrong from Webster’s Dictionary? Or from parents who have studied Webster’s Dictionary diligently?

      September 10, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • sam stone

      lordkid has delusions of grandeur

      September 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  15. backlinks genie

    Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my web site thus i came to go back the desire?.I'm trying to to find issues to enhance my website!I assume its ok to make use of some of your ideas!!

    September 9, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  16. tuvia

    מלחמה בלתי נגמרת

    September 8, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  17. reMix

    The roads and schools in my town are crumbling. Sure would be nice to have some of that 20 billion dollars we give to Israel each year.

    September 7, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Joe

      It would also be nice to have all those trillions Obama sent to support the Muslim Brotherhood, tearing apart children (but we don't pay to do this to gerbils, it's a federal offense), poorly invested outsourcing of our "stimulus" money (some of that was reportedly laundered and routed back to his campaign fund) , millions spent for activists to malign religions (as you see here. They have been trained to do this to Mormons, Catholics, and Evangelicals).

      The way to imporve our lives is to get us all working instead of taking money from our children and throwing it out to get votes. I'm a Union employee, my Union is voting right now about accepting more cuts, higher health costs etc. We can't strike because the unemployment rate makes it so they can easily replace us. IF WE CAN WORK WE CAN BUY OUR OWN INSURANCE, security increases education, reduces abortions and crime etc.

      September 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      Why should they care, when they get the voted in anyway? Until voters get wise to the political scams and organized well enough to to be heard. Consider the "Jewish vote," it isn't large numerically but it is influential by influencing, in addition, the voting of other groups.

      September 8, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • sam stone

      Joe: Trillions to the Muslim Brotherhood? Gosh, are you delusional

      September 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Walk Among Us

      For real!!!

      September 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  18. tuvia

    B"H

    GOOD SHABBOS.

    SHALOM

    SHALOM, YOM TOV.
    TUVIA

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=360]

    September 7, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • old ben

      religious spammer. read about the red cow – what a nutcase.

      September 7, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  19. tuvia

    ************___________

    – MR. ROMNEY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
    LET MY PEOPLE GO LET JONATHAN POLLARD GO NOW ON HUMANITARIANISM.
    HE SERVED LONG ENOUGH
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyBZhTaf1oU&w=640&h=360]

    September 7, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Romney? President? What the hell type of crack are you smoking?
      Once again you're lucky this traitor isn't dead!!! Treason is a serious offense!

      September 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  20. lweba

    After Romney joined the presidential race, many of us who never knew the religion, Mormon, tried to find out what it was. I am black and the more I am reading the books on Mormonism I find it to be a religion not for me. What still mystifies me is when I am told that there are Blacks in this religion. My question is are LAMANITES accepted in the Mormon Church?

    September 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      No but pergola is

      September 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Joe

      THere are about half a million Black lds, there is a website called Black lds that will help you understand that you have been mislead in some ways. Anti-Mormons usually don't tell anyone that Most Mormons are probably dark skinned and that ancient Book of Mormon people would not have understood our modern racism issues. If there WERE any racism in the Book it would be a dark skinned superiority over whites.
      White Europeans are called “gentiles” in the Book of Mormon and dark skinned Book of Mormon scribes imply that these white Europeans would need extra repentance, partially due to their lack of charity, and perhaps because of their mistreatment of Native Americans. The Lehites, who wrote the Book of Mormon, were all dark skinned, and were one race. They couldn’t be racist against themselves. They couldn't tell the difference between a Lamanite or Nephite except by language and perhaps dress. If anyone is a chosen people in the Book of Mormon it is the dark skinned Native Americans who are descended from Lehi, Joseph, and his Egyptian wife.
      Book of Mormon and other ancient dark skinned writers did use ancient symbolic language when describing religiosity, (one of many mountains of evidences that it is an ancient book.) For example, the dark skinned Indians who wrote the Rig-Veda (about 1100BC) described themselves in terms similar to those used by Book of Mormon people. (See wiki “White Skins:” Anciently…“Religious conversion was described figuratively as a change in skin color. Similarly, the Rigveda uses krsna tvac "black skin" as a metaphor for irreligiosity.” “Assignment of positive and negative connotations of white and black date to the classical period…”

      The Book of Abraham teaches that Priesthood is to go to 'all" nations. Back in Abraham's day priesthood was only given to him and his descendants. It was not given to white European gentiles etc.

      September 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Charly StJames

      My dear Iweba please, just watch these programs created by an ex-mormon and all your questions will be answered: http://hotm.tv/all-episodes/
      Blessings!

      September 9, 2012 at 4:01 am |
    • Charly StJames

      And Joe, The book of abraham was concealed from the imagination of Joseph Smith. He used an Egyptian papyrus that he bought from a town to town seller of relics/antiques from Egypt tha casually came to the town he was residing in. The only little big problem (and the lie itself) was that the papyrus talked about on how to embalm a corpse. If you dig enough into the lds church library you'll find all the information about this and also you'll find out why the egyptologist (from BYU University in charge of the investigation of this papyrus) quit after find out the truth behind the so called traduction of the book of abraham made by Joseph Snith from that same papyrus. Good luck!

      September 9, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • Whiteman

      Joseph Smith was a bigoted, murderous, misogynistic, con man. Joe here is obviously one of his true believers. It’s easy to tell by his utterly ridiculous claims. Anyone who could believe such rubbish is dangerous.

      September 11, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Walk Among Us

      @ Joe,
      The book of Mormon is hardly ancient.

      September 11, 2012 at 12:06 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.