Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting
Mitt Romney meets Thursday with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham.
October 16th, 2012
02:53 PM ET

Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev.  Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham's mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

In a section of the website called Billy Graham's My Answer there had been the question "What is a cult?"

Answer: "A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith."

"Some of these groups are Jehovah's Witnesess, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spritualists, Scientologists, and others," the site continued.

No longer. On Tuesday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed that page has recently been removed from the site.

“Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Ken Barun, chief of staff for the association, told CNN in a statement. "We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."

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Romney is a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of which are known as Mormons.

The information about cults can be found on cached sections of the website on Archive.org from June 5, 2010.

The theological question of where Mormons fit on the religious spectrum has drawn more attention because of Romney's candidacy. Mormons consider themselves to be strong Christians. Many traditional Christian denominations disagree, though rank-and-file members have their own views on the matter.

The removal of the post from the Graham group's website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website and then later by the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that the information on cults was accessed as recently as Thursday afternoon.

Last week's meeting between Romney and Graham was their first.

After the 30 minute sit-down in Montreat, North Carolina, just outside Asheville, Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters that Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

The evangelist who has been called America's pastor and has prayed with every American president since Harry Truman said in a statement following the meeting that "It was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney — for his family and our country."

Graham met with President Barack Obama in 2010 and with Sen. John McCain when he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in 2008.

"I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads," Graham's statement continued. "I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms."

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When asked about Graham's beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that "Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations.

"Neither did Mr. Graham attempt to divide his audience before he had opportunity to preach to them. He has a genuine love for all people, and faithfully proclaimed the love of God to everyone, providing opportunity for them to respond by making a faith commitment.

"Mr. Graham’s calling is not to pass judgment, but to proclaim the biblical truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven, allowing every individual and group to fall along that plumb line," the statement went on.

"He further stressed that salvation is the work of Almighty God, and that only He knows what is in each human heart," the statement said.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, lists the LDS Church as a theological cult.  The Catholic Church also does not recognize Mormon baptisms as being theologically compatible with its own.

The LDS Church has long bristled at being called a cult.  Mormons note the many similarities and overlap between their teachings and that of other churches but point to their belief in other scriptures like the Book of Mormon as the reason they split with other churches.

In the 2012 campaign Romney has been generally quiet about his church, though his role as a lay church leader was prominently featured in the Republican National Convention, and his campaign has allowed members of the press pool accompanying Romney to film him attending services.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity

soundoff (4,065 Responses)
  1. wisdom4u2

    If they 'believe' they have Him...then they do.
    Acts 2:21 'And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

    October 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      that was in reply to 'lightcell7'

      October 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      hinduism absurdity of hindu lair Paul,

      October 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  2. McGuffin

    Well isn't that convenient... must be nice to have your beliefs contingent upon political expediency.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  3. skullmurphy


    October 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  4. Kay Petersen

    As an LDS (Mormon) missionary in Montevideo, Uruguay in the mid-1960's, I had the opportunity to stand within 20 feet of Dr. Graham as he gave a masterful sermon about Christ, his ministry and life. The stadium was packed, over 20,000 people in attendance. Although he spoke through a translator, his message was clear and powerful. Everyone came away uplifted and inspired, including myself. He is undoubtedly a man of God. His message made me a better person and missionary. It is no surprise to any Mormon that: "Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

    October 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • david esmay

      So what you're saying is, you were in Uruguay spreading lies and had the opportunity to see god's official honey wagon really spreading it.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  5. skullmurphy

    Talk about making a deal with the devil...........

    October 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  6. Ricky

    Billy looks like the anti-Christ.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • DJ

      What exactly does the anti-Christ look like to you?

      October 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • skullmurphy

      He also looks like Mr.Burns, Homer Simson's boss.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • david esmay

      @DJ, he look's like Mitt Romney to me.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  7. Me

    This is awful. Mr. Graham, you blew it. You're on par with a pastor that had an affair. VERY saddened by this. Who do you serve? You're either FOR Christ or AGAINST Him. You clearly are against Him. You're all talk. All your sermons and alter calls are now in vain. Christ will go on loving people but you gave yourself a massive black eye. Your ministry isn't trustworthy whatsoever.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

    Thanks be to God, billy Graham is not Jesus Christ. Follow me as I follow Christ. But if he stops following Christ, be wise and cease following him. Just keep your eyes on christ and continue following him.


    October 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Athy

      Why follow anybody? Can't you think for yourself?

      October 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @Athy ~~~~ Really? Seriously? 'Cause Jesus says so.... "I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing."

      October 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  9. DJ

    I'm sure Franklin is responsible for this. No way would Billy Graham get political. He loves everyone and would never take sides. Franklin will never be his father and shame on him for getting involved in politics. He must be protecting his fortune too!

    October 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  10. lightcell7

    The following of Christ was not made in America, have yall ever studied Ethiopians and why they are so close to Israel??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    October 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  11. mr.knowitall


    October 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  12. wisdom4u2

    I love Billy Graham. 'Well done, good and faithful servant!'

    October 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • david esmay

      Graham's nothing but a con man of the highest order.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      You need to let God be the Judge of Mr. Graham.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  13. STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Human there are more serious issues need to be debate, not Billy, Goat Willie, Graham, self-centered Satan, says Mor mon are now not cult, but still filthy goons, my mother was a hindu's pagans worshiping moron angles, but now a class one muslim hook'er, and messenger's of Allah, truth absolute as her husband's, my step-father, goon cross-dresser, having no power of his own, made her hook'er of Billy Graham's Mullahs, Have a look at history of Islam Graham, denial of truth absolute before spewing your Grahamism,, no ignorants please.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • david esmay

      Dude, get some meds.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • sparrow

      I am sure you spent a lot of time typing your opinion. It would be nice if you learned to spell so others could make out exactly what you are saying. All that time spent wasted, I could not understand half of what you said...............Maybe this is a good thing.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      This is not me, he is a hindu, impostor pretending to be me.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  14. lightcell7

    Can't wait till the real Christ is seen by those who think they have him.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  15. E.J. Germond

    Sad but true...The great Billy Graham caves into the cultist 1%er. Mormon doctrine teaches non-Biblical falsehoods, not the least of which is their contradiction of the scripture that says "no man can see God and live!". Shame on you, Billy.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  16. treblemaker

    As long as you can believe that the Messiah came to the New World and preached the Gospel of the Father to the peoples who lived here at one time before the European arrival, then the Mormon faith is but another branch on the tree of the Way. Thank God that the Rev. Graham finally understands that possibility. There is only ONE WAY back to the loving arms of the Father who created us all when it's time for our eternal spirit to return to him, and that Way is shown with unequivocal clarity by the Messiah. Any other way leads to a bitter end.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  17. Kuron

    I have been a Southern Baptist for over 40 years. I grew up with Billy Graham and had a great respect for the man, until today! He has actually let political expediency trump his Christian values. What a sad day it is!

    This would be like the apostle Paul politically supporting Cesar to receive a pardon and be set free while he was a prisoner in Rome.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Anonymous

      I COMPLETELY AGREE with you Kuron. I have lost tremendous respect for Billy Graham.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • McShannon

      So true! They both have said that they have never voted for a Democrat but this is throwing away everything they say they stood for. Mormons are now Christians really!

      October 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  18. mr.knowitall

    So as far as Billy Boys Cult is concerned they can flip flop as needed by the party. What kind of Christian Mullahs are these people, either stick with what you have been preaching or put a sock in it.....Organised Religon=organized crime......they will even betray their god to get elected....

    October 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  19. Praetorian

    I'm sure that Rmoney promised Billy a big fat donation in exchange for removing the reference.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      Aren't you glad he can deduct that?

      That's why we have deductions for charity, so you an buy political endorsements without paying for them. Right?

      October 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It's Franklin's next crusade that will benefit.

      Billy probably doesn't remember the meeting.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • david esmay

      Bingo, we have a winner. When two hucksters get together it's all about the money.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  20. bgg1175

    Would be nice if Muslims, Mormons, Christians and Jews stopped causing Wars and had the guts to get on a Battle field and just settle it and shut the HELL UP!
    If only we could exile all of them to Planet Kolob and let them fight it out and be done with their stupidity!
    And it would make a Great Pay Per View!!! We could give them weapons and stuff and have cameras everywhere and allow Bets!
    We could make them fight every year it would be the GOD BOWL! Lets make this happen!

    October 16, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • david esmay

      I'd pay for that.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.