The making of Mitt Romney: A look at his faith journey
After an invocation by a Latter-day Saint at the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney accepted the nomination.
October 27th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

The making of Mitt Romney: A look at his faith journey

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story ran last year, as part of a series about the faith lives of the leading Republican presidential candidates. With the exception of an August interview done by CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger for her documentary “Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power,”  which airs  Sunday, October 28, and Saturday, November 3, at 8 p.m. ET on CNN, all other interviews were conducted in the fall of 2011. CNN has also profiled President Obama’s faith life during his time in the White House.

 (CNN) – A cop arrived at the roadside wreckage of a June 1968 head-on collision in southern France, took one quick look at the Citroën’s unresponsive driver and scrawled into the young man’s American passport, “Il est mort” - “He is dead.”

The man at the Citroën’s wheel was Mitt Romney, who may have appeared dead but was very much alive – as is his hope to become the next president of the United States.

Romney was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the LDS Church, when tragedy struck. It was a time of turmoil both in France and in the United States. Protests against the Vietnam War raged on, as did French disdain for Americans. Robert Kennedy had recently been assassinated, as had Martin Luther King Jr. a couple months earlier. France was still reeling from a May marked by riots, student demonstrations and crippling worker strikes.

There were six people in the car Romney was driving when friends say an oncoming speeding Mercedes, driven by a Catholic priest, veered into his lane. Among the passengers was mission president Duane Anderson – Romney was serving as his assistant – and Anderson’s wife. Anderson was injured, and Leola Anderson, 57, was killed. Like her husband, she’d been a parent figure to the approximate 180 Mormon missionaries in the field - their surrogate mother away from home. Now, she was gone.

“I don’t think [Romney] went around blaming himself, but in talking about it he’d shed some tears,” remembered Dane McBride, a fellow missionary and Romney friend ever since. “It was a very heavy experience for a 21-year-old.”

The mission president left France for six weeks to bury his wife and heal. A gloom spread over the mission field. Conversions in the country dropped, along with Latter-day Saint spirits.

These young men and women, who were already deep in a trying spiritual rite of passage, had to grow up and prove themselves in new ways.

In spite of his grief and a broken arm, Romney and a missionary companion – they always work in pairs – took charge. They traveled around the country visiting the others. Romney lifted up deflated missionaries with silly made-up songs. He taught them to visualize all they could accomplish and challenged them to raise their expectations, McBride said.

Romney increased the conversion goal for the year by 40%, believing France’s  Mormon missionaries could and would recharge. In the end they surpassed Romney’s goal of baptizing 200 new members into the church.

It wasn’t such a stretch, though, for Romney to distinguish himself. Throughout his life, he’s been rooted in a faith that – whether he talks about it or not – helped shape the man who would president.

‘An American running for president’

Romney hopes the nation is ready to embrace a president who happens to be Mormon.

But he has faced questions about his faith since first getting into politics in 1994, when he ran for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts against Democratic stalwart Ted Kennedy. When Kennedy’s nephew, Joe, attacked Romney’s Mormonism, the insult drew a strong public response from Romney’s father – a former governor of Michigan who’d himself run for president - and failed to gain traction.

Since then Romney, who was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2003, has played down his faith on the campaign trail. But he did  address it in a December 2007 speech, hoping to stem voter concerns about his religion and how it might influence him as a president. It was a speech he likened to John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 address, when Kennedy was running to be America’s first Catholic president.

“Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president,” Romney said. “Like him, I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.”

“No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith,” Romney said, declaring that if he was  elected president, he would “serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest.”

“A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States,” he said. “I believe in my Mormon faith, and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs. Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it.”

Whether Romney’s confession of faith helped sink him is a subject of debate. He hoped to deflect the focus on his religion while not speaking to Mormon doctrine or specific beliefs. In the whole speech, he mentioned the word Mormon only once.

This time around, Romney decided to forego a speech on his faith, but that doesn’t mean he was immune to pesky background noise about it. After introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry at a Values Voter Summit last fall, Pastor Robert Jeffress said Republicans shouldn’t vote for Romney because Mormonism is a “cult.” 

And only after a sit-down meeting earlier this month with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham, did the cult reference to Mormonism get scrubbed from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s website.

It’s hard to know how much Romney’s faith matters to the public, but recent polls suggest that at least to the majority of voters, it makes little or no difference.

A survey released in late July by the Pew Research Center showed that 60% of voters knew that he was Mormon, and of those who knew 8-out-of-10 were either comfortable with his faith or didn’t really care.

Another survey by Pew showed that only 16% of voters wished they knew more about Romney’s religious beliefs. Far more hungered for further details about his tax returns and his records as governor and at Bain Capital.

But in a tight election, if even a small minority of Americans withhold their votes from Romney because of his religion, it could cost him the White House.

For months, Romney’s campaign made it clear that it didn’t want to discuss his beliefs. Repeated attempts last fall to speak with the candidate, his wife, his children, his siblings - and, really, just anyone – about Romney’s faith journey were denied by campaign headquarters.

Even the reins it had on those outside the inner circle appeared tight. A local LDS Church leader in Michigan, contacted in hopes of finding childhood friends, forwarded CNN’s inquiry to campaign headquarters - prompting yet another slap down.

“What makes no sense to me is how you continue to push forward in writing about Gov. Romney’s faith journey when we’ve made it clear in every way possible that this is not a story we want to participate in,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote in an email.

But Romney has been somewhat more open about his religion since then. He and his wife, Ann, sat down separately with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger for her documentary, “Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power,” which first aired just before the Republican National Convention.

In the documentary, Romney shared how his mission in France fortified his faith and how church leadership roles in Boston would later strengthen his beliefs further.

He invited reporters to attend church with him in August, allowing the unremarkable typical Sunday service to speak for itself. People who’ve known him through the LDS Church took center stage at the convention, speaking to his character.

In August, Romney invited members of the press to join him for Sunday LDS Church services.

But Romney generally moved through the campaign guarding details about his Mormonism. He spoke about religion in broad strokes. He continued to avoid details and doctrine.

Explain it to me: Mormonism | Video: Mormonism defined

During a May commencement address at Liberty University, the Christian school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, he didn’t utter the M-word. Under the watchful eyes of millions as he accepted the Republican nomination for president in August, he said it once.

Growing up while abroad

The 19-year-old Mitt Romney who showed up for missionary training was different than the rest.

“Mitt stood out from everyone else,” said Byron Hansen, who flew with Romney to France in July 1966. “He already spoke French pretty darn good, while the rest of us knew ‘bonjour’ and ‘au revoir.’ He immediately jumped out as a leader.”

Romney, like many of the other young men called by church leaders to serve, had finished a year of college before he got his missionary calling. But he’d gone to prestigious Stanford University and came from a privileged and powerful background.

He was worldly, not intimidated, and he was eager to interact with people of different backgrounds, said Hansen, who owns a car dealership in Brigham City, Utah. “All the rest of us from no-name Utah had never been more than 500 miles away from home.”

Despite the comforts he’d known growing up, Romney wasn’t spoiled. Some apartments that housed missionaries around France lacked heat and water, but had plenty of fleas. Those sorts of conditions likely made Romney appreciate all the more the luxuries of the mission home, located in the ritziest part of Paris, where he worked and lived during the latter part of his two-and-a-half year mission. He and the others there were fed by a Spanish cook and enjoyed the benefits of maids.

What’s more, said fellow missionary and friend Dane McBride, the young men learned what time of day to peer through windows to watch Brigitte Bardot walk her poodles.

The scenery aside, “it was the nicest office I ever worked in,” said McBride, now an allergist and immunologist in Roanoke, Virginia.

Throughout his mission, Romney was the first to get out of bed each morning, forever focused on his goals and the lessons he’d teach, and he stayed gung-ho even when others faltered, Hansen said.

Romney didn’t shy away from approaching anyone. On Saturdays, a free day for missionaries, he’d be done with his laundry by 9 a.m. and coaxing everyone else out the door for bike rides in the mountains, tours in new places or football games.

“He was never one to sit around,” Hansen said. “You had to run to keep up with Mitt.”

He was both pragmatic and creative when it came to sharing Mormon teachings, McBride said.

“Neither of us cared for knocking on doors much,” said McBride, referring to the typical tact for Mormon proselytizing. “But we did it. We did it a lot.”

However, Romney was a big proponent of what McBride called “creative contacting.” In lieu of going door-to-door, he preferred to encourage conversations by building sidewalk kiosks or inviting French locals to play baseball or attend evening parties with American themes – complete with Western wear and guitar strumming.

Being a missionary in largely secular France deepened Romney’s faith because it forced him to wrestle with challenges, steep himself in study and prayer and face plenty of rejection, McBride said. Like others, Romney was no stranger to doors being slammed in his face or getting his behind kicked while heading down apartment stairwells.

“When you’re off in a foreign place and you only talk to your parents once or twice a year by phone – that’s all that’s allowed – and you’re out speaking to people day in and day out about your faith and your religion and differences between your faith and other faiths…you say, ‘OK, what’s important here? What do I believe? What’s truth? Is there a God? Is Jesus Christ the son of God?’” Romney said to Borger in August.

“These questions are no longer academic. They’re critical because you’re talking about that day in and day out. And so I read the Scripture with much more interest and concern and sought to draw closer to God through my own prayer,” he said. “And these things drew me closer to the eternal and convinced me that in fact there is a God. Jesus Christ is the son of God and my savior, and these are things that continue to be important in my life, of course.”

Religious roots that run deep and strong

The groundwork for Romney’s faith journey was laid long before he put on a suit and, armed with his Book of Mormon, boarded a flight for France.

He comes from a long line of Latter-day Saints. Those who like to highlight what makes him different might point to how one of his great-grandfathers fled to Mexico, about 125 years ago, amid U.S. government crackdowns on what Mormons refer to as “plural marriage.” But many multigenerational Mormon families have polygamists in their family tree.

Plural marriage was introduced by church founder Joseph Smith but was officially banned by the church in 1890. Some 38,000 people aligned with fundamentalist offshoots of the LDS Church still practice polygamy, but they are a far cry and completely separate from the 14 million worldwide members in Romney’s church.

Romney’s late father, George Romney, was from modest means. He was born in Mexico to monogamous U.S.-born parents and left during the Mexican Revolution when he was 5. He went on to be CEO and chairman of the now-defunct American Motors Corporation, governor of Michigan and a presidential candidate in 1968.

Mitt Romney with his father, George Romney, who made his own mark as a leader in business, the LDS Church and politics.

Growing up Mormon in Michigan made Mitt Romney a member of a distinct minority. There were fewer than 8,000 Mormons in the state in 1945, two years before he was born, according to the LDS Church. It’s been reported that he was the only Mormon in his high school. While Mormon students in Utah could simply stroll across the street from school to attend early morning seminary before the first bell, longtime friend McBride said Romney didn’t have that easy, built-in outlet to strengthen his faith amid peers.

“Neither of us had benefited from that,” said McBride, who also grew up as a Mormon minority, in Iowa and North Carolina. “We had been called on in school to defend our faith many times. … I remember from fifth grade on needing to defend my religion.”

But Romney, in his Republican nomination acceptance speech, shared a different take on growing up in the Mormon minority: “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.”

Romney’s family, though, was active in the church. In 1952, his father was named Michigan’s first stake president. A stake is comparable to a diocese and has under its umbrella multiple “wards” or congregations, much as a diocese consists of parishes.

The LDS Church does not rely on professional clergy. Instead, church members are called to serve as volunteer leaders while holding down paid jobs. Church leaders rely on other volunteers as advisers. For instance, a ward bishop has two counselors, while a stake president confers with a high council of 12.

Being Michigan’s sole stake president meant Romney’s father – in addition to his full-time corporate work – oversaw ward operations, was the spiritual guide for the Latter-day Saint community and relayed messages from church headquarters in Salt Lake City.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Like many practicing Mormons, the Romneys enjoyed “family home evening” every Monday, a time reserved to pray, study and sing together, McBride said.

Romney has spoken publicly about how his parents took him and his three siblings on mobile American history lessons, McBride said, loading up the family Rambler for cross-country tours to national parks, with stops at places like Mount Rushmore, Valley Forge and Williamsburg.

But McBride said the family also likely visited LDS historical sites, including points along the path westward traveled by Mormon pioneers who followed the call of Joseph Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, and trekked through treacherous conditions to arrive in 1847 in what is now Utah.

While Romney’s parents made sure their children were deeply connected to their country and their faith, Romney didn’t reside in a Mormon bubble. He was part of a bigger and more diverse world.

Ann Davies, the woman he fell for and now calls his wife, was Episcopalian when he met her during high school, and he knew she was the one for him.

After he left for college and then his mission, she began studying Mormonism, attended church with Romney’s parents and converted. Romney returned from France and proposed to her immediately. After a civil ceremony in Michigan, the two were married and “sealed” for eternity in 1969 during a sacred ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple.

The couple returned to college and began a family at church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, before moving to Boston, where Romney earned law and business degrees at Harvard.

Serving his LDS community

Romney rose in local church leadership while making his corporate mark. Along the way he applied many of the skills he’d displayed earlier, including his knack as a young missionary for turning challenges into possibilities.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, he served as a ward bishop – or part-time pastor – and stake president for the Boston area.

Romney delivered sermons, counseled couples, and made middle-of-the-night hospital runs. He monitored budgets, weighed welfare needs of immigrants and others, and drove outreach to different faith communities. He showed up at the homes of Latter-day Saints in need of help, taking on tasks such as removing bees’ nests.

“There’s… no one who is full-time with the church to care for the sick and visit the poor,” Romney told Borger. “And so the church comes and says, ‘We’d like you to do that, Mitt.’ … Talk about a growing-up experience and a learning experience.”

Philip Barlow, a professor of Mormon history and culture and the director of the religious studies program at Utah State University, served as a one of two counselors to Bishop Romney in the early 1980s.

Each Saturday, the counselors would meet with Romney in his home in Belmont, a suburb northwest of Boston. And while the work was serious, it didn’t mean Romney always was. Barlow recalled the time Romney busted out with a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and did a formidable moonwalk across the floor.

“The media is always reporting that he can come across as too polished,” Barlow said. “But there’s a real person there.”

Romney also was the kind of leader who built bridges with those suspicious of Mormons. When a chapel under construction in Belmont burned to the ground amid ongoing anti-Mormon sentiment, he turned the perceived arson attack into opportunity.

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

“It was an inspired move,” said Grant Bennett, who at one time served as a counselor to Romney when he was a bishop and later served on the Boston stake’s high council under Romney when he was president.

Non-Mormon houses of worship offered their buildings to accommodate the needs of the displaced Latter-day Saints during the chapel’s reconstruction. While it would have been easier to pick one place to call a temporary home for services, classes and meetings, Romney accepted every viable offer he received – thereby forcing a rotation of interaction with different faith communities.

Experiencing the kindness of strangers offered relief to Mormons who had been feeling “a little under siege,” said Bennett, who first got to know Romney through church in 1978 and worked with him for five years at Bain & Company, the global consulting firm that Romney eventually led as CEO.

“In a religious context, Mormons are very good at serving each other and are often hesitant to accept help,” he said. “I think Mitt had the fundamental insight … that we’d be better off and [the other churches would] be blessed by helping us.”

It was the sort of decision perhaps born of being in the minority in Michigan and learning early to honor religious pluralism, said Bennett, now president and CEO of CPS Technologies, a high-tech manufacturing firm in the Boston area.

On the campaign trail and with media, Romney has tried to focus on matters other than faith.

In his religious roles, Romney had to delegate and call others to serve. Sometimes he believed in people more than they believed in themselves.

Andy Anderson, a retired researcher and writer in Kaysville, Utah, first got to know Romney amid tragedy. It was Anderson’s mother who was killed in the 1968 car wreck in France, and when his father returned to Paris, Anderson, his wife and children went along.

When Romney later moved to Anderson’s neighborhood in Massachusetts, Anderson said he helped Romney and his family settle in.

In 1989, Anderson said he was minding his own research business when Romney, then the Boston stake president, called him for a meeting. A group of new converts Anderson described as “Cambodian boat people” – united formally as a “branch,” which is smaller and less developed than a ward - had suddenly lost its president without warning.

In shock, he listened as Romney said, “Guess who’s the next branch president?”

Anderson said he’d been raised to accept church callings. But between the language barrier with the Cambodians, the cultural differences, the poverty and the responsibility, this one seemed too much. He begged and pleaded with Romney. He told him he was unqualified, that he’d “never been president of anything.” He said, “It sounds like a really bad fit, Mitt.” But Romney wasn’t swayed.

“Andy, you know where this comes from,” Romney answered, referring to the Mormon belief that God can reveal truths to individuals. “It’s not me. You go talk to Him and tell me when you’re ready.”

For the next three years Anderson said he oversaw the poorest people in the Boston stake. The overwhelming task “nearly killed me,” he said. But along the way he not only fell in love with the community, he learned to believe in himself and see that he could be a leader.

“I count Mitt as a friend, and it has been a real pleasure to work under him,” he said. “If he was a real pain to work for, I’d know it. I’ve worked for people in the church I couldn’t stand.”

Women’s view of Romney

The Romney reviews from Latter-day Saint women in the Boston area were more mixed.

In the early 1970s, as the feminist movement gained steam, a group of Mormon women began gathering in Cambridge to explore the history of women in their church. They were looking for role models, stories that would inspire them.

With the help of LDS Church historians, they learned about their female ancestors and wrote a book, “Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah.” They discovered that a women’s newspaper, Women’s Exponent, was published in the late-19th and early-20th centuries and featured women’s writings that Judy Dushku described as “very feminist in their views.”

“We were reading about women we’d never heard of before,” said Dushku, a Suffolk University professor of government with an interest in gender and comparative politics. She and other “founding mothers” were moved to start a new publication, now a quarterly magazine: Exponent II.

That decision, however, was not received well by the LDS Church, Dushku said. She said the fact that it was independent and had no stamp of approval from church higher-ups, all of them men, rubbed some - including Romney - the wrong way.

Dushku said Romney encouraged friends to tell their wives not to participate. He made it clear he didn’t want the women behind the publication holding meetings on church property. Dushku and the others suspected it was under his direction that copies of the magazine displayed in congregations got dumped in wastebaskets.

The LDS Church is patriarchal in nature. Only men can serve as bishops, stake presidents and in higher leadership roles, including the combined post of church president and prophet. Only men are welcome in the priesthood, which in Mormon circles means having the authority, for example, to perform baptisms and offer sacramental blessings.

Dushku decided she could live with this and remains a faithful Mormon. She said she and the others simply wanted an outlet for women to discuss issues unique to them. And while what they created may have seemed “radical” back then, she says there are Mormon women bloggers today who push boundaries much more than Exponent II ever did.

What got to Dushku about Romney was less his reaction to the magazine and more how she saw him treat women he was in a position to comfort and support as a local church leader.

Dushku has told the story of a woman, a mother of four, who was pressured by then-Bishop Romney to go forward with a pregnancy despite advice from doctors that a medical complication made it too dangerous.

She also recalled the story of a meeting between Romney and a woman whose ex-husband had been excommunicated from the church because of numerous affairs he’d had while serving as a bishop.

The woman asked Dushku to accompany her to the meeting, where Romney encouraged the woman to forgive her philandering ex so he could be re-baptized into the church and marry another woman.

The problem, Dushku said, is that the husband had never bothered to apologize to the wife he’d hurt, a fact she said Romney didn’t seem to care much about.

When she began speaking out to media, Dushku said she was flooded with responses from Facebook friends. Most of the reactions were positive, thanking her for her courage.

But some friends suggested she back off.

“How can you blame someone who has so many responsibilities?” one friend wrote. “He was young,” said another. “People change.”

Dushku said she affords Romney the possibility he may have changed, that he might handle such situations differently today.

“But compassion is a character quality,” she said. “I doubt he’s much different now.”

Her take on Romney, though, doesn’t jibe with that of Helen Claire Sievers, executive director of Harvard’s WorldTeach program, which brings volunteer teachers to developing countries.

Sievers, who’s been involved with Exponent II on and off since its inception, was the Boston stake activity director when Romney was stake president. She recalled being at a meeting in Dushku’s house in Watertown, outside of Boston, when women began wondering aloud about how their local church might better empower women.

“Often leadership in the Mormon church tends to pull far to the right, to out-orthodox the orthodox,” said Sievers, who later proposed to Romney that he should meet with the Boston LDS women to hear their frustrations and suggestions. Romney was willing to have such a meeting, even though it bucked the comfort level of church headquarters.

“I was really impressed that Mitt felt strongly that even if he could get in trouble with the hierarchy, he really wanted to hear what the women that were under his stewardship had to say so that they would feel as comfortable as possible in church,” Sievers said.

As a result of the meeting, which drew more than 150 participants, Sievers said adjustments were made, including allowing women to say opening prayers at church meetings. Romney didn’t have the power to change church doctrine, but Sievers said he could and did bend the norm to make women feel heard and more respected.

“Many Mormon men wouldn’t make that choice,” she said.

Serving outside the stake and ward

In his fulltime work life, Romney showed that his commitment to serving others extended beyond those in his ward or stake. His religious values came through in business decisions – sometimes trumping opportunities for financial gain.

Robert Gay, who was once a managing partner at Bain Capital, the venture capital firm Romney founded, recalled how Romney refused to put investment dollars into a deal with Artisan Entertainment because he didn’t want to profit from R-rated films.

But of greater note to Gay - who once served on the Boston stake’s high council with Romney - was something Romney did for him in 1996.

After Gay’s 14-year-old daughter went missing for three days in New York, Romney shut down Bain Capital in Boston and flew about 50 employees to New York to help find her.

The girl, who lived with her family in Connecticut, disappeared after going to a concert in Manhattan. Romney and the other Bain Capital executives put their “$1 billion investment firm” on hold, created a “war room” at a hotel, paid to print 200,000 fliers, set up a toll free hotline number and enlisted the help of a private investigator, the Boston Globe reported at the time.

They canvassed streets and talked to runaways. The girl was found in a New Jersey home, “dazed from a disorienting dose of a drug,” the Globe reported.

It’s not a story Gay likes to retell, though he did record a video testimonial for a campaign ad about it during Romney’s 2008 presidential bid and the story resurfaced in ads this election season, too. But Gay would rather offer other insights, including the time another Bain Capital partner suddenly fell very ill and was hospitalized. Romney was the first person to show up for a visit at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Gay managed an equity fund with Jon Huntsman Sr., father of another former GOP Mormon presidential, but is now serving the LDS Church. Gay called Romney “a devout Christian,” someone who has always been committed to “leading a good and purposeful life.”

Whether Romney’s next purpose will have him sitting in America’s highest political office is now up to voters.

And when they cast their ballots on November 6, friends like McBride said where Romney prays on Sundays should make no difference.

“The issues of his church are not the issues of this country,” he said. “Those are personal issues.”

soundoff (1,152 Responses)
  1. BJ

    It saddens me deeply that Americans harbor so much hate towards skin color. Why? Please, Americans who grew up in a Godly home or environment go to your bible. Go right now because many of you are closing your eyes to the facts that are right in front of you. Open your eyes using your mind. Open your ears to hear the truth and pray to God asking him to reveal the truth to you so you may choose the correct person to run your country. Let's go to the bible...The GOSPEL OF MARK, depicting Jesus as innocent of plotting against the ROMAN EMPIRE, portrays Pilate as reluctant to execute Jesus. In the GOSPEL of LUKE, Pilate not only agrees that Jesus did not conspire against Rome, but Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee, also finds nothing treasonable in Jesus' actions. Look over in the GOSPEL of JOHN, Pilate states "I find no guilt in him [Jesus]" and ask the Jews if Jesus should be released from custody. Okay let's view the biblical truth [facts]. Pilate brought out Barabbas, identified by Matthew as a "notorious prisoner: and by Mark as a murderer, and told the crowd to choose between releasing Barabbas or Jesus as per the custom, in the hopes of getting them to request the release of Jesus. However, the crowd demanded the RELEASE OF BARABBAS and said of JESUS, "CRUCIFY HIM!" In Matthew, Pilate responds, "Why? What evil has he done?" The crowd continued shouting, "Crucify him!"
    There it is laid out to you in the bible, all you have to do is pick it up and read. If you are a godly person you will see the parallels in the two Presidential Candidates.
    More truth [facts] Here are some Mormons teachings and beliefs according to John Taylor (Mormonism' 3rd President). [Journal of Discourses 6:25] "What! Are Christians, ignorant? as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast."
    "What does the Christians world know about God? Nothing...Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they know neither God nor the things of God" [Journal of Discourses 13:225]
    "We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense...the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century" [Journal of Discourses 6:167]. Voters why are you ignoring who you are voting for and what they represent to you and your country. More [facts] Latter-day Saints believe that God is the father of sprits (Hebrews 12:9). These spirits include all humans, as well as angels, demons (including Satan), and Jesus Christ. In this sense, we are all brothers and sisters to each other. We are all brothers ans sisters to Christ, as well as to Satan. Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers (in the exact same sense) that all men and women are siblings to Satan. SAYING JESUS IS THE BROTHER OF SATAN THUS SERVES AS A SHORT-HAND CODE FOR COMMUNICATING "MORMONS AREN'T CHRISTIANS." Jesus is born to Mary and Joseph. Angels of which Satan was is God's creation. Lucifer, the devil was the highest of angels, but he somehow through wickedness attempted to put himself of the same level of god. He was thrown out of heaven and banished to hell. In the meantime the Bible tells us he goes to and fro (continuously) seeking whomever he may devour. The hand writing is not on the walls it is in your face written in the Bible and written in the Mormons journals. All you have to do is read it for yourself, and then ask the BIG questions. Jesus was sent to help us all, not just you or me but the poor, crazy, yellow man, rich man, sick man, hungry man, and no one is to be omitted. God does not have favorites; and what he will do for you he will surely do the exact same thing for me too. Jesus represents truth, goodness, fairness, righteousness and he alone is the only son of God. Mormon party (Tea Party) has been demonstrating how wicked they are, by lying, stealing votes, slandering people, distorting facts, causing harm to innocent people, using people for their personal gain, ignore certain groups of people, helping rich people only, taking jobs from poor and middle class people, making up terrible lies to scare you against the president. They disrespect your President as they did Jesus Christ. They ignore that they are rich because of the labor of poor people. SO WHY DO YOU NEED TO BE TOLD WHO THE CHOICE SHOULD BE. What do you think your answer will be on judgment day when asked why did you choose to vote for the DEVIL WHO CAME TO YOU IN WHITE SKIN? Finally, remember god forgives us for our ignorance (not knowing), but once we know his words, there will be no forgiving. You cannot stand before God and say (I thought this is what you wanted me to do, for that would be an even bigger lie). The Bible is our roadmap to the way God (Jesus Christ) would have us live. Are you in the group that says there is no GOD? Well know that God granted man free will…..meaning to think and choose and believe as he so desire. You will reap what you sow (do).

    October 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      "You will reap what you sow (do)."

      BJ: You DO realize that it is impossible for a person to fear retaliation from a being in which they do not believe, don't you?

      October 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  2. lpdaily

    A Vote for Romney is vote for Satan!


    October 30, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Leifs

      you are the kind of person that would have voted for Caiaphas in the New Testament just because he was of your faith – forget the fact that he was an instrumental in promoting the death of Christ – rather than voting for a person that is not of your faith but would promote your free exercise of it. You are a good example of why the Lord often used a Samaritan as the hero of his parables. There were many Samaritans that were more pleasing in the eyes of God than those that were already among the faith.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  3. Abinadi

    Numerous smiling people, an honor code and many public displays of affection were the last things Richard Quest, a correspondent for CNN International, expected to find during his visit to Provo. But people all over the town, and specifically on Brigham Young University's campus, delivered with these unexpected experiences and more.

    "The campus of BYU is a world apart form my experience; new buildings, manicured lawns. ... And a student body that frankly looks nothing like the student ragamuffins of my own university days," Quest wrote in an International CNN article. "Meeting staff and students, I felt the differences almost immediately."


    October 30, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  4. GOD

    Romney is Satan's messenger, he used to be a janitor for ol Lucifer but recently got a promotion.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  5. donner

    Do you get the feeling that maybe we need to invade Utah and restore democracy??

    October 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  6. Mitt Romney

    The caption that I originally requested for my picture at the beginning of this article:

    I pledge allegiance to the Mormon Church and I promise to hand over the free people of America to the Grand Prophet of the LDS church as soon as I can so that they may all be forced to convert and begin to do temple rituals like baptism, endowments and marriages for all the dead people that have ever lived, because dead people are the most important people to us in the mormon church! We worship the dead!

    October 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  7. Rummy Pirate Times

    Bain closed GST Steel plant in 2001 laying off 750 workers.

    October 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  8. Rummy Pirate Times

    Southern Illinois:

    Controlling share owner Bain Capital closes BRP plant so the 340 jobs there could be outsourced to Mexico.

    October 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  9. Rummy Pirate Times

    In 1994, Bain invested $27 million as part of a deal with other firms to acquire Dade International, a medical-diagnostics-equipment firm, from its parent company, Baxter International. Bain ultimately made nearly 10 times its money, getting back $230 million. But Dade wound up laying off more than 1,600 people and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, amid crushing debt and rising interest rates. The company, with Bain in charge, had borrowed heavily to do acquisitions, accumulating $1.6 billion in debt by 2000. The company cut benefits for some workers at the acquired firms and laid off others. When it merged with Behring Diagnostics, a German company, Dade shut down three U.S. plants. At the same time, Dade paid out $421 million to Bain Capital’s investors and investing partners.

    October 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  10. Rummy Pirate Times

    For 15 years, Romney had been in the business of creative destruction and wealth creation. But what about his claims of job creation? Though Bain Capital surely helped expand some companies that had created jobs, the layoffs and closures at other firms would lead Romney’s political opponents to say that he had amassed a fortune in part by putting people out of work. The lucrative deals that made Romney wealthy could exact a cost. Maximizing financial return to investors could mean slashing jobs, closing plants, and moving production overseas. It could also mean clashing with union workers, serving on the board of a company that ran afoul of federal laws, and loading up already struggling companies with debt.

    October 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Romnesia


      October 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  11. Rummy Pirate Times

    Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals, said the discussion at buyout companies typically does not focus on whether jobs will be created. “It’s the opposite—what jobs we can cut,” Wolpow said. “Because you had to document how you were going to create value. Eliminating redundancy, or the elimination of people, is a very valid way."

    October 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  12. Reality

    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 BO and his family)(As do 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.

    Some added references to "tink-erbells".


    "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
    Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

    "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

    And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

    "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

    "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

    "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

    For added information see the review at:


    October 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  13. JoeEverest

    I wonder if he sees god in that picture, i think its more dollar signs that's his real god

    October 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  14. Lord Golob from Kolob

    Our boy Mittens Rmoney needs to up his game and fool more gullible Christians into voting for him if we weary travellers from Kolob are to get our interplanetary travel comfort station on Earth and not soil our Magic Underwear on our way to our holidays in sunny Venus.

    But if he succeeds you earthlings should get ready to give us your new Kolob overlords a welcome and get to work on your Magic Underwear laundromats.

    October 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  15. Atheist Hunter

    Romney is a nut

    October 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  16. Austin Denault

    Romney is only going to make things better than Obama ever could.

    October 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, right.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Joe

      Yeah, he'll move all the jobs overseas.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Romnesia

      Check this out to see his priiorities:
      And we still haven't seen his tax returns pre-UBS amnesty.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Joe

      Oh and don't forget Mitt want's to do away with FEMA and move the costs of recovery from natural disasters to the states and people of American. That means the 35 billion dollars in estimated damage Sandy could cause would fall on the states that are affected and the people that live there if Mitt gets his way. This would mean state gov't will have to cut costs even more in their local budgets.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      better for himself you mean

      October 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Savoy

      any religion that exclude people because of color I dont trust because It means you dont care about me. It would be the same thing if the religion said anyone with blonde hair and blue eyes is not allowed in the church because you have been cursed as the people not good enough to dwell among the brown people with brown eyes. Its wrong!!!!

      October 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • lowellthomson

      Really? Which policy initiatives in particular do you think will make America better?

      October 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  17. me

    to the ones who dont believe in God,ummm lol,you will be the first ones knocking down the church doors to get in soon enough,read the bible and you will see that it is true,the things that the bible says will happen are going on right now,for the peeps who say the people in the bible never existed,read the middle east history,the people are not only in the bible but in the history of the people who dont agree with the bible or christian beliefs....the sad part about this election is we dont have a good choice from either party,i dont like who i voted for last election,obama has failed and i dont like mitt.....this country has fallen apart for a while now,and the reason is ,we left God and our founding beliefs,if you dont believe that,look at our istory and the rest of the worlds history that left God or never had God.we are in a bad situation here and the only way of turning it around is by turning to God.....and we better do it quick....

    October 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "read the bible and you will see that it is true"

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Athy

      Holy cow, me. Did you ever hear of a sentence? You know, a sequence of words with a period that eventually ends so a new sequence can start. You sound like a grade schooler.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      proven fact the lower a persons intelligence the more likely they are to believe in deity.

      I will explain since you don't seem like the brightest light on the tree. dumb = religion smart = no magic

      October 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • bob

      ME are you a troll ? or do you really believe you BS ? also do you do this alone or is posting propaganda part of your cult's way ?

      October 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • NickZadick

      @me .... believing in god... and believing in your ridiculous big book of fairy tales (bible) is not the same thing at ALL!!! God created the universe or is the universe... the bible was written by men who wanted to control you! and so far it's still working even after 2000 years of common sense that has been ignored...

      October 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  18. Erik

    ""Crafting Gay Children" is also a good one."

    Being gay is not a choice science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

    All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

    Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

    In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

    The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

    On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

    Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

    But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

    This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

    The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

    Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

    Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

    Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

    October 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • lowellthomson

      Right on Erik! Great explanation!

      Wouldn't you agree, however, that when you look at the obvious correlation between results of different types of religious ceremony - as observed in "neurotheology" studies of blood flow through the brain - the only conclusion is that they're all a byproduct of the human mind? If they all produce the same measurable effects in the brain (many of which, such as posterior parietal lobe activity, can also produce delusion) they can't all be right. Stands to reason they're all wrong, given that OTHER forms of group activity, from meditation to "crowd fervor" can similarly affect a person's brain.

      As such, one could argue religion isn't a choice. In part, it's an addiction.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  19. Joe

    I saw "Mitt Romney Revealed" last night, before the replay of "Obama Revealed" (should have been called "give him another chance, it wasn't his fault" ). Again, CNN shows that MSM bias that tries to appear neutral but really isn't. One example: I'm sure there were hundreds of women in Mitt's congregation who loved him and know he will make a wonderful President, but CNN refers us to one anti-Mormon feminist liberal activist. No other voices are heard. They also refuse to discuss many of Mitt's accomplishments, and they try to cancel those they do discuss by finding a liberal etc who would say something bad about Mitt, Mormons etc. They intentionally skipped over many important things, never mentioned George Romney's civil rights activism, or that MLK endorsed George for president, etc

    On Obama, they gloss over his many failures, skipped his controversial secretive past and PRESENT, his constant lying, chronic flip flopping, trying to pay Rev. Wright into silence, lower pay for women, women who work for him complained they felt like a "piece of meat" but no coverage on that, etc etc etc etc.

    Obama Revealed was as dishonest as Mitt revealed, but leaves us with no question as to which candidate CNN campaigns for. They go straight into 2008, and all his vain manufactured glory, and they say "he had it so hard" Bush handed him this and this and this" (nothing about Democrats like Hilary pressing us to go to war into Iraq, claiming they had nuclear weapons etc etc) nothing about how Liberals and Obama pushed the legislation that helped cause the housing crisis and pushed us into this mess, nothing about how he blindly followed Bush's policies to a fault, taking credit for the ones that seemed to work (auto bailout, a few jobs saved etc), blaming others for the things that didn't work, like CNN. I'm sure Obama will follow this on the latest scandal.

    I just wish CNN and the MSM would start doing their job and tell us the truth, and let us decide.

    October 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Joe

      Remember that Mitt want's to do away with FEMA and move the costs of recovery from natural disasters to the states and people of American. That means the 35 billion dollars in estimated damage Sandy could cause would fall on the states that are affected and the people that live there. This would mean state gov't will have to cut costs even more in their local budgets.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • lowellthomson

      You show a distinct pro-Romney and anti-Obama bias, and then write a post arguing that media outlets aren't being objective.

      You realize the irony, right?

      I'd point out that most news outlets nowadays, by virtue of their owners exercising more control, are more centrist-to-right than they ever were. MSNBC is an obvious example in that it is extremely biased to the left, just as Fox is extremely biased to the right.

      But any time you find yourself writing a post arguing that everyone you already disagree with is unfair, no one is going to take it too seriously .... except for people who already agree with you, the type of people upon whom biased outlets like Fox and MSNBC rely.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • visitor

      "Liberals" nor Democrats pushed anyone into the housing crises. That is one huge massive whopping lie. As one who is actually somewhat familiar with the crises, it was happening for years, it was pushed forward by a number of things, including banks desperate to sell mortgages (not pushed) and massive fraud.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  20. Joe

    Since we are now off topic, and CNN has been alerted to my comments. I will return to topic : ). Please read the comments below that they let remain. You can find some truths at those sources, including about CNN.

    October 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Douglas

      Joe, you are posting from the well known hate group narth and their reports have been proven bogus. There's your sign.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Joe

      Thank you, yes narth is a good one, they quote pro-gay sources, and many of them are former gays, some practicing.
      "Crafting Gay Children" is also a good one.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Douglas

      Joe, those are all false reports and not based facts. They are well known hate groups. The "Crafting Gay Children" was written over 12 years ago, proven to be false and not based on the real facts of today.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
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.