Romney’s loss closes out ‘Mormon moment’
Mitt Romney attending church on Sunday earlier this year.
November 8th, 2012
03:20 PM ET

Romney’s loss closes out ‘Mormon moment’

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Mitt Romney’s defeat appears to close out a years-long “Mormon moment,” a period of national fascination with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It has also provoked Mormon disappointment; Romney would have been first Latter-day Saint in the White House, culminating a decades-long process of growing Mormon acceptance and influence.

But prominent Mormons and religion experts say Mormons should be heartened that Romney’s candidacy appeared to help mainstream the relatively young faith, which was founded in 1830 in upstate New York.

“Part of the Mormon moment was curiosity and much of that curiosity has been satisfied,” said John Green, professor of political science at the University of Akron.

“There will always be people who disagree with them,” Green said, “but the sense is that this community is part of the broad middle of American society.”

As stories about the LDS Church graced the covers of magazines and front pages of newspapers, the church’s press office was working overtime to answer questions from around the globe. A church that prefers to keep private became very public.

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“Without question there has been an increase in interest in the Church over the past several years,” church spokesman Michael Purdy told CNN. “Although there have been exceptions, this attention has given people the opportunity to know who we are and what we believe.”

It also meant more publicity for aspects of the church that many Mormons would prefer not dwell on, like the church’s onetime practice of polygamy (the church banned the practice more than 100 years ago) and its denial of the priesthood to black members until the late 1970s.

But even the uncomfortable questions were good for the church, said Richard Bushman, a Mormon scholar who has served as a local Mormon leader.

“So long as those objections and criticisms were kept under wraps, they just sort of festered there,” Bushman said. “Getting them out in the open where people could speak candidly, that in a way clears the atmosphere.”

Coverage of Mormonism also led to some level of misinformation. One example: On the TV show “The View,” on October 18, 2012, Whoopi Goldberg asked Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife, about how she would relate to soldiers.

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“As first lady, if you get the job, it’s going to entail a lot of things, and one of those things is going to be talking to the mothers whose children are coming home in bags, you know, from wars,” Goldberg said. “Now, I know - I believe that your religion doesn’t allow you to go fight.”

Goldberg was wrong. Mormons are actually known to enlist in the military at higher levels than others. “No, that's not correct,” Ann Romney told Goldberg. “We have many, many members of our faith that are serving in armed services.”

Purdy, the church spokesman, says such exchanges were ultimately beneficial.

“A good deal of misinformation has been replaced with a more accurate picture of the Church, its doctrines, and its members across the world,” Purdy said. “That is a good thing for all involved and we look forward to these opportunities continuing.”

But with Romney’s loss, interest in Mormonism is expected to dwindle. Joanna Brooks, a well known Mormon blogger and author says it’s only a matter of time until that interest returns.

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“There have been many Mormon moments, and there will be many more to come,” she said. “Mormonism remains a vibrant and distinctive force on the American religious landscape, and as a young religion with a new global reach, the Mormon story is still unfolding.”

The last Mormon moment, she said, was a good one: “This is a moment in which the nation proved that it was capable of having a discussion about candidates and platforms without openly subjecting either candidate to a religious test.”

Though Romney’s faith garnered plenty of coverage - from Time’s cover story “The Mormon Identity,” to New York Magazine’s “Where is the Mormonism in Mitt Romney?,” - neither the campaigns nor outside groups made much, if any, mention of it.

Romney’s bid seemed to improve relations between Mormons and evangelical Christians, many of whom have long seen the LDS Church as a cult. In May, Romney spoke at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell.

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Weeks before the election, too, the Rev. Billy Graham met with Romney for the first time and removed “Mormonism” from a section of his website devoted to cults.

“The Billy Graham business, for me that was symbolic that evangelicals instead of just dismissing Mormonism, (they) now need to talk a little more about what they mean,” Bushman said.

According to exit polls on Tuesday, 79% of white evangelical Christians voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. That’s an even higher share of the white evangelical vote than John McCain got in 2008, when he was the Republican presidential nominee.

“From the point of view of religious tolerance and acceptance, there were some really positive trends,” Green said. “It does suggest that the path towards greater religious tolerance has continued.”

Green raised the subject with his students after Tuesday’s election. At the end of the conversation, Green said one non-Mormon student’s comment encapsulated the strides Mormonism made in the last year.

“They aren’t any stranger,” the student joked, “than anyone else.”

- CNN’s Allison Brennan contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

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

soundoff (1,823 Responses)
  1. Texas Dad 74

    If you want to see what really goes on inside a Mormon "Church/Temple" , Search YouTube for NEWNAMENOAH. This guy took a hidden video into the temple to show all the bizarre rituals , secret handshake ceremonies, code words and all kinds of odd practices. Its all on video and from what I can tell looks absolutely real.

    I'm sure there's kooky ceremonies in most religions but this video looks almost like free mason teachings mixed with secret society/cult "ish" .

    November 9, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Concerned

      Look, please don't go spreading the specifics of the temple ceremonies around the internet. I know the temple ceremonies may seem strange to you but they all have symbolism that relates to Jesus Christ. We believe they are sacred, that's why we don't talk about the specfics of them outside the temple.

      Also, I'm seeing a lot of fallacies here about the beliefs of my church. We honor Joseph Smith, and now President Monson, as prophets, just like Moses and Abraham, but we do not worship them. (Neither do they give us poisoned Kool Aid). We worship Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Saviour and Redeemer. It's almost impossible to address all of the incorrect things posted here but here are our 13 articles of faith: (Again, you will surely see examples of Mormons not living all of the principles espoused below but these beliefs are promoted and taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons).)

      1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

      2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

      3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

      4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

      5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

      6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

      7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

      8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

      9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

      10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

      11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

      12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

      13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • 9-11-1857 the 1st anti American 9-11 terrorists

      little Joey Smith was a Mason. went to the top in one day? their temples have a lot of thecarved symbols of Masonic 'temples'

      November 9, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  2. Horux

    “There have been many Mormon moments, and there will be many more to come,” she said. “Mormonism remains a vibrant and distinctive force on the American religious landscape, and as a young religion with a new global reach, the Mormon story is still unfolding.”

    A perfect example of the pridefulness that infests the Mormon community.

    Is pride a Christian virtue???

    November 9, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Jonah

      Is hate a christian virtue?

      November 9, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Horux


      Can't come up with a cogent response, Jonah?

      November 9, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Krabz

      Is this a "prideful" comment, Horux, or do you just deem it so?

      November 9, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Horux



      It appears to be a self-referential non-sequitur

      November 9, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Krabz

      Cogent response, please.

      November 9, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  3. Jonah

    Praised as a great community leader and aviator, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany during a short ceremony at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City on October 30.

    The Order of Merit is the highest tribute that the Federal Republic of Germany can pay to individuals for service to the nation, recognizing exceptional charitable work as well as accomplishments in various other types of social, political, and scientific endeavors.

    German Consul General Dr. Bernd Fischer lauded President Uchtdorf for his lifetime of service and leadership, including his present work as the Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church.

    “For his service in the field of aviation and his selfless service to his worldwide community, it would be sufficient to qualify him for this special award,” said Dr. Fischer. “But together, his service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his community service, and his service and leadership in the field of aviation, we are three-times pleased to present this award to President Uchtdorf.”


    November 9, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  4. Joe from Arizona

    No bigouts that I see,In AZ the Mormon church is used to discriminate against non members, hide money, and take care of there own, and pretend to accept minorities. The Mormon church was founded by conman, and he developed the church to allow him to edit god commandments, and undermine them. Jesus' name may be written on their building, but because of their false testament he will not know them in heaven. No matter how good you are as a person, they only way to the father is through the Christ the Son. I have many Mormon friends and when it comes to the holy trinity, they just miss the boat. Maybe the next time they revise the book of Mormon they can add that in....Most Mormons maybe good people as i pick them off the floor of a bar so they can sober up to make it to church and pretend to be faithful, but most are not good Christians in Christ.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • larry

      I live in a part o the US that has always had a large Mormon population. We call them the Mormon Mafia. It is about discriminating against non members, and shelling out millions of dollars to the church where it is never seen again (Money laundering).

      November 9, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Marietta

      I agree Joe. Here in Utah I know a few who say they live virtuous lives and even look down on us who aren't LDS but in reality they are some of the most immoral and even corrupt people I know. Reality is many LDS members only work with their own and do business in church like we do business on a golf course. Ironically Jesus had a problem with business being done in the church – something about tables being flipped over.....

      November 9, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • 9-11-1857 the 1st anti American 9-11 terrorists

      and a AZ Mormon sheriff who recently killed (just ) himself in a drunken road trip. but not one other Mormon ever saw him take a drink.

      November 9, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  5. FLvoter

    I am a former US Marine. I have not seen any mormons serving in the military. I don't think that they believe in serving. Therefore, they should are not qualified to be commender in chief of the military. Look, Romney has many sons. None of them have served in the military. They want to send your sons and daughters to fight for this country but won't send their own. I am glad Obama got re-elected.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Jonah

      Utah is disproportionately represented in the military and we have served with distinction in all the wars of the United states since becoming a church. We are the only major religion that is distinctly American with a core belief that the consti tution is an inspired docu ment.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • larry

      When I served one of my fellow officers was from Utah and was a Mormon.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Mirosal

      I am retired U.S. Navy ... one of my best friends was a Navy crypto tech, and he was Mormon. The Command Master Chief (E-9) of the school base in Pensacola (NTTC Corry Station) when he and I were there was also a Mormon, and was bishop of his ward. So yes, they can and do serve. Mitt was just a pus'sy, that's all.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Horux

      I do know of several Mormons who served. In my own Army tour, however (Vietnam included), I never met nor heard of a _single_ Mormon serving.

      As far as the Romney family, it appears that no Romney has ever put on a uniform and served their country. This clan, at least, serves other masters ...

      November 9, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Frankly Speaking

      Just like Mittens and his FIVE SONS, most Mormons supported the War in Iraq, but few showed up to fight in it. Exactly NONE of Romney's kids opted for military service. I guess, like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, they have OTHER PRIORITIES.

      Cowards and chickenhawks, everyone of them.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Frankly Speaking

      Mormon men are too busy lining up extra wives to be concerned with serving their country.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • 9-11-1857 the 1st anti American 9-11 terrorists

      was your Church serving America when they declared war on the US cause you couldn't be a state and keep diddling all the little girls you could force into marriage? Murdering Americans just going down the road?

      November 9, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • RoguePlanet

      Yes, I see, because CLEARLY all Mormons run around wearing nametags that say, "I'm a Mormon, Ask Me How."

      There are Mormons in the military. Fact. They serve with distinction just like everyone else. There are also Jews, gays, and people of color. Perhaps you'd like them all to wear armbands for easy identification? Oh, no, wait...the Nazi's did that already. Oh, well.

      Perhaps it is you that does not serve with honor, sir.

      November 9, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • RoguePlanet

      ...by the way, I also voted for Obama, and am grateful he won. Also, not a Mormon.

      I just think that as an inactive Marine who served his country, a country dedicated to rights for all and tolerance of all faiths, you might know better than to put such naked ignorance and disdain for a fellow American's faith on display here. Mormons serve. A person's faith does not preclude one from serving, as a Marine or as the Commander in Chief. That's why we're America. You should know that.

      Semper Fi, Marine.

      November 9, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  6. genold

    A cult is still a cult. Cults are unacceptable in a civilized society. That's why they thrive in the U.S. of A.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  7. Jonah

    A Mormon quarterback and high school teammates in Arizona have forged a special bond with a special needs student who was being pi cked on by bullies. The story has received considerable attention across the world.


    November 9, 2012 at 8:45 am |

    This Just In: President Obama has won the state of Florida by 58,000 votes, bringing his electorate tally to 332! A vertual tie CNN??? What polls were you looking at???

    Congratulations President Obama! FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!

    November 9, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  9. Pablo

    What am I to do with the 10 pair of magic Mormon underwear I bought in preparation for the Romney presidency?

    November 9, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  10. KULUKC


    November 9, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • masonjar232

      I just don't understand why people just let it slide , that Romney didn't disclose his taxes. What is he hiding? Is he doing something illegal? How can we trust someone who is not honest with the american people? Having lived in Utah for 30 years I know how sneeky and sly Mormons are. His whole cabinet would have been Mormon. God Bless America...congratulations to OBAMA.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:44 am |

      Romney was born on third base and he swore he hit a triple. But he never made it to home plate because he got thrown out on Nov 6.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Del

      you hit the nail right in its head! Adios Romney moron!

      November 9, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Richard

      More lies. Mormons do not practice polygamy. When you shout out a lie so blatantly, it removes all other credibility that you have.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Nii

      You do not have to marry them with a Federal marriage license.. A secret Temple ceremony will suffice and then you tell everyone you are having an affair. But we the Mormons know. lol

      November 9, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  11. onecell

    being a mormon was the number one reason mitt did not get my vote. maybe he will have better success on planet kolab.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Bobby

      While you enjoy everlasting life from YOUR God eh?

      November 9, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • onecell

      i am an atheist, some forms of "belief" are more tolerable than others but all are a colassal waste of time.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      That's funny... Obama's overt religiosity is the reason I didn't vote for him either time... (don't worry... I didn't vote for Romney or Palin, either... or Bush or Gore, for that matter...)

      November 9, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  12. ZacJ

    The interesting thing here is that while Romney's loss seems likely to end or at least slow the "Mormon moment," the press still seem interested in talking about a Jeb Bush run for the White House. If Romney's loss in this election is enough to end it for Mormons, why aren't the Bush years enough to say that in a country of 300 million there are other candidates to be found besides those within the Bush family? The same would go for Hillary Clinton except she is massively popular and her husband is remembered well. But in any case, we immediately think about another Bush running for the White House, why not then the day after Romney loses come up with a list of who would be the best Mormon for a 2016 run? Obviously that would be stupid but so is the obsession with previous political families. I'd be totally fine with another Mormon run as long as the candidate was good.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  13. LDS is a CULT!!!!

    Billy Graham's web site had the LDS (aka Mormons) listed as a CULT. That's what they are, true. It was "changed" prior to the election, probably due to a large donation. They were founded by people who used "rocks" aka Jupiter Stone, etc. as communication portals to God. Don't try to say that thefact has been disproven, only that the stones were not on their body when they wer "martyred" by true Christians in true. They have evolved into a CULT on tax avoidance & evasion. That's the real reason that Mii Witt did not and would not release his tax returns. That custom was actually started by Mitt Witt's Father!!!! Possibly Romney Senior was a better man & truer Christian that his son and the LDS Cult's rabble.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Marco

      Better go back and look up what the term "Cult" is. IF you go by the true defintion, then Catholics is a Cult. Baptist is a Cult, Methodist is a Cult and etc. Evengelicals are part of a Cult. Billy Graham is part of a Cult. So, becareful when you accuse a religious group since someone will come back and can pick out every little thing that you believe and define it as a cult.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • genold

      Cult: A religion considered unorthodox or spurious. That defines LDS but not the Catholics or Protestants.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Genold: you're correct about the definition of "cult"... so I guess the word "Fraud" is better suited to those other so-called "religions"...

      November 9, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  14. Rrp

    Mormonism..ha...John Smith couldn't have won this election.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Amp

      John Smith? You mean Joseph Smith? One of the requirements of effective snarky humor is accuracy. Nice try, though.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      No... he's actually talking about his neighbor... John Smith...

      November 9, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  15. Sane Person

    Mormonism is a wacky cult, loosely based on Christianity with a bunch of really stupid stuff added in. It's a ridiculous religion.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • twin2

      Clearly you are too ignorant to know what you're talking about. I would bet all that I have that you have never really investigated the church by talking to it's members, it's missionaries, or going to it's websites. It's people like you who rely on the internet and hateful rantings of others to form your opinion that keeps the bigotry going!

      November 9, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Concerned

      Not sure why you call my religion a cult. I go to a Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We go to church on Sunday and worship Jesus Christ and we try to live the best lives we can and treat others with love and kindness. We believe everyone on earth shares one Heavenly Father. Therefore we are all brothers and sisters so let's treat each other as such, okay?

      November 9, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Nii

      The main reason Mormonism is called a cult is because it has been identified as a spiritually abusive religious groups with some ex-members needing professional help with spiritual abuse. That aside their doctrines may sound Christian but if you do sit down and take the doctrines of the Christian Church and compare them with those of your CHurch you will spot the obvious differences.
      That notwithstanding if you truly purpose in your heart to love your neighbor as yourself regardless of any divisive factor then that is about all the religion you need. Mormonism notwithstanding you will enjoy the peace of God. Shalom

      November 9, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Mirosal

      look up the definition of the word "cult", and you'll find that ANY religion is a cult. You do not need any deity of any kind to treat your fellow human beings with kindness respect and compas'sion. If you get rid of everyone's religious differences, then you'll have a lot less to argue about. Then we can progress as a nation, as a people, and as a planet.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • LDS is a CULT!!!!

      You got it right. Why do we call it a cult, because it is. Another poster said he goes to church, etc. He's just way too low on the ladder (pun intended) to know the truth. Jesus was THE SON OF GOD!!! Not an ordinary guy. Real Christians do not worship false idols, i.e. rocks, and obviously MONEY!!!!

      November 9, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • The GOP need to pack up and leave

      All religions are cults.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Talking to yourself and pretending it is to "god" is not healthy for anyone

      "Real Christians do not worship false idols"
      Instead, they just worship dead ones.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • masonjar232

      Twin 2....If the Mormons are taught to love and be kind to their neighbors, maybe you can tell me why the neighbor kids were told not to play with my kids because they were not Mormons? Ya this is real neighborly and kind. Having lived in Utah for 30 years, we got it from teachers showing favoritism to Mormons, we see it from stores giving a 10 discount if they had a relief society card, I saw it from Judges if you wear thin shirts so they can see the garments underneath they got off or alight sentence. Its the Mormon way.....they take care of themselves and the hell with anyone else. Don't believe the junk the Romney was trying to pass about the Mormons. Try living in Utah as a non mormon and see what kind of people they really are.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Concerned

      Whoa, hold on. I'm not saying Mormons are perfect. There are good and bad Mormons in the world just like in every other group out there. I agree, saying you shouldn't play with non-member kids is wrong. The only test I use for who my kids associate with is, are they good kids who will not lead them to look up bad things on the internet and such. That applies to Mormons and non-Mormons alike. I live in TN and my kids have plenty of non-member friends. All very good people. As for the military, I couldn't talk percentages but we have no belief against serving and one member of my congregation just came back from serving in Afghanistan for a year.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  16. LibertarianLady

    Dear Conservative Christian America, God has spoken. Amen!!

    November 9, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  17. Willie12345

    Well at least all those rumors about Mormons having horns on their heads has been debunked.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  18. helenolai

    2012 in America = the land of the Bigots. Need proof? Read this message board.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  19. unowhoitsme

    Romney was omitted...there is a God!

    November 9, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  20. helenolai

    2012 in America == the land of Bigots. Need proof? Read this message board.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • LDS is a CULT!!!!

      You consider anyone that tells the truth about a CULT a bigot?? So be it. Can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen Helen. I hear that Iran's social and religious beliefs are quite conservitive, try living there. Somone else has said that "God has spoken" with the results of this election. The God I know does not tolerate H8, repression and false believers (aka CULTS!!)

      November 9, 2012 at 8:34 am |
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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.