December 30th, 2007
04:30 PM ET
7 years ago

Mysterious holiday card spotlights Romney's religion

A bogus holiday card was sent to some South Carolina Republicans. 

A bogus holiday card was sent to some South Carolina Republicans.

(CNN) - A holiday card that falsely claims to be from "the Romney family" and highlights Mitt Romney's Mormon faith was anonymously sent to Republican mailboxes across South Carolina earlier this week.

The source of the card is unknown.

View entire card [PDF]

The mailer, which says it is "Paid for by the Boston Massachusetts Temple," displays a quote from Mormon apostle Orson Pratt saying that God had multiple wives:

"We have now clearly shown that God the father had a plurality of wives, one or more being eternity by whom he begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus, his first born, and another being upon the earth by whom he begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as his only begotten in this world," the quote reads.

A copy of the glossy brochure obtained by CNN offers holiday wishes from "the Romney family": "We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a joyful New Year," it says.

The card focuses on the Republican presidential candidate's home state of Massachusetts, displaying a photo of the Mormon Temple in Boston as well as a snowy photo of the Public Garden in Boston.

The mailing also quotes from the first Book of Nephi, part of the book of Mormon, in which the Virgin Mary is described as "exceedingly fair and white."

Romney spokesman Will Holley condemned the card.

"It is sad and unfortunate that this kind of deception and trickery has been employed," Holley said. "There is absolutely no place for it in American politics."

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (444 Responses)


    December 31, 2007 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  2. Dale E

    There are many different denominations under the "Christian" umbrella... you are correct. However the doctrine taught in a great majority (I don't know about every single denomination) of these religions have doctrine that can be traced to the Bible/Christ.
    I don't know of one Bible verse that can be translated as God having spirit wives (plural) or that a man determines if his wife will be raised from the grave. If there is a verse in the bible that speaks to either of these Mormon beliefs I would like to know.

    December 31, 2007 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  3. Peace

    I'm black and muslim. I've lived in Salt Lake City for years; I did my PhD there. I have never been victim of racism related to religion. I met wonderful people who are smart, hardworking and dedicative to their family.

    December 31, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. LB

    Anyone familiar with the Book of Mormon and mormon theology would know that these quotes have been taken completely out of context. The Book of Mormon (as well as the Bible) clearly teach that God looks on the soul rather than the color of skin, and that we should too. It's amazing how little most people understand about a major US religion.

    December 31, 2007 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. Joseph, Grand Rapids, MI

    Once again , someone, or some anti-mormon campaign is at it again. Why are we even discussing this non-sense? Romneys faith should have nothing to do with him being able to run the country. Bill Clinton is a "Christian" and we all know how well that turned out. Surely, Romney can bring family values back to the White House. Huckabee is the one using religion as a weapon! He wears it on his sleeve like a medal. He is so busy running for pastor in chief that he hasn;t figured out that he cannot win the national election. He does not stand a chance against the Democrats in 2008. Romney is going to win in IA, NH, and MI! Romney has my vote, because he is the only one who can get the job done. Go Romney!

    December 31, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    Unfortunately the issue of racial overtones to the LDS faith will continue to be brought up throughout the campaign, as it always has been and remains a prevailing theme of the Book of Mormon.

    A number of years ago (it was in 1978 – Lord, I feel old!), the LDS Church reversed a long-standing policy of discrimination toward African-Americans that precluded them from being eligible to hold an office in the LDS priesthood. This policy had been in effect and rigidly enforced for a hundred and forty-four years, ever since the church’s founding in 1830. In what amounted to a revolutionary about-face, the LDS leaders announced that all of their teachings and understandings of the matter prior to that day in 1978 “had been wrong,” that they had “misunderstood” both doctrine as they had been teaching it and scripture as they had been reading it, and that they could no longer find any basis for denying their priesthood to “any eligible male member, regardless of race.”

    This was a great moral step on behalf of the Mormon leaders at the time, and it was (and is still to be) applauded. It was certainly the right thing for them to do. But… in the aftermath of this long-awaited change of heart, very few outside observers ever asked the obvious question: Just where had such a discriminatory policy that had colored their thinking for so long ever come from in the first place? And, more importantly, were the seeds of such a repulsive idea still a part of compulsory Mormon belief?

    Prior to 1978, Mormon writers and thinkers all used statements, pronouncements, and teachings from earlier church leaders to “prove” that the “Negro” was descended from “the race of Cain” in the belief that the “mark” that God had placed on Cain in the Old Testament was the “curse” of a black skin. Not surprisingly, this was also a widespread and fairly common belief in the segregationist, slavery-tolerating American culture that existed during the early part of the 1800s, when Mormonism was born. While there is certainly nothing Biblical about such an offensive teaching, this didn’t stop a good many preachers of the day from offering it as their own interpretation and proclaiming it from pulpits all across a young America.

    Joseph Smith, Mormonism’s founder, would later echo the idea of the Negro race bearing Cain’s curse after his church had been established and began to grow, and Brigham Young and others would later deliver some of the most bigoted and racist remarks from the pulpit of the LDS Tabernacle that have ever been uttered by anyone, anywhere. But even before that, the concept that dark skin was a “curse” from God, and light skin was a “blessing” from God, was incorporated by Smith into the pages of the Book of Mormon.

    This is a critical point. I won’t take up the space to quote passage and verse, but anyone can easily verify what I’m saying here just by going to any search engine and entering the words: Mormon, Indian, skin, white. The gist of the story, though, goes like this:

    In the story line of the Book of Mormon, the ancestors of modern-day Native Americans (and Latinos) are called Lamanites. They were originally light-skinned, but the book states that because they were unrighteous, God “cursed” them with a “dark and loathsome skin” so that the rest of God’s light-skinned, righteous people would not be tempted to “mingle amongst them.” But of course that wasn’t the end of it. God then gives these cursed people a promise: The Book of Mormon tells them that if their descendents become righteous (presumably by converting to Mormonism), God will remove this curse and their skin will once again become “light and delightsome.”

    In other words, early 19th century American racial attitudes are given scriptural authority by Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon, and God himself is portrayed as being a racist who “curses” people by giving them dark skin and “blesses” people by giving them light skin, and who favors segregation. This repugnant idea – that the ancestors of Native Americans were cursed with their skin color, but their descendants are promised that they will one day (by the grace of God, if they convert) become white, forms a core belief of Mormonism even today, in spite of the reversal of discrimination towards African Americans.

    The vast majority of the many Mormons I know are not racists, and I certainly do not see them as such. Most Mormons, in fact, make an extremely conscientious effort to be as open-minded and accepting of diversity as they possibly can, and they are to be admired as a people for this. But their belief system and scriptural writings still proclaim and teach that God approves of racism by “cursing” with dark skin and “blessing” with light skin. And to people like myself, this is reason enough to not lend credibility to such an organization by offering one of its members the office of President of the United States.

    December 31, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess the question that few of you address is who actually sent the card. Do we know who that was? Do we know who designed it? The item to note is about the wording; was it translated from another language? What were the verses before and after? What was the context and the relavence of the color? To some people, white can be something pure and wholesome like Ivory soap. To have a full understanding requires more than just the card.

    December 31, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Steve Blaine Washington

    I am not sure why you brought the Jews into this. But the controversy, duh, is that these are religious views that Romney holds. Mormonism is not Christian, no mater what kind of spin any of you put on it. My Bible says one faith, one God, one baptism. The Mormons claim Jesus did not die on the cross. My Bible says differently. And because these doctrines are contrary to traditional Christian belief, many people who identify themselves as Christian will not vote for a Mormon. For the record, people are sworn into office by the Bible because that Book is the religious standard in America, always has been and assumably always will be.

    Regarding the phrase that Mormons claim that Jesus did not die on the Cross.
    Pure lies. They do believe Jesus Christ died on the Cross. If he had not done so none of us would be here today. Iraelis sacrificed animal in similitude of the future sacrifice of Jesus to redeem all mankind from their sins.
    True Mormons do not put crosses on their Church buildings because they worship a resurrected Jesus Christ who is the head of the Church and runs the Church and owns it lock stock and barrel.
    Mormons are Christians in the sense that the early Christens were Christians. In the sense that you call yourself a Christians i would agree with you.

    December 31, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Al, Orlando, FL

    oh, of course, it always comes down to this and not one's political acumen. This is getting too ridiculous.

    December 31, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. Cherry

    The source of the Orson Pratt quote is page 172-173 in Mr. Pratt's publication, The Seer. On the same pages is the interesting revelation that Jesus, too, was a polygamist, which the "DaVinci Code" followers will find fascinating. A scan of The Seer is available at The quote is accurate as is the quote from The Book of Mormon.

    Whoever sent this should not have indicated that it came from the Romney family and was sponsored by the Boston Temple. That part was wrong. However, I don't really see the problem with putting out the direct quotes from LDS scripture and a reliable secondary source.

    I graduated from BYU and took the required fourteen units in LDS religion. We were clearly taught that one could not go to the highest heaven without accepting (not necessarily practicing) polygamy. The quote about people of African ancestry is correct, but as others have said, there was a press release (not a revelation) indicating that the LDS religion would no longer discriminate on admission to the temple endowment and marriage ceremony and on admitting African-ancestry males to the priesthood. The source Adam's quote is a speech called Race Problems as They Affect the Church by Mark E. Petersen, which was given and published in 1954.

    Overall, I have respect for the LDS I knew. I did, however, see a preference toward those of Anglo-Saxon ancestry. I am a Republican, and I do have a concern that Romney will be biased toward those of Anglo-Saxon ancestry in cabinet appointments, etc.

    December 31, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. Cherry

    Hmmm...I should have said that the quote is accurate (mb).

    Also, what Dale E wrote about husbands determining the resurrection of their wives was also taught in religion classes although I could not tell you the LDS source for their belief in that regard and none of my profs (including the illustrious Joseph Fielding McConkie) could refer me to a Bible or BOM verse.

    December 31, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Don Kauffman

    JFK Praised the Mormons in 1963.


    Why are we still dealing with this bigotry?

    December 31, 2007 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Mike

    Dale E said:

    "I don't know of one Bible verse that can be translated as God having spirit wives (plural) or that a man determines if his wife will be raised from the grave. If there is a verse in the bible that speaks to either of these Mormon beliefs I would like to know."

    I know I'm not Lori, but I am a Mormon. I also don't know of any Bible verses that speak of either of those beliefs. Good thing they are not Mormon beliefs. I'm not sure where you learned what Mormons believe, but it probably wasn't a Mormon.

    Go to or and search through our scriptures and doctrines. I would be impressed if you could find any evidence to support those "Mormon Doctrines". Just because you read something on the internet or hear it at a Baptist Bible Camp, doesn't make it true.

    December 31, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Lynette--a Utah Mormon

    Whoever produced and distributed this deceptive card apparently thinks that a "temple" is the same thing as a congregation. That is not the case. A temple is a specially dedicated building where Mormons enter into sacred covenants with God. Temples are open only to Mormons who have been interviewed by their bishop and stake presidency and found to be committed, worthy, and living the standards of the church. Anyone not holding a temple recommend is not allowed to enter a Mormon temple, including Mormons who do not have temple recommends.

    On the other hand, a chapel is where Mormon congregations meet for their weekly meetings. Chapels are open to anyone, whether they are Mormon or members of other faiths, or people of no particular faith.

    This ridiculous misunderstanding on the meaning of the word "temple" reminds me of a Jeopardy question [make that "answer"] I saw on a show many years ago. I don't remember the exact wording, but the gist was that the Mormon church had several million members worldwide but only 13 temples. Where did they think we met for our church meetings - in someone's garage? [And by the way, we now have well over 100 temples worldwide.]

    And it just proves that the card was not put out by anyone who knows much about the Mormon church.

    December 31, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. annette

    marylou's comment ticked me off that I must add this: She said LDS women are, "Women are second class baby machines in the Mormon faith". Wow, my husband thinks otherwise! I'm the "boss" in the home, his job is to bring the paycheck to me. LOL

    It is Huckabee's belief that women should submit to their man, not the LDS faith. We believe man and women ARE equal.

    December 31, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. Mike

    What confuses me is why Romney would want to be the nominee for a party that seems to hate him so much for his religious beliefs.

    December 31, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Cephas

    Adam, you seem to think that anything uttered by any Mormon leader at anytime in its past is by default doctrine. The development of "official LDS doctrine" is a much more involved and refined process than that. Additionally, if that same standard were to be applied to every other Christian denomination they would have faded out of exsistence long ago. Please consider this before you embarass yourself again.

    Dale E, as much as I appreciate the candor of most of your dialog with Lori, you too are endanger of picking out topics that may have been previously discussed by Mormon leaders but are not in fact Doctrine. Mormons believe that families can be together forever, but neither the husband nor the wife is ultimately responsible for the decision of when or if a person gets resurrected. That judgment is left to God alone to implement. The same is true of God having multiple spirit wives. Sure it has been a matter of discussion in the past, but it isn't DOCTRINE, for two reasons, 1) Frankly we just don't know, he might, he might not – it wouldn't make him any less GOD either way. 2)The knowledge isn't necessary for our salvation.

    What really kind of angers me is the fact that a lot of the bloggers here, for some reason, believe the LDS Church is this nebulus secretive organization. When nothing could be further from the truth. How do you guys think those who sent this stupid card and folks like Adam get the junk they regurgitate. The Church makes the information available – duh. There isn't a group of secret geeky religion dectectives digging through dusty libraries or dank musty back rooms coming up with this stuff. Nope, the LDS Church makes it available – becuase they have nothing to hide. But still that doesn't automatically make it LDS DOCTRINE.

    December 31, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. dave ks MO

    Big Deal – Is there any religion that isnt seriously flawed?

    The slanderous card is like saying "Superman is stupid, and Spiderman is the best." – ALL FICTION people – one make-beleive god isnt any better than another make believe god.

    December 31, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Rick K.

    I also don't think that it came from any candidate; possibly a supporter of some sort who is desperate or wants publicity.
    I think that the scripture is very interesting as well as the history of the Mormon faith. A great movie to check out on the history of Mormonism is "September Dawn."

    December 31, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Cephas

    One more thing:

    I was born in SC and my father’s line goes as far back as the Revolutionary War in the Greenville/Spartanburg area. And I say that SC Republicans should be outraged that someone thinks they can be so easily manipulated!

    December 31, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. GM

    Where's the bigotry? Romney wants to drag his faith into the spotlight - but wants to control the conversation? I don't think so. It's all fair game. I am neither Republican nor Democrat, and I am not a believer of any religious faith. So I have no dog in this particular fight. But if Romney and Huckabee want to brandish their particular flaming swords, then they best be prepared to do more than just wag them around for effect.

    December 31, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Amanda

    I have been a member of the LDS church for many years and attended consistenty when I lived in Argentina, Brazil and West Africa. Our congregations in Brazil and Ghana were mostly black, as they are in some parts of the southern US states. These members understand that the LDS are accepting of all races, just ask them. When there are a black members with 40 years of faithfull service to members in the church I expect to see black apostles.

    When other churches split, segregated or voted to allow blacks to join their congregation, the LDS church leaders were praying for the approval to extend their priesthood leadership to the black members. This answer came in the 1970's and the priesthood was extended to all worthy men in the 1970's.

    These leaders don't take home commissions for new members or receive millions like many other "religious" leaders. Membership is for the benefit of the member, the leader's motives are pure as they only serve to benefit others.

    As most LDS trace their ancestry to Sweden, Denmark, England, Hawaii, Tonga, etc. there are not many blacks that made the trip to Utah/Idaho/Wyoming in the late 1800's....those states are almost all white but that is slowly changing. I will welcome a black LDS apostle, a black prophet, when the Lord appoints it.

    A candidate's religious belief or non-belief doesn't matter much to me, but their ability to make good decisions does.

    Mitt Romney is not an LDS church leader although he has served faithfully in the past and surely will again after his work as a political leader.

    When the election dust settles, and as a matter of personal importance, I suggest you research this religion and ask God in prayer if the LDS leaders are inspired by God. It is through the LDS faith that I believe in Christ, his atonement in Gethsemane and on the cross and the reality of the resurrection of every person on this earth....this is truly the "good news".

    December 31, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Carol Williams

    I have found the Mormons to be just as John F. Kennedy said in this short video clip:


    The Mormons opened their homes and took many in during the California wildfires and put in countless hours helping the people of Louisiana, Florida and Texas recover from the hurricanes and floods in the last few years. They are the most Christian of neighbors I know.

    December 31, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. SHYMEL

    TO: Peace
    RE: Tranquility in Utah

    As Salaam Alaikum. Sir, if everything in Utah is ideal for yourself, does that means everyone of African descend will have the same experience as you? What are your complaints with person who believe you are less than them? Why do we try to separate ourselves when it is convenient to the individual? Yes, I image the majority are as you described but if they take no issue with falsehoods – are not they as guilty as the worst? Indifference breeds intolerance so respectfully, next time you support something that is against the majority of persons that look like you – just maybe you should challenge their beliefs in private. Therefore, we can learn something from your experience so we can be one in the same?
    As Salaam Alaikum

    December 31, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. Peg, Findlay, Ohio

    I watch CNN and MSNBC and occasionally Fox. Could any of the reporters get enough ambition to actually cover the issues in depth and get away from "he said,she said". It's like electing a Jr. High class officer, not the President of the United States Can't you do better than this?

    December 31, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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