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)
  1. Tony, Wilton, ME

    To Kerry in San Jose

    "The Jews" are not a race any more than The Christians" are a race – they are people who adhere to a religion and include people of different races. Jew as a word to describe race should have died in 1945, sadly it didn't.

    December 30, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Dave, Atlanta, GA

    Like people have already pointed out, the theology and veracity are irrelevant. The quotes sound very much taken out of context. I could just as easily find quotes in the bible that taken in isolation would make christianity look very bad. That someone who thinks they are a christian would stoop to this level is sad. There will be a special place in hell waiting for whoever did this.

    December 30, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. John, New York, NY

    As a Christian and a liberal Democrat, I find this situation rather humerous.

    The Republican Mormans and the Republican evangelical Christians have been allies in an effort to "reform" America's morals, using their interpretation of scriptures to impose a "secular orthodoxy" on the rest of us. Now, it appears, this fundamentalist campaign for orthodoxy has been turned internally to serve as a litmus test for their own candidates.

    If the fundamentalists are willing to impose their values on the secular world...its fair that their candidates be scrutinized by the same standards.

    December 30, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Defense Dem

    Same context. The controversy is the belief system that Mormons and Romney share: Jesus not dying on the cross, later preaching to Inca Indians; black people being cursed before coming to earth; Armageddon taking place in Utah. And now an 'exceedingly fair and white' Mary? OK. The last time I checked, the Bible was God's Word, and it clearly states "one faith, one God, one baptism", and implores us to not be deceived by anyone who preaches another Gospel (Book Of Mormon), or another Christ. Spin it as you wish, however, truth cannot be shaken. Therefore I cannot conceive how Romney will be able to garner significant support in the all-important so-called Bible Belt states. And I can't fathom how Jews had anything at all to do with the conversation.

    December 30, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Ryan

    Reagrdless of the origin and intent, these quotes are most definitely taken out of context. The mormon scriptures use the term 'white' to refer to things that are clean or untainted, not caucasian. The point here is that Mary is pure.

    December 30, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Kevin T. Keith

    The card is fraudulent insofar as it claims falsely to be from Romney, but that is a rather minor thing. Obviously, it is intended to emphasize Romney's allegiance to the Mormon church, and its unique teachings, but in this respect it does not appear to misrepresent anything. The card obviously appeals to anti-Mormon sentiment, but not by way of slander, rather merely by way of highlighting the things about Mormonism that other Christians object to.

    Which is to say that the real bigotry is not on the part of whoever sent the card, but on the part of those Christians who would be effectively moved against Romney by knowledge of his Mormonism. The sender of the card is merely assuming that non-Mormons (and in this case, it would have to be non-Mormon Christians particularly) would turn against Romney on the basis of what they read in it. And that assumption appears to be accurate. But it's hardly bigotry to accurately predict that the readers of this card are bigots. It is certainly bigotry to reject Romney simply because his religion differs from one's own, but it is the readers of the card, not the sender, who are expected to do that.

    It is perhaps a very ugly kind of politics to knowingly appeal to bigotry in order to win an election, but, to be clear, the bigotry is on the part of the anti-Mormon Christians, not on the part of the one who merely took advantage of their anti-Mormonism. The solution to the problem is not for political operatives to stop sending cards to bigoted Christians, but for Christians to stop being bigots. If other Christians were willing the accept Christians different from themselves (not even to say non-Christians), these types of things would have no impact. It's only because that bigotry exists that it can be taken advantage of. When the bigots reform, they will no longer be slaves to their own bigotry.

    Of course, being non-religious entirely, I just think the whole thing is amusing. The Christians finally ran out of new people to hate and are turning on each other! I can't think of a more appropriate development.

    December 30, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. bob

    When they write "deception and trickery," do they mean that the Mormons don't believe what is claimed in the card? It is certainly unethical to misattribute the funding and organizing entity behind this card. It is not at all unethical to debate the theological beliefs of the candidates in the Republican primary because the Republican party has focused on religion and religious belief for years and has made that belief into a test for potential candidates.

    If the general public had any idea of the nutty things that Mormons believe, Mitt Romney wouldn't stand a chance.

    December 30, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Lisa Salt Lake City, Utah

    Isn't Will Holley the same person involved in the Bush 2000 campaign that was hinting that McCain had a black child because of infidelity in his marriage? If Romney was a stand up guy who believed in principals – why would he hire the same guy who used dirty tactics (because they worked). Polls tell you that the people in the US are sick of the religion card, and do not like people attacking others' personal beliefs–then we have this alleged mailing (how many people received them?). Why are they complaining now – nearly a week after Christmas? Don't Christmas cards get mailed before Christmas? So days before the primaries, Romney looks like a victim of a smear campaign – and all other candidates are suspected of doing the deed. Romney wins, the others loses. Seems very possible that Holley and Romney were behind this whole plan themselves.

    December 30, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Concerned, but no longer shocked

    Gee, dirty politics in South Carolina just prior to a Republican Presidential Primary. Why does this sound familiar? This reeks of the same kind of tactics used against John McCain just prior to the 2000 Republican Presidential Primary in South Carolina. Anybody else remember when a flyer accusing McCain of having a black child mysteriously appeared in South Carolina on the windshields of cars parked in Christian church parking lots just prior to the 2000 primary? I believe the truth was that McCain and his wife had adopted a child from India.

    Whoever did this is counting on human nature to achieve their purpose. And that part of human nature was best described in the following quote:

    "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
    - Winston Churchill

    Let's all hope that the perpetrators of this act, whoever they are, don't get the control of our government that they seek.

    December 30, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Cory, San Diego, CA

    Pure bigotry....just like some of the comments on here ironically enough.

    December 30, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. CensoredByCNN, Roxboro, NC

    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."

    Well that lets the Romney camp out of the running.

    American politics are nothing if not filled with trickery and deception. It raises my spirits to see the politicians getting it in the butt the same way the American middle class families get it every day. And look at how they whine when the shoe is on the other foot. No doubt it's a foul trick,, this Christmas card debacle,, but fair play is nothing but a memory for most of us,, Maybe Romney knows how we peons feel now.

    December 30, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. LDS Convert

    This brings up some significant issues:
    30 yrs ago I vigorously studied and searched the teachings of the LDS Church for 3+ years prior to joining it. In fact, I was repeatedly instructed NOT to ask and search and involve myself in sincere dialogue with the Missionaries and the members that the I got to know. If this isn't an open atmosphere I don't know what is! I have lived both in out of the USA and consistently found an atmosphere of openness among all the Wards. I have myself spent countless hours answering varying levels of inquiries regarding our beliefs, as do millions of our members. There is simply no truth to the statement that we are a secretive Church-it is actually quite the opposite. As it was in ancient Israel, we also have Temples where ALL who desire may come to make and receive sacred Covenants. Those who demonstrate faithful adherenece to the basic promises made at their Baptism may then attend the Temple in their personal and private desire to draw closer to God and their families. We believe Temples to be Houses of our God and therefore are a very sacred place of worship and you will not find faithful members disclosing sacred ordinances outside of that Holy place. Those who have studied the Old Testament and are acquainted with the ancient Temples are aware that God gave specific instructions on it's purpose and use throughout the ages. It is all very consistent; I found that easy to accept based upon my previous faithful upbringing in a different Christian Church. Furthermore, the 11th of our well defined 13 Articles of Faith states, " We claim the privilege of worshipping 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."

    December 30, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. Carl Johnson

    The Christmas card attack is wrong headed, but it competes at the same level of dirty politics and dishonesty employed by Romney. It's hard to sympathize with a guy who lies on cue every day he campaigns and beyond. As for those who would use this shoddy greeting card trick, they are inspired by their own lunacy and perversions. But they have a little help from the Mormons in this devious sneak attack. The Mormons have created a wall of secrecy and double talk around their religious beliefs that invites garbage like this. They need to come out from the shadows of their guarded beliefs and lay them out in clear, unambiguous terms for all to see. The obligation is on the Mormon community to demystify the confusion they've brought with their religious beliefs. Until that happens, expect little sympathy for guys like Romney and more insane Christmas card attacks from the evangelical right. The Mormons have helped themselves into this situation so it is up to them to correct it.

    December 30, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Jon Sanderson

    Ugly! Ugly! Ugly! Gotta be Huckabee supporters behind something so religiously bigoted!

    December 30, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Travis

    Dear Ryan,

    Thank you so very much for telling me what I BELIEVE IN. It's just beyond me how I've gone the last 21 years being a member of the Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-Day Saints not knowing what it is that I do on Sundays. Seriously I can't understand how I dress myself in the morning, it's beyond me.

    Now that I have captivated you by letting you know how much fun I had laughing at your comment, I'm going to tell you what's up. First of all, white is a symbol of purity, not concerning the particular hue of anyone's skin, but their spirit, their heart, their actions, and things of that nature. Taking things out of context is the main reason the Bible has been re-translated and re-written THOUSANDS of times, so people get the message EASIER. Well, obviously reading a different translation would cause different beliefs to be followed because with so many different translations, there are literally hundreds of different denominations that believe different things when they should be reading the same thing. Now, the LDS Church does read the King James version of the Bible; Why you ask? Because it was changed the least out of the thousands of different translations it is the closest one. Now, changing the word white to the word pure is not changing the context at all, it's just making it more clear, as there are a few different examples in the Book of Mormon that were fixed just to get the message accross easier.

    I'm rambling, but the bottom line is, if you want to know what Mormons believe in, whether it be for ammunition when you want to make fun of me(go ahead, i don't mind), or if you actually are curious, ASK A MORMON. Not a baptist bigot.

    I'm out.

    December 30, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. George

    everyone needs to see this

    willard is a lying sack of crap

    December 30, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. Victor

    You can do an internet search on Mormonism and read both sides. It is easy as apple pie.

    December 30, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. Miguel

    Romney slips up!! 12/30/2007:

    December 30, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Jared Hollloway, you said:

    "Well… he is a mormon, and it is what mormons believe… so, its actually kinda sad he'd deny it… cna't have faith both ways. FLIP FLOP again!"

    Romney denied NOTHING! His spokesman Will Holley CONDEMNED (not denied) the card saying, "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."

    Where do you see the denial or flip-flopping here? I would also suggest you listen to Romney's faith speech, where he says, "There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. 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." No denial here either.

    As for these cards in SC, I truly hope those behind them are traced. It would be interesting to find out if this latest attack against Romney is connected to earlier push polls in NH.

    Lastly, my vote goes to Gov. Romney without hesitation. I truly believe he will make one fine president – hard working, energetic, dedicated, passionate, intelligent, well educated, family oriented, and someone with great vision for our country. Not only he alone, but the whole Romney family as First Family will make America proud again.

    December 30, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Miguel

    The flip flopper can dish it out but he can't take it? LOL I hope Mitt get's eaten by the smoke monster from Lost

    December 30, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Ralph Guardino Ames IA

    Recognizing that Mitt Romney's campaign has gotten decidedly dirty, I'm not so sure he isn't the sender of those cards, employing a reverse psychology of sorts. What better way to create the illusion of being the target of bigotry by another group than to do it yourself. We'll never get to the bottom of this Christmas card stunt, but until we do I won't be eliminating Mitt Romney as a suspect.

    December 30, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. Disgusted

    This postcard is obviously from the same folks who in 2000 claimed that John McCain had "a black child". Republican operatives have no qualms stooping to the lowest level to achieve their political ends. I am not a supporter of Romney (or any Republican candidate); I am unequivocally against this kind of smear tactic. Karl Rove and his protégés should be ashamed of themselves!

    December 30, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Paul

    As a lifelong Republican, I can say confidently that hell will freeze over before I'll vote for Huckabee if he wins the nomination. I will not tolerate these attacks on a person's faith, even if I have to vote for a Democrat.

    December 30, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. LDS Convert

    Unfortunately my above comment was accidentally submitted prior to my proof reading and completing it.. please correct one of the first sentences as stated below:
    "......In fact, I was repeatedly instructed NOT TO TAKE SOMEONE ELSE'S WORD FOR IT, ask and search and involve myself in sincere dialogue with the Missionaries and the members that I got to know. More important was to pray about it myself. Individual searching and receiving are clearly evidences of a healthy and open system of communication within a community of religious believers."

    2). Our great country was founded upon the principle of religious freedom and outlaws a State sponsored religion which was dictated by the Governmental powers. Did everyone have fits when Joe Lieberman was vying for the Democratic Party's Presidency? I personally would have no problem voting for someone just because they were Jewish. I know many fabulous Jews and Muslims who are honest and share the same American values and goals that I do. This attempted sabotage on Mitt Romney's political campaign promoted by way of a misrepresented distored view of his Christian religion is a very ignorant mentality. It's actually scary when you realize this powerful country of ours exists on an earth where many religions operate and they must be respected when having dialogue with other Governments and Countries. Imagine the offense others leaders will feel if our future President can not see anything past the religious differences with a Middle East Leader? A concerning thing about this particular type of attempted attack magnifies the feeling of religious intolerance among those who are seeking to gain power in this free US Government of ours. The issues here are the political and moral issues facing this beautiful country of ours. My own father was willing to pay with his life to protect the USA on Omaha Beach in the D-Day invasion.
    3). The so called "Mormon doctrines" this card misrepresents. The strange quote from Orson Pratt isn't even searchable on the official Church Website: or The fact is that this isn't Church doctrine. I've read more than most LDS members throughout the years and have never come across that one. We are a people who regularly give our sources. The quote from the Book of Mormon should only underscore the shared belief among all Christians that Mary was a pure vessel (white being a symbol of that). Those who know God's language in the scriptures know he very often speaks using words that are symbols of deeper meaning to emphasize or repeat the obvious truth he just spoke. I've never ever heard anyone use this as evidence of racial superiority and this is not the belief of our Church. There are no superior races-al are equal to God and we are all His children whom He loves and regards as equals. This quote from the Book of Mormon speaks as a witness for Jesus Christ and the pure, virgin state of the mother through which he condescended and came to earth as the Only Begotten Son of God. There is absolutely no doctrine about our Father in Heaven having Mary as His wife or having a plurality of wives. Some within the congregation have extrapolated on this but there is no doctrine which the LDS Church espouses on this issue. Having heard and studied literally thousands of teachings from our Church Leaders I have never heard anything like what this card presents as our doctrines of plurality of wives.
    4). The 12th of our 13 Articles of Faith states, "We Believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." You will find the LDS people generally an amazingly highly involved and law abiding people. If Mitt Romney becomes our next President, you will not find him trying to do anything against the laws of this land. Our people in every land are known for the law abiding habits–even when East Germany remained under Communist rule our Leaders instructed them to keep the laws of the country in which they lived and to be examples of Christianity within the law they were required to honor. The leaders of our Church had dialogue with the East German government and were actually given permission to build and operate a Temple while under Communist rule. How secretive do you think the Communists thought Mormons were? Really, think about that one!
    5). the mailings are illegal, verified by the FBI taking it on and exploring the origin of it. Who would want to support a Presidential candidate or their base who would go to illegal methods to promote themselves. Where will the line be drawn when no one is looking after such people are elected? If you or I sent out similar mailings and signed it with our neighboring Church's name we'd be in pretty hot water too!
    6). Did you know the Senate Majority Leader-Harry Reid, Democrat is also a strong, faithful, lifelong member of the LDS Church? Have you heard that he was attacked with such propaganda? Why do you think that hasn't happened? Our Church does not endorse any Party or candidate. Our buildings are not allowed to be used for any political purpose and every year we are asked at Election Time to study out the issues and vote for those we feel will best lead our country.
    We all ought to be informed about the issues we each believe to be important to our Country at this time. I hope this help to clear up some of the misinformation that is going around about our church. We don't all have to believe the same things religiously but let's try to keep things honest and stop using methods that are not worthy of the great process that many have paid the price to preserve in this marvelous land of the Brave and the Free.

    December 30, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. Anon

    The wisest thing to do is to ignore this trash as the work of extremists and not point fingers and blame to anyone, neither Romney nor his opponents. Any judgements (without knowledge) will result in meeting the intended goal.

    December 30, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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