October 18th, 2007
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Majority say Mormonism not an issue

Most Americans say Romney's Mormon faith is not an issue.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A vast majority of Americans say Mitt Romney’s faith will not be a factor in their decision on whether to vote for him. The former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Nearly 77 percent of those questioned in a new CNN–Opinion Research Corporation poll say the fact that a candidate is a Mormon would not be a factor in the way they vote for president. 19 percent of those surveyed say they would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who’s a Mormon, and 3 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a Mormon.

Americans' attitudes towards Mormonism appear to be changing, and while it is unclear whether that shift had anything to do with Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, he may be the beneficiary. A year ago, only a third of all Americans believed that Mormons belonged to a Christian religion, and another third were unsure. Now only one in ten are unsure, and the number of people who believe that Mormons belong to a Christian religion has risen by 16 points to 50 percent. The bad news for Romney: four in ten think Mormons are not part of a Christian religion, and that number has also grown.

1,212 adult Americans were questioned for the survey. It was conducted by telephone on October 12-14, and has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    "If a Christian is defined as someone who believes in the Bible and only the Bible, then no, I guess then Mormons do not qualify."

    Yes, because why should we allow God to say another word?

    October 19, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. ED tempe arizona

    Cult, these people are nuts. I hope their magic underware will save them.
    This guy is really scares me. Empty suit with a great vocie that says nothing

    October 19, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. kate lee

    Should religion be an issue? Probably not; but it is. What concerns me is that most people do not know about Mormonism. They see the "family values" bit but do not know basic facts: that supposedly Jesus came from outer space; that a man, not a woman, may work his way up to being god (think Arianism); that a woman cannot be "saved" in the afterlife unless her husband calls her forth; that,if she is saved, she gets to spend eternity pregnant with spirit children (one thinks of Islam and the virgins granted to the martyrs); that some, but not all, believers may enter the temple in Salt Lake (money gets you in). Mormonism, like Islam, is a man's religion. Unfortunately, most people don't take the time to learn.

    October 19, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. Keith, Michigan

    Has anyone noticed that you never see Romney's name in a blog without it turning into a discussion about Mormonism, but it never comes up when in blogs about fellow Mormon Harry Reid? Interesting isn't it.

    October 19, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Lou Dobbs, Plano TX

    Religion is based on faith, and faith is "belief without evidence." People with faith need to stop believing in fairy tales and need to come to grips with reality. Mor(m)onism is just as silly as any other religion!

    October 19, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Tom Dedham, Mass

    DUH. You vote for the presidential candidate who best represents your values. Who cares what church the person attends.

    Posted By JT, Ada OK : October 18, 2007 6:33 pm

    Perfectly put JT.

    October 19, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. Ryan, Oakland, CA

    I agree Kate Lee, it is concerning that most people do not know the basic facts about Mormonism. Like you for instance.

    It is not true that Mormons believe that Jesus came from outer space, it is not true that a woman cannot be saved unless her husband calls her forth (Mormons actually believe that neither a man nor a woman can be saved without being married, its a two way street) its also not true that a "man, not a woman" can become like god, Mormons believe that men and women both become exalted together and in an equal partnership. You may believe its weird but at least its not sexist. And finally, it is absolutely, positively not true that money gets you into the temple. And by the way there's not just one in salt lake, there's over 110 all over the world and the rules are the same for all of them.

    And just to pose a quick answer to the other uninformed statements about the Mormon faith:

    -DNA evidence doesn't disprove the Book of Mormon because Mormons believe the individuals who traveled to the Americas were a small tribe amongst an already existing population and at the end of the Book they were almost all killed off. So even a basic knowledge of the contents of the Book of Mormon should tell you there's no reason DNA evidence would show anything one way or the other.

    -Mormons don't wear "magic pajamas" they wear garments under their clothing that remind them of the promises they've made to God. They aren't magic, they don't offer physical protection, they're like an Islamic woman's Hajab or a Catholic's cross. People can respect those marks of faith, why is this different?

    -Mormons do not believe that people of African descent are inferior in any way whatsoever. Members of the church probably made statements to that effect some 70-100 years ago, when pretty much every white person in America believed those kinds of things, but Mormons have progressed with the rest of the country and believe nothing of the sort now.

    -The Mormon church doesn't tell its politicians what to do. The LDS church has a strict "no comment" policy on 99% of political issues. Harry Reid is a Mormon, and one of the highest leaders of our church who recently passed away used to be the head of the Utah democratic party. The leadership of the church doesn't even have homogeneous political beliefs, how could they have an agenda?

    Really, is Mormonism any weirder than mainstream Christianity? I mean Joshua stopping the sun by holding up his hands, the earth being only 6,000 years old, people living for 900 years, a flood that covers the entire earth, talking donkeys, etc etc etc. Please.

    And people, if you want to know something about Mormonism, go somewhere besides MormonsAreFreaks.com. These bizarre claims are getting pretty tiresome.

    And finally, don't not vote for Romney just because he's Mormon. If you cast your vote for someone else, do it because Romney's a flip-flopper, has no personality, and worst of all, he's a Republican. Vote for Obama.

    October 19, 2007 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  8. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Romney's faith should never have been an issue in the first place, but it is very pleasing to see that "a vast majority of Americans say Mitt Romney’s faith will not be a factor in their decision on whether to vote for him."

    Romney is NOT running for president because he is a Mormon. He is running for president because he loves our country, the one who has great vision for the future of America.


    October 19, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. Andrew, Vancouver, WA

    Reading this article and these comments reminds me of why I don't spend much time on CNN. I agree with the people who have commented on the questionable authority/validity of this poll. Another poor job by CNN.

    Even more disturbing, however, is the ignorance of the comments on here. To say that faith cannot dispute "fact" is to show a major lack of the understanding of your all-powerful "science." Today the earth is flat, the next it's round. "Facts" have told faith that it is irrational for centuries, and if one was to fashion his faith to the so-called facts, he would be left with nothing at all.

    I'm sure all the people who have benefitted from his business genius did not think "Well maybe we shouldn't hire his firm because he believes that Native Americans are the decendants of the Jews, and that shows a general irrational thought process." And it's a good thing, too, that they saw his skill, intelligence, charisma, leadership, and decision making ability.

    If you could make decision more like the business world and less like the true biggot you are, then you would be much more successful. Same goes for the United States of America.

    October 19, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  10. Moe, NY

    Romeny's faith is not an issue with me, but will not vote for him anyway.

    October 19, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  11. Saddened, Tampa FL

    Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR :

    If you thought the quote was out of context, you could have easily put it into context. Instead you just decided not too??

    Mormons believe blacks are inferior. They believe the white race is superior – read their literature!

    This is why he should not, cannot be President of a multi-cultural nation. He either believes in his faith or he doesn't.

    His religion is relevant because of that reason.

    October 20, 2007 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  12. LeEric Anchorage AK

    Why is it that the one church claimed not to be Christian, is the only Church with a picture of Jesus Christ on their official home page?

    Check out your denominations official website and ask yourself why Christ isn't front and center there?

    October 20, 2007 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  13. Charles from Orem, Utah

    I think it's both shameful and shortsighted that anyone professing to belong to an enlightened Christian belief system would feel the need to even consider supporting a candidate whose faith teaches that God endorses racism. The Book of Mormon very clearly teaches that God caused a "dark and loathsome" skin color to come over the "Lamanites" (whose descendants are modern Indians and Latinos) because of their "iniquity", so that the fair-skinned "Nephites" would not want to intermingle with them. Those thus "cursed" with a dark skin then receive a "promise" from the Book of Mormon, however, that their descendants who embrace Mormonism in the latter days and become righteous would one day again see their skin become "white and delightsome". Since their troubled beginnings Mormons have evolved into a respectable group that espouses clean living, strong family values, etc, but the background teachings that God condones racism are still there, and any Latter-day Saint who considers themself to be a committed believer MUST accept them. Could this be one of the reasons Romney doesn't encourage open discussion about the details of his faith? I don't expect anyone to take my word for this - go to any search engine and type in the words: Mormon, skin, white, Indian. Read what you find, and then decide whether a candidate's religion should matter whether he is electable to the office of President of the United States.

    October 20, 2007 02:31 am at 2:31 am |


    October 20, 2007 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  15. name withheld upon request

    I live in a town in Idaho that is 97% mormon. Locals fully expect Romney will indeed use his position as president to advance mormon agenda. I work for a county-owned institution that is pretty much run on mormon tennents, and have been personally asked to violate federal law in hiring practices. If Romney plans to practice true mormonism as president, the practice of his faith may supercede federal law and bring discrimination to women; those things happen here as local mormons practice their faith. I'd hate to see that played out on a national level

    October 20, 2007 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  16. nonmormon in mormonville

    I am a nonmormon living in a mormon community. I have been called both a heathen and devil by co-workers. I was asked to assist with the preparation of mormon sunday school materials during business hours. I was asked not to recruit anyone with 'funny sounding names' and a co-worker was asked, in my presence, to only recruit mormons for high-level professional positions. Religious services – mormon only – are held on site. No other religious observences are made available. Based on what I've experienced personally in a community of mormon majority, I'm not sure the seperation of church and state would be upheld by a mormon president.

    October 20, 2007 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Steve Wittlake Blaine Washington

    If people want to know the nature of Mormonism then read Acts 3 verses 19,20 and 21 and Isaiah 28 verse 12 regarding the term "refreshing" and then think about what you have read. What happens when you hit the refresh buttom on your computer. Does all the old come back with all that is new? The Mormon Church is a restoration by Jesus Christ of the Church Jesus Christ established almost 2000 years ago.

    October 20, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Linda - Albany, NY

    Anyone that believes that Romney's religious views will not interfere with his political views is an absolute idiot. Mormonism is not simply a religion – it's a lifestyle to those that follow it. Every decision he makes will be influenced by his religious beliefs.

    Again, separation of church and state!

    October 20, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    "name withheld upon request" and "nonmormon in mormonville" – sounds like you are one and the same person.

    I am a non-mormon supporting Mitt Romney for President.

    October 20, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  20. zebing

    I’ve seen a lot of comments on here saying something like this: “Look at Romney’s faith, it is obviously wrong and fails it to stand up to historical facts, science, or reason. Therefore Romney is not fit to lead the country if he would believe something that stupid”.

    Let me point out one very important fact. Before you show all the reasons and evidence that Mormonism is false and the Book of Mormon is lunacy, you should consider that much of America is Christian. In fact our country was founded on Christian beliefs, which are just as difficult to swallow. Let me give you a few examples.

    Christians believe that a snake talked to Adam and Eve and told them to eat some evil fruit. Hasn’t science amply proven that snakes are incapable of speech and could never talk? What about the bible’s claim that the earth is only 7,000 years old? Or that the world was made in 7 days? It claims the entire earth was submerged in water, people rise from the dead and resurrect, giants used to roam the Earth. These are all proven to be flat out wrong… and don’t even get me started about evolution.

    I am a little irked when I see atheists bashing on religion. Let the poor people believe what they want. It does us no harm. But I am even more troubled when a Christian turns around and bashes on the poor Mormons. Their Christian religion doesn’t stand up to any scientific evidence or logical reasoning either! Talk about a double standard.

    So before any of the Christians rip on the Mormon faith, before you make fun of the Book of Mormon or it’s golden plates, consider the fact that your religion looks equally laughable from the view of a non-Christian. Every time you level a criticism on the Mormons, you are only justifying the criticisms pointed at yourselves.

    October 23, 2007 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  21. Dave. Denton, Texas

    If people do not want to vote for Mitt Romney for President, that is their God given right and a blessing of living in this free nation.

    I am more concerned about the continual attacks (by some) against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    Did you know:

    That the church Christ established in the New Testament was regarded to be a "sect" and that "everywhere it was spoken against"? (Acts 28:22)
    Joseph Smith advocated that blacks should be set free from slavery?
    Mormon's were the first to promote women's right to vote?
    There was a book written by a non-Mormon anthropologist (He Walked the Americas). Her studies reveal that many Indian tribes have legends of Jesus coming to visit them.
    Polygamy was practiced in the Bible (see Gen 29:21-30; Gen 30:3-4; Gen 30:9; 2 Chron 13:21; 2 Chro 13:8-12; Gen 16:3; Gen 25:6; Gen 25:1). Hagar was even told by an angel to return to unto Abraham (Gen 16:7-11).
    Mormons gave up the practice in the 1800s. Anyone who engages in this is excommunicated or does not belong to our faith.
    The DNA issue has been addressed on fairlds.org.
    A study of wordprints by a Momon and two non-Mormons at UC Berkley revealed that it is "statistically indefensible" to claim that Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery or any single author wrote the 30,000 words in the Book of Mormon.
    The writing structure in the Book of Mormon contains many chaiastic structures, which are similar to the writings of the Essenes on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    I can honestly say I understand why some people do not understand us. Much has to do with the continual assertion that we are not Christians.

    Without attacking the beliefs of others, our view is that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are separate beings. We have this line of reasoning because, when Christ was baptized on the earth, God's voice was heard from Heaven and the Holy Ghost descended like a dove. Jesus also prayed to God. When Stephen was being stoned, he saw a vision of God and Jesus standing on the right side of God (Acts 7:55). We also believe Christ has a resurrected body. Jesus himself said "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke 24:39). Please note that these scriptures come from the Bible, not the Book of Mormon.

    I share this not to convince you, but to simply ask for your understanding of where we are coming from. I would also ask for the respect of those of those of any other faith.

    At one point, Pastor Wilton states "This is not a conversation about a person, it is about a religion that drives a person to do what he does."

    What does Mormonism drive people to do? Pastor Wilton answers his own question: "The people of the Mormon religion are very highly astute, highly family-oriented, deeply character-driven people."

    And yet, he says "Mormonism does make me nervous, because I am a Christian, and because the precepts and principles, and more importantly, the practices of Mormonism have cause for great concern."

    Without trying to cast stones, doesn't this seem a little contradictory?

    October 25, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Dave, Denton, Texas

    Someone from Idaho stated that Mormons in his area have been involved in unethical practices and have violated federal hiring laws, among other things.

    I am a Mormon, and I would strongly encourage this person to report these actions to the proper authorities.

    In addition, I would also ask for this persons' forgiveness of our tresspasses. We also make mistakes, and are grateful for the possibility of repentance through Jesus Christ.

    October 26, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  23. Stacy, Austin, Texas

    I realize that my opinion is just my opinion and probably won't make any difference to what anyone else thinks. But, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    1) Mormons are Christians. Anyone who says differently is misinformed.

    2) Our church does not endorse candidates. We believe that everyone has a right to choose for themselves.

    If you must make comments, do your research. I realize that it's not easy to find unbiased information, but I think most people agree it's important.

    Be careful to use sources that are credible before you form prejudices.

    We do not believe in tearing down any religion, even if we do not fully agree with it. Our focus is on improving ourselves and the world around us, not disproving others' beliefs.

    My hope is that even though people may not understand our faith, they will at least be respectful. That's all we can expect.

    I neither endorse nor denounce Mitt Romney, but I do not think his religion should be an obstacle to his election.

    October 26, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  24. Charles, Salt Lake City, Utah

    If Native Americans and Latinos vote for Romney, I wonder if God will turn their skin white as a reward, like the Book of Mormon promises? Go to any search engine and enter the words: Mormon, Indian, skin, white. If you're okay with the idea that God "curses" people with dark skin and "blesses" them with light skin, then Romney (who says he believes what the Book of Mormon teaches) would be your man.

    Racism by any other name is still racism.

    October 27, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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