December 3rd, 2007
08:32 AM ET
15 years ago

Romney ready to address Mormon religion head-on

Romney plans an address on his faith later this week.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will make a much anticipated speech on his Mormon faith this week.

Romney's campaign says that the address, entitled "Faith In America," will take place Thursday, December 6 at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station Texas at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden, in a statement, says, "This speech is an opportunity for Governor Romney to share his views on religious liberty, the grand tradition religious tolerance has played in the progress of our nation and how the governor's own faith would inform his presidency if he were elected. Governor Romney understands that faith is an important issue to many Americans, and he personally feels this moment is the right moment for him to share his views with the nation."

As for the decision-making process, Madden says that "Governor Romney personally made the decision to deliver this speech sometime last week."

A senior Romney Campaign official tells CNN the speech has been on the table for some time and that there were lots of pros and cons to giving such an address. The official says that Romney believed that the speech was important and that once he "became comfortable with the construct of the speech" he gave the go ahead.

Full story

- CNN's John King and Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Race to '08
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. manaen

    RE: Are Mormons Christian?

    The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:26,

    And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

    December 3, 2007 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  2. Tim, Provo Utah


    In 1990, there were significant changes made to the temple endowment ceremony. Just 17 years ago, you would mimic the penalty you agreed would befall were you to not "live up to the promises you made in this temple, this day." They included moving your thumb across your throat; another one had you disemboweling yourself.

    Your comment only tells us that you did not attend the temple until 1990. It also shows that you have either never really asked all those people in your family about their endowment ceremony before the changes were made, or they are comfortable lying to you to protect your testimony.

    Ask your Bishop or Stake President. They'll have a "reason" for the change, like the one to the Book of Mormon last month, which you can accept or reject. But at least you won’t embarrass yourself again as a person unfamiliar with your own religion and its history.

    December 3, 2007 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  3. manaen, SoCal

    Re: Are Mormons Christian?

    "The Book of Mormon," 2 Nephi 33:

    6 I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.
    7 I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment-seat.
    8 I have charity for the Jew—I say Jew, because I mean them from whence I came.
    9 I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.
    10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
    11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
    12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.

    December 3, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  4. Muhammad Mahmoud

    Why can't we get more Muslim candidates?

    Durka durka. Mohammad Jihad! Durka durka!

    December 3, 2007 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  5. Erik, Orlando, FL

    Some of you miss the point. I am not for Romney because I think Mormons are dumb or evil, it's not that at all. Quite the contrary - I think the Mormon Church has contributed significantly to the arts and society at large, and I have many friends who follow that faith.
    The reason I am not voting for Mitt is that I believe that even though Christ is a central figure to the Mormon faith, there are so many Joseph Smith add-ons that make it more of a cult in the end. Being a bible-believing Christian is the core of who I am - and I cannot vote for someone in a Primary election that does not reflect that core belief - especially when there's a Mike Huckabee, who more closely represent my faith, and conservative views.

    December 3, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. Bill Fairfax, Va.

    I just hope Mitt tells us all if he believes that nonsense about golden plates in the woods. Mitt, please tell us how Joe Smith "transcribed" the Book of Mormon w his top hat and seer stones! Just be honest!

    December 3, 2007 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  7. Charles, Lafayette Indiana


    Anyone who says that Mormons are not Christians is either bigoted or extremely misinformed. Even an atheist who is academically honest, if he were to study this faith group, would find the claim that mormons are not Christians to be ludicrous. I really feel sorry for those of you who buy into this – do you realize what a mockery you are making of your own intellect? Those of you who say Mormons are not Christians are just trying to smear another faith group. Last time I checked, that would technically make YOU the one who is not Christian!

    December 3, 2007 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. Petra - Alexandria, Verginia

    Romney wants to talk about "how faith is what shapes our values." I personally don't want to hear what he has to say about this topic and i am sure a lot of other fellow citizens will care less about what he thinks. This is a secular country and our officials shouldn't talk religion AT ALL AT ANY TIME, running for presidency doesn't entitle you to use a public forum to advertise and market your beliefs.
    I am all for an Atheist president because i believe all religions distort our values, and it is time to realize this. I wish a day will come that this country will embrace non believers/Atheists as mush as they embrace those religious leaders.

    I wonder how much religious people are willing to hear a speech from an Atheist presidential candidate?

    December 3, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  9. Kent, Fayetteville, AR

    Terrific: The Vatican already owns the Supreme Court; soon the LDS will own the White House.

    December 3, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  10. Andy, Dallas, Tx

    I am a right wing evangelical fundementalist crazy person, or whatever label you want to give. I have taken a survey of my sphere of influence and we have an issue with Mitt bring a Morman. Based on the standards of our faith, Mormanism is a cult. I can't vote for someone who falls of that kind of deception.

    December 3, 2007 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  11. David Columbus, OH

    Oh how I hate organized religion. It really tears us apart more and more each day. I do not practice any religion, but I believe that Mitt is a fake. Please don't vote for this fool.

    December 3, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Steve, New York

    This is getting ridiculous. I’m am not and would never vote for this man! But what about the constitution and the "little" part in that says “ religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    December 3, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. Bryan J. Ríos, Dallas TX

    So much for the principle of seperation of state and church. I don't see any one of the other candidates having to address (much less explain) how their faith impacts the issues they stand by. Goes to show the overall hypocrisy of American society when it comes to weighing who to choose for president. Perhaps a promiscuos liberal atheist would sit better with American voters than a monogamous man of faith who was brought up in a wholesome family environment and has led a successful business and political life due precisely to his religious upbringing. I'd vote for Romney blindfolded, whether I knew his religious background or not.

    December 3, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  14. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Let me give some advice to those struggling with whether or not Mormonism is Christian, heretical, pagan, or whatever.

    In terms of religiosity, Mormons are very much like evangelicals. They are clean-talking, uptight, clean living, no drugs, no booze, no tobacco, no caffeine, work hard, marry ONE woman, raise good kids, be financially responsible, no fornication, no adulterous sex, commitment to faithful marriage, and discourage others who want to live differently. Not all Mormons live by all those rules, but neither do all evangelicals.

    Where Mormons differ from evangelicals is in a few important points of theology. However, theology occurs only in the minds of people, not in the world. It is actions that count, not thoughts, in the world. So what if they say potayto and you say potahto? The french fries come out the same.

    Also, Romney's brand of Conservatism is very much like Bush's brand of Conservative: lower wages, less medical care, shrinking middle class, a tiny by magnificently wealthy upper class, corporate control of government, and a declining standard of living for most Americans. So while Bush's theology differs a little from Romney's theology, their actions would be the same. Theology therefore means nothing. And you all know as well as I do that politicians think very little about spiritual matters.

    Perhaps Romney would not be as incompetent as Bush, and he could achieve Conservative goals faster.

    December 3, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. Andrew Ribaudo, North Babylon, NY

    I once ordered a free video from the LDS Church that was advertised on TV. It looked to be a costume-drama based on the life of Jesus. I received a phone call to inform me that it was to be hand-delivered. So I declined. I didn't want the video nor the visit. Two nineteen-year-old "elders" showed up anyway, and invited themselves in to enlighten me as to the history and basic tenets of their faith. They used a flip-chart to tell a story that in my opinion no ten-year-old would be willing to believe. I found it all quite outlandish, particularly in this modern age. Their story of an angel and a sacred book etched in stone goes back just two centuries, and yet there is no archeological evidence to support it. The founder of LDS was a known huckster who developed a "theology" based upon his own child-like misunderstanding of Seventeenth Century Christian Protestantism. Having studied theology and philosophy at the college level, I had many questions for these boys. But they had very few answers. Just that I should believe what they believe. By the end of the conversation though, I think they were beginning to have doubts themselves. It's disheartening to know that one of the leading Presidential Candidates in the United States for 2008 comes from such a background. But unfortunately, in our world today, despite science and technology, religion is beyond reproach, no matter how unreasonable.

    December 3, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. Adam, High Point NC

    When Romney won the Family Values poll one of the evangelical leaders that was against the Mormon faith was asked why he was backing Mitt Romney. He responded, "I'm picking my president, not my preacher."

    How narrow-minded are we to be focusing on this? This is a desperate attempt to slander a candidate very worthy of the GOP nomination. The Mormons I know keep church and state separate. How many Mormons do you really know? Are you scared of that person? Honestly? Some of the nicest people I have ever met are Mormon. Growing up in North Carolina, I've heard about every Mormon 'Tall Tale' there is. Religion is evident in how you live you life. Let that be a witness of someone's character, not researching and swallowing what you read on the internet or what your 'for-profit' pastor tells you about a religion you probably know nothing about.

    We're electing the leader of our country! What are we really looking for in a leader? You think Romney relied on faith to become Governor of MA? Was it faith that helped him to turn around so many businesses and the 2002 Winter Olympics? Did faith make healthcare affordable for everyone in Massachusetts and erase their state debt?He is an extremely intelligent and capable business-minded politician who has incredible organizational skills and vision to get the job DONE. America doesn't need another big talker, it needs a finisher.

    I think he's done a great job of answering questions on his faith, without making a big deal about it. He is the only candidate that hasn't danced around the hard questions in the debates. Romney has stood head-and-shoulders above everyone else running for the Republican nomination. Our country is on a serious decline and is in need of a President that can produce results. Mormon or not, Romney has my vote.

    December 3, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. Business as usual - CA

    I do not care about the religion of a person running for president. I do, however, care how they project themselves. Mitt has projected himself (much like Hillary) as above the mud slinging. And just like Hillary, when the race gets tight, he responds by increasingly attacking Huckabee. I am disappointed that he is just another politian. So as it stands now, the ONLY way Mitt will get my vote is if Hill is the candidate for the Dems.

    December 3, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. David Columbus, OH

    Don't we criticize countries like Iraq because religion tears them apart?

    December 3, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  19. Concerned, Virginia City, Nevada

    The Mormon Church changes its beliefs often on the recommendation of whoever is the current prophet of the church.

    They do wear "sacred undergarments" which have symbols embroidered into them that look very much like Masonic symbols.

    Caffeine is now allowed. Mormons drink caffeinated beverages now all the time. Because the church prophet said it is okay now.

    Can change like the wind.

    December 3, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  20. GR, bBaltimore, MD

    i would like Mitt to explain not only the underwear and the inherent raccisim and sexism embedded in Mormonism but also Joseph Smith's magic spectacles, which allowed him to read the secret golden plates (that became the book of Mormon).... i have no problem with people's religions but this is a cult. please read "No Man Knows My History" by Fawn Brodie for the real story of the beginnings of this "religion." i would also suggest objectively reading the book of Mormon. weirdos.

    December 3, 2007 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. Dave, Denton, Texas

    Here is a great article of why Romney's religion shouldn't be a factor in the upcoming presidential elections.
    People of Paradox
    Filed in American History , Western Religion , A-Featured , Politics , Media , Religion on November 7, 2007 | Share This
    Terryl L. Givens is Professor of Literature and Religion and James A. Bostwick Chair of English at the University of Richmond. His newest book, People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture not only traces the development of Mormon culture from Joseph Smith through today, but also looks at Mormon culture in the context of society at large. In the article below Givens uses Mormon history to elucidate why discussion of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s religion is irrelevant.
    On the 10th of September, 1846, the bombardment began and continued sporadically for three days. As many as 800 (some Mormons said 1800) U.S militiamen and area citizens with six pieces of canon had surrounded the virtually deserted city of Nauvoo, Illinois. The two to three hundred remaining Mormons converted some steamboat shafts to canon and threw up barricades in a feeble attempt to survive. After a stubborn resistance by the besieged, and a daring sortie that brought temporary respite but at a cost of three Mormon lives, the combatants signed an agreement of capitulation on September 16th. By October, the Mormon temple in Nauvoo—finished at such tremendous sacrifice even while persecutions raged—was desecrated, the beautiful city that had recently rivaled Chicago in size was a shell of its former self, and the last weary and infirm Mormons had joined their fellow believers in forcible exile. They left behind not just the “City of Joseph,” but the very borders of the United States of America.
    At almost the same time and thousands of miles away, the Mormon Battalion, a group of Mormon volunteers, trudged toward Santa Fe to rendezvous with the federal Army of the West on their way to fight the Mexican War. On October 9th the battalion arrived, and Colonel Alexander Doniphan of the Missouri Mounted Volunteers ordered a one-hundred gun salute to honor the Mormons for their loyalty to the United States. They had just completed the longest march in American military history, on behalf of a government from whose territory they had just been expelled at cannon-point.
    It is one of the great paradoxes of the Mormon experience in the nineteenth century that the American flag suggested to the Latter-day Saints both promise and oppression; it was both an emblem of God’s purpose and designs and bitter ensign of a nation that expelled, disenfranchised, and persecuted them.
    Today, the situation is markedly different, yet the paradox persists in modified form. The Latter-day Saints express as one of their Articles of Faith, an unswerving devotion to patriotism and civic duty (Article 12). Mormon teachings ascribe to America a providential role in world history and even in millennial events. One Mormon scripture proclaims this a “land choice above all others” (Ether 2:15). Another Mormon scripture, certainly unique in the canons of Holy Writ, makes the specific claim that the Constitution of the United States had been established “by the hands of wise men whom [God] raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80D&C 101:80). Yet in the looming election, the question recurs: can a Mormon president be loyal to the country and constitution first?
    Good reasons may exist to question the qualifications or judgments of Mormons or any other candidate this year. Yet it seems ironic that the candidate with the most explicit theological grounds for special loyalty to the American constitution and rule of law, is the only candidate whose theological attachments are singled out as possible disqualifiers for presidential office.
    Mormon culture has thrived on this and kindred paradoxes. A church that embodies hierarchy and centralized authority surpassing that of the Catholics while celebrating a conception of individualism and agency that in some regards surpass Pelagius. A religion filled with the rhetoric and promise of theological certainty, which at the same time conceives of salvation as an educative process that will reach into the eternities. And a people whose isolation from the mainstream is marked in blood and history, reflected in a language of exceptionalism and difference, and reified by architecture and physical space, even as that same people aspires to search out, proselytize, and bind together the entire human family living and dead.
    It could be that to call these conflicting tendencies in Mormon culture paradox is to resort to euphemism for what is really the simple inconsistency so often at the heart of human ways of ordering experience. Or paradox could be a sign of immaturity, an indication that Mormon ways of articulating their values and preferences have not yet found a synthesis free of fault lines. In any event, exploring the ambiguities and tensions at the heart of Mormon culture reveals a faith tradition more complex and multi-dimensional than the caricatures often generated by the simplistic language of sound-bites and presidential campaigns.
    The odyssey of the Mormon faith in American history is perhaps in this case the greatest paradox of all. The church has gone from being a public enemy to be exterminated, in the words of a 19th century Missouri governor, to the quintessential American religion, in the view of more recent observers. The status of Mitt Romney as a contender for the presidential ticket is a sign of that progress. That his religion is, in the eyes of many, a potential disqualifier for that office, is a sign of progress yet to be made.

    December 3, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. Harry, Atlanta GA

    If so many are willing to so easilly dismisss Mormonism, why are so many so violently opposed to it? If you don't agree, why not just let it go? It reminds me of how much Christ was persecuted by the Romans and Jews. They fear what they do not understand.

    Anyway, like others have said, we are electing a president, not national preacher and just as Kennedy was not led by the Vatican, the same holds true with Romney...

    December 3, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. Aburgess, Phoenix, AZ

    Do you want an unknown quantity running the United States of America and the free world?

    Romney and all Mormons have sworn an oath to "obey" the head of their church – the so called "prophet". The oath includes many things but above all Romney must do as the "prophet" commands or he will go to Hell.

    Do you want a President that is severly compromised with an oath greater than his office?

    Do you want the country's decisions made from Washington, D.C. or Salt Lake City, Utah?

    December 3, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. Dominic,toronto,canada

    It is disappointing to hear Americans questioning the religious beliefs of Mitt Romney and not looking at his other attributes.Do we really know what God thinks of us who claim our faith is better than others.Mitt has demonstrated more moral discipline than some of the religious zealots who always want to be king makers.America needs Mitt Romney's services in this trying times.

    December 3, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. Aaron, Belleville MI

    Nice to see that all the so called "Christians" posting here have so much room in their hearts for hatred of other people because of their beliefs. I guess that's what Jesus taught right? True Christianity is about love and not hate. Try reading a Bible some time.

    And the next time you try to shine the light of absurdity on someone elses faith or beliefs, just remember, you are opening YOURSELF up to questions of YOUR sanity for believing the things you do. You believe that God appeared as a burning bush and talked to a man who could turn a stick into a snake? Really? You believe that God told a man to build a giant ship that held all the animals in the world? REALLY? You believe a man that was actually God yet also a man, raised the dead and healed the sick, died for all the sins of the world and came back to life? I mean COME ON!! How gullible do you have to be!

    Well I believe all those things, and I'm a Mormon. It's not gullibility, and it's not insanity, and it's not a CULT. It's FAITH. And the day when faithful people with totally illogical beliefs ridicule SOMEONE ELSE'S TOTALLY ILLOGICAL BELIEFS is a sad day indeed. Stop being hypocrites and start being CHRISTIANS. Look into your hearts and ask your savior to forgive your hatred and venom. Ask him to cleanse your soul with his atoning blood and fill your heart with his love. Then maybe you'll know what it means to BE a Christian and not just SAY you're one.

    December 3, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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