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13 April 2012

At Age 19, From Utah to Uganda

April 13, 2012

New York Times

Each day he rises with the African sun to say his prayers before venturing into the urban wilderness of Kampala, Uganda, a churning kaleidoscope of motorcycles, street urchins, vegetable carts and pterodactyl-like storks that circle office towers and lampposts. They orbit above him as he makes his way up and down the muddy hills of the capital city, careful to keep his black pants and white shirt clean, scanning faces in search of those who will listen to him speak of his faith. His Mormon faith.

As one of the fastest-growing religions in the United States, with 14 million followers; with a hit Broadway musical about two 19-year-old Utahns in Uganda; and with a member, Mitt Romney, poised to challenge Barack Obama for the presidency, Mormonism is basking in the mainstream spotlight. The church gained nearly 400,000 members in 2010, about 70 percent of them converted by college-age missionaries like Elder Dangerfield.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/education/edlife/at-age-19-from-utah-to-uganda.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1&hp

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Poll: Mormon stance on gay marriage causing loss of faith

April 13, 2012

Q Salt Lake (Utah)

The church’s opposition to California’s Proposition 8 and its overall stance on homosexuality are the main contributing social factors causing people to leave the Mormon faith, according to a recent nonscientific survey.

The study conducted by Mormon Stories, a nonprofit support community committed to helping Mormons in faith crises, found most frequently that there are various factors in most people’s decisions to lose faith in the Mormon Church. However, the four most common factors contributing to disbelief are ceasing to believe in the church’s doctrine and theology, studying church history, losing faith in Joseph Smith and losing faith in the Book of Mormon. The three principle social issues for people leaving the faith are the church’s stance on homosexuals and Proposition 8, women and race.

http://qsaltlake.com/2012/04/13/poll-mormon-stance-on-gay-marriage-causing-loss-of-faith/

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Pat Robertson Flip-Flops, ‘Endorses’ Mitt Romney? Says Mormonism Not an Issue

April 13, 2012

Christian Post

Conservative Christian and one-time Republican presidential hopeful Pat Robertson appears to have gone back on his word that he would not be endorsing a candidate for the 2012 presidency. Robertson indicated his change of heart when responding to viewers of his Christian program who have expressed concerns about possibly having Mitt Romney, a Mormon, in the executive office.

Robertson, speaking during “The 700 Club” produced by his Christian Broadcasting Network, addressed questions asked by viewers related to former Pennsylvania Senator and devout Roman Catholic Rick Santorum withdrawing from the GOP race, leaving room for the advancement of Romney, the projected party nominee.

The CBN founder and chairman, who said in January that he believed God had revealed to him in prayer who the next president of the United States would be, suggested on the widely-aired program Wednesday that Romney would indeed be the likely GOP candidate to face President Barack Obama at the polls in November.

“Well, his father George was a Mormon. He was governor of Michigan, did a superb job as governor. He’s not running for Chief Rabbi or Chief American Pastor. He’s running for Chief Executive, and he’s a skilled lawyer, he’s a skilled businessman. And that’s what we need… somebody would bring business acumen to the White House,” Robertson told viewers Wednesday.

http://global.christianpost.com/news/pat-robertson-flip-flops-endorses-mitt-romney-says-mormonism-not-an-issue-73094/

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With Santorum Out, Will Evangelicals Back Romney?

April 12, 2012

National Public Radio

Is the Mormon issue equally irrelevant among social conservatives these days?

LAND: As a political issue, I think it is, yes. There is a fundamental difference however. And that is that most evangelicals – most conservative evangelicals – believe that Catholics are Christian brethren with whom we have doctrinal disagreements. They believe that Mormonism is another religion. But they also don’t think that should disqualify Mitt Romney from running for president or being president.

http://www.npr.org/2012/04/12/150516905/after-santorum-will-evangelicals-find-ally-in-romney

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Romney vs. Romney

April 13, 2012

New York Times

Romney’s political problems begin, in a basic sense, with his family history. The authors trace the intertwined histories of Romney’s ancestors and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, beginning with his great-great-grandfather Miles Archibald Romney, who became an early convert to Mormonism in 1837. Mitt’s great-grandfather had undertaken the pioneer journey to the Utah Territory as a boy, and when he refused to abandon what Mormons considered the divinely ordained practice of “plural marriage” — he had three wives at that point — he fled federal agents to establish a colony in Mexico; the family remained there after the Mormon Church agreed to ban po衍ygamy in 1890 as a condition of Utah’s gaining statehood. Mitt’s grandfather was not polygamous and returned destitute to the United States after Mexican rebels confiscated the colony’s property. Mitt’s father, George Romney, was elected governor of Michigan in 1962, ran unsuccessfully for president in 1968, and became a member of Richard Nixon’s cabinet as secretary of housing and urban development.

It’s an exotic but unquestionably American success story, even though the first generations of Mormon Romneys spent their lives in bitter conflict with the United States. Mitt Romney takes evident “pride in his standing” as a member of “one of Mormonism’s first families,” according to Kranish and Helman. He has given the church millions of dollars and has occupied high positions in its hierarchy. He abides by his faith’s prohibitions on alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and profanity. The authors portray him as an adoring husband, a devoted father and a doer of many unpublicized good deeds.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/books/review/the-real-romney-by-michael-kranish-and-scott-helman.html

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Book Reviews: The Presidents & Their Faith

April 13, 2012

Baptist Standard

How much do you know about Mormonism? Perhaps you’ve enjoyed their magnificent Tabernacle Choir. Possibly you’ve encountered their clean-cut missionaries. Maybe you understand adherents don’t ingest caffeine. Possibly you’re aware of the TV show Sister Wives. Almost certainly, you’ve heard talk of a Mormon presidential candidate’s faith. But what do you really know?

Judy Robertson shares her story in Out of Mormonism. Typical of many converts, Robertson and her husband admired the group’s clean living and family values. After an unpleasant experience in their family’s mainline Protestant church and after moving three states away from home, the Robertsons became easy marks.

In this newly revised edition, the author details the family’s journey into fully embracing Mormonism. But she also tells how the couple made the difficult transition back to a Bible-believing church and the heart-wrenching impact their decision had on their two children and her husband’s job.

http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13708&Itemid=42

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Obama, Romney: Self-Professed Christians Whom Many Christians Don’t Believe Actually Are Christians

April 13, 2012

Christian Post

In a case where someone is within a religious tradition which evangelical Christians consider to be outside of “biblical Christianity,” most evangelicals would believe such a person could be a Christian. For example, if you ask an evangelical, “Could a Mormon be a Christian?” they will generally say “yes” but will follow up stating that as a Christian they should and will eventually leave Mormonism.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/obama-romney-self-professed-christians-whom-many-christians-dont-believe-actually-are-christians-73168/

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Evangelical Leader: Romney-Huckabee Would Make ‘Appealing’ GOP Ticket

April 12, 2012

National Public Radio

Land also mentioned the Republican governors of Virginia, New Jersey and Louisiana, but Siegel reacted to a potential Romney-Huckabee ticket: “That would be a ticket of somebody who’s been a bishop in the Mormon church, and someone who’s been a preacher in the Baptist church. You would find that an appealing ticket?”

Land, prefacing his comments with “only in America,” said, “I would. I don’t endorse candidates. But I think most social conservatives would find it a very appealing ticket.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/04/12/150517674/evangelical-leader-romney-huckabee-would-make-appealing-gop-ticket

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Marco Rubio, a Catholic, Remembers Little of His Time in the Mormon Church

April 13, 2012

ABC News

Rubio said he respects those who have adopted the Mormon faith and believes they are Christians.

“Yeah, look, I don’t get into that whole debate, I’m not a theologian,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for the Mormon Church; I have a lot of respect for members of the Mormon faith. They believe in Jesus Christ, and they consider themselves Christians and I consider them Christians.”

Rubio’s ties to Mormonism first surfaced in February when a report by Buzzfeed indicated he was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a child. According to family members, the conversion occurred while his family lived in the same Nevada neighborhood as his aunt’s family, who had converted to Mormonism years before. Michelle Denis, a cousin of Rubio, recounted the young Rubio encouraging his family to be active participants in their new church.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/04/marco-rubio-a-catholic-remembers-little-of-his-time-in-the-mormon-church/

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Exclusive: Rubio Explains Tie To Mormon Church In Upcoming Autobiography

April 12, 2012

CBS Miami (Florida)

Jim DeFede sat down with Rubio earlier this week for a rare, nearly hour long interview on a wide range of topics – from speculation that Mitt Romney will tap him to be his vice president, to his controversial stance on contraception, to his brief childhood stint as a Mormon.

“What do you remember about your time in the Mormon Church?” I asked.

“Well I was very young,” he said. “I don’t remember a lot other than the fact that my parents – especially my mom – really wanted to put us in a very wholesome environment.”

http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/04/12/exclusive-rubio-explains-tie-to-mormon-church-in-upcoming-autobiography/

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Mitt Romney’s Mormon dilemma: To reach voters, should he discuss his faith?

April 12, 2012

Christian Science Monitor

This rare discussion of Mormon practice offered a glimpse into Romney the man, and raised an important question: As the presumptive Republican nominee struggles with likability, should he open up more about the role that faith has played in his life?

The Mormon issue is a double-edged sword. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its formal name, is poorly understood and viewed warily by many Americans – including evangelicals, an important part of the Republican base.

But for Romney, a fifth-generation Mormon deeply involved in his church, including missionary service in France as a young man, more discussion of his pastoral activities could help warm up his image and show that he understands the problems of ordinary Americans.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/2012/0412/Mitt-Romney-s-Mormon-dilemma-To-reach-voters-should-he-discuss-his-faith

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Spotlight on Ann Romney Key to Campaign Strategy

April 13, 2012

Wall Street Journal

The couple grew up in the tony Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, where Mrs. Romney’s industrialist father was once mayor. They met in high school at Cranbrook Schools, a private school in Michigan. While Mitt, then her boyfriend, was working in France as a Mormon missionary, Mrs. Romney–the former Ann Davies–decided to convert, and was schooled in the faith by Mitt’s father, George, then the Michigan governor. The Romneys wed when Ann was 19, in a Mormon ceremony covered by the Detroit News society pages.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303624004577338192448854530.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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The social conservative’s case for Mitt Romney

April 13, 2012

Washington Post

The media will make Romney’s Mormon faith as much as an issue as voters let it become. As conservatives, let’s take the high ground and practice what we preach. We judge a candidate by their actions and pledges, not their personal faith. Remember that those who deride the Mormon faith on the left think that you as an evangelical are really no different. Do not fall into the trap.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/religious-right-now/post/the-social-conservatives-case-for-mitt-romney/2012/04/13/gIQAD4A6ET_blog.html

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Evangelicals Want Reassurances From Romney on Pro-Life, Marriage Stance

April 13, 2012

Christian Post

“As I’ve said for many months, Gov. Romney’s Mormon faith is not his greatest obstacle,” Land told The Christian Post. “The concern of most Christians is that Romney may not be Mormon enough because he has waffled on the issues of abortion and traditional marriage. Both are basic tenants of the Mormon faith as well as Christianity.”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/evangelicals-want-reassurances-from-romney-on-pro-life-marriage-stance-73195/

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Voters Who Rejected Romney Now His Most Certain Votes

April 13, 2012

National Public Radio

Bullock points that out some evangelicals may be wary of casting a vote for Romney because of his Mormon faith, but doubts that enough will stay home to tilt any Southern states toward Obama.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/04/13/150513935/voters-who-rejected-romney-now-his-most-certain-votes

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Would Hilary Rosen Have Criticized Stay-at-Home Dads as Never Having Worked?

April 13, 2012

Huffington Post

Still, this is my opinion. Others may disagree. And that’s the whole point of the need for Rosen’s apology. Rosen is a political consultant with two kids. G-d bless her. It’s beautiful that she has chosen to do both. But it is not for her to judge other people’s choices. Besides, if Rosen had had five kids rather than two — and Mormons, like Jews, have large families — she might have found it slightly more challenging to sustain her career.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-shmuley-boteach/hilary-rosen-stay-at-home-moms_b_1423803.html

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Romney should answer Mormonism questions

April 13, 2012

Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minnesota)

Now that the GOP presidential campaign is pivoting from internal competition to the race for November, it is past time for Mitt Romney to address relevant questions about his religion.

These are not questions about the afterlife or sacred clothing, but questions about how some of the distinctive aspects of doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints might inform his approach to governing.

President Obama, not that it gets him traction among his more rabid critics, has labored mightily to explain how his understanding of Christian social gospel has helped inform some of his policy decisions. Romney has been less forthcoming about how Mormon beliefs have shaped him.

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/147312045.html

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Mormon Smith’s Many Wives, Presidential Run: Lewis Lapham

April 12, 2012

Bloomberg

It is not clear how many wives Mormon founder Joseph Smith married under divine commandment — some estimates put the number at 30.

Dissenters from the practice — including top Mormons William Law, his wife Jane and brother Wilson — were excommunicated.

The three saw Smith as a fallen prophet and organized a new church that practiced “true Mormonism.” On June 7, 1844, Law published a newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor, revealing the “abominations and whoredoms” practiced by Smith and others.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-13/mormon-smith-s-many-wives-presidential-run-lewis-lapham.html

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Allan Katz and Danae Columbus: Racial issues with Mormon faith could become issue for Romney

April 13, 2012

Uptown Messenger

Is America ready for a President whose faith includes doctrines that may be offensive in today’s multicultural society? Now that the Republican presidential nomination has been settled, Democratic opposition researchers are telling President Barack Obama’s campaign that Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith could well emerge as a distressing problem for the challenger.

While Romney’s Mormon faith did not become a major issue during the fight for the Republican nomination, it’s hard to believe that it won’t become an issue at some point in the general election. The Mormon church openly discriminated against African-Americans until 1978, and has ignored calls since then to repudiate earlier, racist statements by church authorities. Dark-skinned peoples in the Book of Mormon are described as “cursed,” marked with dark skin for their “transgression and rebellion.”

http://uptownmessenger.com/2012/04/allan-katz-and-danae-columbus-racial-issues-with-mormon-faith-could-become-issue-for-romney/

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Ranking the Republican presidential candidates: The best and worst

April 13, 2012

Washington Post

No, Romney’s campaign wasn’t perfect. And yes, Romney as a candidate was far from perfect. And yes, the field of challengers against him was among the weakest in modern presidential history. But, he won. And, he won despite a number of strikes against him — Mormon, moderate (tonally), and health care among them. Romney effectively leveraged his clear advantages in the race — money and organization — to insulate himself from the fact that he never was going to be the first choice of conservatives.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/ranking-the-republican-presidential-candidates-the-best-and-worst/2012/04/13/gIQA6HOEFT_blog.html

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The Golden Ring: The Quest for the US Presidency

April 13, 2012

Scoop Independent News

After Joseph Smith found his holy plates (metal pages) in an 1823 cliffside in upstate New York, and wrote what became Mormon scripture, The Book of Mormon, he set up a community of true believers; but again and again, in the land of the free, from New York to Ohio to Missouri to Illinois to Missouri… they were attacked, killed, and driven out. Finally after Smith was killed by a mob in 1844, Brigham Young led the remnants west, into the hauntingly beautiful desert mesa country, beyond America, beyond civilization… where they ruled the state they created, Utah, for over a century. Even there, in 1857 the US Government sent an army against them over the banned practice of polygamy, which they finally abolished in1904.

In his trek towards the probable Repub Presidential candidacy, Mitt Romney must feel echoes of his religion’s past, as one after another pretender arises and is anointed front runner… for a few weeks or days, then drops away, by the fundamentalist base of the Republican Party, desperate to stop the ascension of a “cultist” Mormon, who are not considered Christian. Even among general US pop, 38% don’t think Mormons are Christians, however 67% view them favorably, though 82% know little or nothing about them, according to the Public Religion Research Institute. The perhaps insurmountable problem for Romney is 42% of Americans wouldn’t feel comfortable with a Mormon as President as late as Nov 2011, only 40% even realized he was Mormon (although similar attitudes existed about blacks before the advent of Obama).

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1204/S00092/the-golden-ring-the-quest-for-the-us-presidency.htm

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Obama, Romney both have family histories with polygamy

April 13, 2012

USA Today

Consider what author David Maraniss discovered that Obama and Romney have in common: Polygamy in their family trees.

Romney’s family history is better known, given the publicity surrounding his membership in the Mormon church.

But Maraniss, whose biography of Obama is due out in June, writes in The Washington Post that “the line of polygamists in Obama’s family can be traced back generations in western Kenya, where it was an accepted practice within the Luo (pronounced LOO-oh) tribe.”

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2012/04/obama-romney-have-family-histories-with-polygamy/1#.T4iTOVFrPd4

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The polygamists in Obama and Romney’s family trees

April 12, 2012

Washington Post

The line of polygamists in the Romney family traces back generations, when it was an accepted practice in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His paternal great-grandfathers, Miles Park Romney and Helaman Pratt, were born in the United States but lived for decades in Mexico. Pratt was a Mormon missionary there; Miles Park Romney left Utah for Mexico with a tribe of polygamous Mormons after the practice was outlawed in the United States in 1890.

Pratt had five wives. Miles Park Romney had four, and 30 children, one of whom was Gaskell Romney. The polygamy stopped at Gaskell, who had a single wife and seven children. One of the children, George, was born in a Mormon colony in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, although he was nonetheless a U.S. citizen. He was Mitt’s father.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obama-and-romney-both-come-from-a-ancestry-of-polygamy/2012/04/12/gIQA3TI8CT_story.html

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Civics fight Mormon church variance for 33rd Ave. chapel

April 13, 2012

Times Ledger (New York)

The March 2012 Kissena Park Civic Association Newsletter has printed a story by Zoning Chairman Joe Amoroso about their fight against a Mormon church which wants to build a large chapel in an R2A-zoned residential neighborhood. It had purchased three contiguous homes on large lots which it tore down in anticipation of getting the project approved by the city Board of Standards and Appeals.

http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2012/15/harris_ft_2012_04_12_q.html

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Baptist leader Land views Mormons and LDS Church as competition

April 12, 2012

Examiner

In a published interview in Time online April 11, 2012 Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the South Baptist Convention stated that “…Mormons and evangelicals are in competition”.

This guarded stance may help explain the often hostile views that Baptists and many evangelicals in general have towards the LDS Church. Even among what are often labeled “mainline” Christian churches there are significant doctrinal differences. Yet, the LDS faith seems to have been singled out as the target of near-obsessive public and private negative comments.

Land went on to say that “Most evangelicals know what Mormons believe. Their pastors have taught them in order to inoculate them against the missionaries going door to door.”

http://www.examiner.com/lds-in-houston/baptist-leader-land-views-mormons-and-lds-church-as-competition

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Provo to vote on vacating road for Mormon temple

April 12, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

The Provo Municipal Council is expected to pave the way for the LDS Church to buy a street next to the remains of the Provo Tabernacle.

The council will vote Tuesday on a request to vacate 100 South between University Avenue and 100 West. The Planning Commission recommended approving the vacation in March.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/53903538-90/church-provo-temple-100.html.csp

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TWITTER TUBE: Will Swenson Shares ‘Mormon Curse’ Song with BOOK OF MORMON Company

April 12, 2012

Broadway World

Today, Will Swenson shared a song he wrote several years ago celebrating “the beauty of Mormon cursing” with the company of THE BOOK OF MORMON via Twitter. Enjoy the song, Dang, Fetch, Oh My Heck by Everclean/Sons of Provo in the video below!

Swenson, born a Mormon, currently stars in Broadway’s PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT. His first feature film as a writer and director was Sons of Provo, from which the song comes. The movie won several film festivals, and was released in 2005.

THE BOOK OF MORMON, with book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, choreography by Casey Nicholaw and directed by Nicholaw and Parker, tells the satirical story of Mormon missionaries in Africa.

http://broadwayworld.com/article/TWITTER-TUBE-Will-Swenson-Shares-Mormon-Curse-Song-with-BOOK-OF-MORMON-Company-20120412

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Man spends 12 months practicing 12 different religions, and finds peace at year’s end

April 13, 2012

Washington Post

As a teen, Bowen said he was extremely critical of faiths different from his own. Once when a pair of male Mormon missionaries visited his home, Bowen said he chased them down the street as they retreated on their bicycles.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/man-spends-12-months-practicing-12-different-religions-and-finds-peace-at-years-end/2012/04/13/gIQA5m3WFT_story.html

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Belief Blog’s Morning Speed Read for Friday, April 13

April 13, 2012

CNN

Tweet of the Day:
From @askmormongirl: For many Mormon women, being a SAHM is a religious choice. Liberal folks should tread lightly.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/13/belief-blogs-morning-speed-read-for-friday-april-13/

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