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5 November 2011

Biden: Romney’s Mormon Faith Shouldn’t Be Election Issue

November 4, 2011

Wall Street Journal

“I think it’s outrageous” that some have suggested they won’t vote for Romney because he is Mormon, Mr. Biden told students at the University of Pittsburgh. “I find it preposterous that in 2011, we’re debating whether or not a man is qualified or worthy of your vote, based on” his religion.

At a political gathering last month, Dallas pastor Richard Jeffress called Mormonism “a cult,” and said evangelical Christians would never accept Mormons as “part of the Christian family.” A day later, Mr. Romney sidestepped the controversy but made an appeal for openness and acceptance.

Mr. Biden, a Roman Catholic, said candidates shouldn’t be disqualified because of their religion, and recalled how he and his family felt vindicated when John F. Kennedy was elected the first Catholic president in 1960. On Friday, a student had asked him how his religion influenced his thoughts on governing and policy.


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Biden: ‘Preposterous’ to question Romney’s faith

November 4, 2011

Fox News

On the same day the Obama campaign blasted Mitt Romney for proposing “reckless cuts” to the federal budget, Vice President Biden rushed to the Republican presidential candidate’s defense on the issue of faith.

In impromptu remarks at the University of Pittsburgh, Biden said it is “preposterous” for Romney’s Mormon faith to be an issue in the 2012 campaign.

Robert Jeffress, a Baptist pastor from Texas who supports Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican presidential race, stirred controversy last month when he suggested Mormonism is a “cult” and charged Romney is not really a Christian.

An unpaid evangelical Christian adviser to Romney, Mark DeMoss later told The Huffington Post he believes the Perry camp may be intentionally injecting the issue into the campaign because they did not stop Jeffress from doing interviews.


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Biden defends Romney’s Mormon faith

November 4, 2011


Vice President Joe Biden defended Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his Mormon faith on Friday, saying it was “outrageous” for anyone to suggest he should not be president because of his religion.

With a new Reuters/Ipsos poll showing President Barack Obama facing a tough fight for re-election next year if Romney is the Republican nominee, Biden acknowledged the former Massachusetts governor “may very well be our opponent.”

Biden weighed in on the issue of Romney’s Mormonism after a controversy over an evangelical Texas pastor’s comments last month. The Democratic vice president also referred to opinion polls that have shown concern among some voters about Romney’s faith.

“I find it preposterous that in 2011 we’re debating whether or not a man is qualified or worthy of your vote based on whether or not his religion … is a disqualifying provision,” Biden told an audience at the University of Pittsburgh.

“It is not. It is embarrassing and we should be ashamed, anyone who thinks that way,” he said in a long response to a student’s question about how his own religious faith affected his philosophy of government.


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Biden defends Romney against attack over religion

November 4, 2011

USA Today

Someone from the Obama administration defended Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today.

Vice President Biden denounced questions about Romney’s religion, saying it is wrong and unfair to suggest the former Massachusetts governor shouldn’t be president because he is a Mormon.

“I think it is outrageous,” Biden said during remarks at the University of Pittsburgh, repeating, “I think it is outrageous.”

Biden also said that Romney “may very well be our opponent” in 2012.


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Mike Stechschulte: U.S. to get lesson in Mormon faith

November 5, 2011

Times Herald (Michigan)

They’re also self-professed Mormons, which at this point, could play a bit more of a significant role.

That’s because as of a 2010 Pew Research Center poll, 1 in 3 Americans say Mormonism is not a Christian religion. The numbers are higher among Protestant pastors, 3 out of 4 of whom share that opinion.

What constitutes a “Christian” is a matter of personal opinion, but given the stakes, those figures don’t bode well for either man trying to convince a largely evangelical GOP public otherwise.

Recognizing this, Romney in 2007 gave a JFK-styled speech in which he highlighted the commonalities between his religion and mainline Christianity: He honors God, loves his neighbor and believes Jesus died for his sins.

Romney didn’t touch on the differences, which are substantial. For one, Mormons don’t believe in the Trinity. They believe in three distinct gods, rather than one God in three persons, a tenant of mainline Christianity.

While Mormons believe Jesus is God in human form, they also believe God the Father has a human form, with flesh and bones, and that he lives on a planet near a star called Kolob. Jesus is his literal son.


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Mormons are Christians known for serving humanity

November 4, 2011

Asbury Park Press (New Jersey)

I am writing in the hope that my words will clear up some misconceptions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as “The Mormon Church” (Oct. 23 @Issue cover story, “Is Mormonism truly a cult?”).

We are indeed a Christian church, as evidenced by our first Article of Faith, which states: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”

The church was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith Jr., 10 years after he saw a vision of the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The vision was the result of fervent prayer as to which Protestant sect he should join. He was told to join none of them.

Smith was subsequently instructed by angelic visitors, one of these being Moroni, the son of Mormon, an ancient prophet. Mormon abridged the writings that Smith translated as “The Book of Mormon.”


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What does it mean to be a Mormon?

November 5, 2011

Action News (Pennsylvania)

In 1839, eager to share his revelations, Smith came to a Center City Temple, drawing a crowd believed to be 3,000 strong.

Encouraged, Smith himself established the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon Church, in Philadelphia.

“It is, it was one of the first branches of the church outside of the area where they were at the time, back in Ohio,” said Robert Smith.

Today, that branch is massive; 13 so-called Stakes in Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware; 94 different congregations.

In all, there are now 32,000 Mormons living, working and worshipping in the Philadelphia area. A group that has almost doubled in size since 1990, and includes such famous faces as Eagles coach Andy Reid, and Phillies ace, Roy Halladay who was raised a Mormon.


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Pastor shares what he knows about his time as a Mormon

November 4, 2011


A local pastor’s new book, “Understanding Your Mormon Neighbor,” ($10, Zondervan) is designed to help Christians interact more positively with their friends and associates who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I’m sympathetic to Mormons in a lot of ways so it’s not an anti-Mormon book at all,” said Ross Anderson, a pastor at the nondenominational Alpine Church with campuses in Riverdale, West Haven and Layton. He also works as a consultant to various Christian churches and has a ministry called Utah Advance designed to help Christian congregations succeed in Utah.

“When it comes to Mormonism, I am an insider and an outsider,” Anderson writes in his book’s preface. “I grew up in an active Latter-day Saint family and have lived among the Mormons in Utah for almost 30 years.

“Yet, I have not been a Mormon since early adulthood. As a young man, I rejected the teachings of Mormonism and subsequently embraced an evangelical version of the historic, biblical Christian faith.


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Fashion: E-zine’s success exceeds Mormon entrepreneur’s modest expectations

November 4, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune

When you meet modest-fashion maven Jen Loch, who has tens of thousands following her online magazine and store, you might expect another cute, wide-eyed Mormon blogger who has taken her faith, values, innocence and, of course, fashion sense onto the Internet.

Loch, a 30-year-old sometime model and online entrepreneur, fits most of that pattern — she’s got the eyes and fashion sense, for sure. But she came by her commitment to dressing modestly the hard way. And Loch, a lifelong Mormon who came to Utah via Nashville and Los Angeles, is disarming in admitting she’s a work in progress.

“I don’t consider myself the most modest person,” she says during a recent interview in a Provo café. Loch is wearing skinny jeans, for instance. Many readers of her magazine Jen or shoppers at JenClothing.com denounce skinny jeans as indecent attire.


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Targeting Mormon faith should be off-limits in election, statement says

November 4, 2011

The Catholic Review (Maryland)

Comments made recently about the religious affiliation of presidential candidates – notably the Mormon faith of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – have no place in American political campaigns, say several dozen academics, diplomats and other prominent Catholics.

In a statement released Nov. 2 at a Washington news conference led by former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Thomas Melady, the statement says there is “significant danger to the goal of our forefathers; maintaining harmony and understanding among all faiths and rejecting bigoted questions and comments about personal religious beliefs.”

Melady said the impetus to issue the statement arose from comments made in early October at the Values Voter Summit in Washington by the Rev. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of a megachurch, First Baptist Church of Dallas. Rev. Jeffress told reporters that Mormonism is a “cult,” and that Romney is not a Christian.

In their statement, the Catholic signers recalled the history of anti-Catholic rhetoric in elections, from the 1928 campaign of Al Smith through John F. Kennedy’s 1960 race and the 2004 campaign of Sen. John Kerry. It noted that there has been less expression of religious bias or bigotry in recent elections, but that the comments at the Values Voter Summit “bring to the forefront the unfortunate prospect that the discussion of a man’s particular religious belief may become a major divisive political issue.”

It said that as Catholics of different political persuasions, they “wish to cite our concern and our determination to assure that not only civility be maintained in the public discourse but that all inclinations to raise the issue of personal religious affiliation be avoided.


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Mitt Romney Converts from Mormon to Evangelicalism

November 4, 2011

The Spoof

Mitt Romney continued: “The Prime Minister of Israel said to me ‘Mitt about the Mormon President thing, forget about it, it’s not happening. Open your eyes man. They don’t want a Mormon. They want a born again Evangelical. Are you blind misheganah? How many races do you need to lose? Convert to Evangelical and you win going away like Secretariat, like Pegasus, like Jesus on his horse from Heaven. It’s a landslide man.’ The funny thing is that when I thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for saving my life and my career he said ‘What helicopter?”


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Mormons weed out Sherwood Park

November 5, 2011

Rouse Hill Times (Australia)

SHERWOOD Park at Quakers Hill was a hive of activity on October 29 for the local members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Armed with gloves, picks, and bags, they were charged with pulling out the African love grass, which inhibits the growth of native grasses and shrubs.

“This was one of three park clean ups we did for the Blacktown City Council,” said church member and missionary Amisha Gaundar.

Church public affairs director John Cunniffe said the project was one of hundreds held by the church across Australia as part of its National Helping Hands Day.


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Elizabeth Smart refuses to let her past define her

November 4, 2011

Toronto Star (Canada)

Elizabeth Smart was standing on a street in Paris, proselytizing to walkers-by about her Mormon beliefs, when she had a revelation.

Remember Elizabeth Smart? She was the 14-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah, jolted awake one night 10 years ago by a jagged knife at her throat. A deranged man stole her from her bed and raped her most days for the next nine months. He tethered her like a dog to a cable strung between two trees.

I can’t think of a more powerful call to religion. But Smart, at 14, already had strong faith.

Back to France: “I started thinking ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could reach the whole world? Of course, I can’t. But I can reach a lot of people. What are the things most important to me? I never want another child to experience what I experienced.’ ”

When she returned from that 18-month mission trip, she set up the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. It waves a red flag about missing children and child pornography and tries to protect kids from abduction.


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Jews, Evangelicals and 2012: The Sky Is Not Falling

November 4, 2011

Huffington Post

And if the Republicans do capture the White House? Ironically, Jews and progressives are not alone in their concern about evangelical influence in that event. Evangelical voters (and leaders) face their own dilemma. Polls in 2008, the last time former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ran, found that white evangelicals voiced strong skepticism about whether they could support a Mormon for President. While willing to make common cause with Mormons on social issues like abortion and gay marriage, many Southern evangelicals do not consider them Christians. Thus, while evangelicals don’t mind being political bedfellows with Mormons at night, they don’t like walking around with them the next morning in sunlight — or voting for one of them for president.

This issue flared again in October, at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., when the Rev. Robert Jeffress, of the First Baptist Church of Dallas — who introduced Perry at the gathering — described Mormonism in those same terms, igniting a media furor. But in a written statement, Perry came to Romney’s defense.

“The governor does not believe Mormonism is a cult,” a campaign spokesman said. “He is not in the business of judging people. That’s God’s job.” And a Washington Post-ABC poll conducted a week earlier found that the percentage of evangelicals opposed to Romney has dropped to 20 percent.


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Christian Zionists

November 5, 2011

Arab News

The Christian Zionists in Congress are supporting Israel not out of zeal so they may “regain” their promised land of milk and honey but out of self-righteousness. Graduates of Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA are the army of ideological missionaries. These evangelicals (creationists) believe that real knowledge is dangerous: science versus belief. One hundred years ago they were called the “Know-Nothings.” The New Testament promises that Jesus will return (Second Coming) to Jerusalem when all Jews will acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah. For that to happen, all of the land must be in possession by the Jews. The Mormons bought a plot near Mt. Olive in the mid-19th century (today there is Brigham Young University) so they could welcome Jesus. In the meantime, they have been (re) baptizing every dead person (they scan obituaries) on earth so everyone can enter heaven. (two Mormon candidates are running for office).

Needless to say rabbis have asked the Mormons to refrain from doing so? In my opinion, we are witnessing a religious Protestant fundamentalist revival (a la early 20th century, the Moody movement). I call them “nonviolent/passive-aggressive” fanatics. They are funding the settlers.


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Preparing for Primaries

November 4, 2011


By the way, with a record like that, instead of asking if evangelicals can support a Mormon like Romney for president, shouldn’t we be asking how it is Mormons can support a candidate that is such a repudiation of their own moral teaching?


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ID thieves cashing in on dead children’s information

November 4, 2011

ABC Action News (Florida)

Federal officials say ID thieves find their victims in a publicly available federal database: Social Security’s “Death Master File.” It records and lists information about everyone who dies in the United States, including Social Security numbers and birth dates.

The Death Master File, which was created in 1980 to help financial institutions fight fraud, has also been posted — and updated weekly — online for years by popular genealogy sites, including Ancestry.com, which charges a nominal fee, and FamilySearch.org, a free site run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons.

Although there is no national tally of the purloined use of dead children’s identities, the threat has mushroomed in the last five years, said Pat Loder, executive director of The Compassionate Friends USA, a nonprofit organization in Oak Brook, Ill., that serves grieving parents.


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Michael Keegan: Will the GOP Field Ignore Another Pastor Who Says God Sent Hitler to ‘Hunt’ Jews?

November 4, 2011

Yuba Net (California)

As Perry has embraced and promoted these proponents of religious prejudice, his fellow candidates have stood by in silence. Even when Perry endorser Robert Jeffress repeatedly called Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion a “cult” and called Catholicism a “counterfeit religion” created by “Satan,” only one candidate (Jon Huntsman, a Mormon himself) challenged him directly — and Perry kept the endorsement. Even Mitt Romney, who tries to come across as the most reasonable of the bunch, has accepted the endorsement of prominent anti-Muslim advocate Jay Sekulow.

These candidates, of course, are entitled to their personal religious beliefs. But they are running to be the president of all Americans. If they stand by silently while people like Bickle, Hagee and Jeffress peddle bigotry against non-Christian religions, and even against other types of Christians, they’re giving us a hint of how they would approach their presidencies. It’s a frightening vision, and one that the American people are smart enough to see before they go to the polls.

Whatever our differences we should all, at least, be able to agree that Hitler was not sent by God to convert Jews to Christianity; that Catholicism, Mormonism and Islam like all religions are protected by the Constitution; and that Oprah Winfrey is not the Antichrist. Will Perry or any of his fellow candidates stand up and contradict Bickle, Hagee and Jeffress? Can’t we at least start there?


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Community gathers to help with service project

November 4, 2011

Journal Advocate (Colorado)

On Oct. 22, more than 70 community members gathered at the Gary DeSoto Building in Sterling to participate in a service project to benefit the Cooperating Ministry of Logan County.
The volunteers from various area churches, schools, and organizations assembled 200 hygiene kits for men and 200 hygiene kits for women. They also dry packed 175 pounds of beans and 275 pounds of oats to be used to help needy individuals and families. Area residents, churches, and businesses donated approximately $2,000 in cash to buy the supplies or provided the supplies directly.

The project was organized by the Sterling Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the church’s Welfare Program. Similar community-based projects have been organized by church congregations throughout the world during 2011. The Church’s Welfare Program began in 1936 to help Church members suffering from the devastating effects of the Great Depression in the United States. Today, that welfare program has expanded to all corners of the globe and assists people of all faiths.

The objective of the welfare program is to care for the needy while teaching principles that will help people become self-reliant and retain their self-respect. All of the various aspect of the Mormon welfare program come together on the Provident Living website (http://providentliving.org). The website is full of information and resources to help anyone improve their financial, emotional and physical well-being.


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