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14 January 2012

Mormon bashing part of dirty politics in SC

January 13, 2012

Standard Examiner (Utah)

In mailboxes across South Carolina in 2007, likely Republican voters received a Christmas card signed by “The Romney Family” with a quotation from a 19th century Mormon leader suggesting God had several wives.

Mitt Romney’s campaign, just a few weeks away from the 2008 presidential primary in a state where evangelicals look skeptically on the former Massachusetts governor’s Mormon faith, condemned the bogus card as politics at its worst. The sender never took credit. And it was just another anonymous shot in the endless volleys of nasty campaigning in South Carolina.


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Romney Gets Tough Questions at Veterans’ Event

January 13, 2012

Wall Street Journal

It was quickly apparent here Friday night that Mitt Romney’s campaign is no longer in friendly New Hampshire.

At a veterans-themed campaign event, the former Massachusetts governor, a Mormon, was asked by an audience member if he believes in the “divine saving grace of Jesus Christ.”

“Yes, I do,” Mr. Romney replied before noting that the U.S. welcomes all religions.


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Top evangelical: Romney ‘not Mormon enough’ for social conservatives

January 13, 2012

Washington Times

Asked why conservative voters have proven so resistant to Mr. Romney, Mr. Land explained that will some will never vote for him because of his Mormon faith, that others are wary of the fact that during some of his previous campaigns, including his Massachusetts Senate run against Ted Kennedy in 1994, Mr. Romney walked away from the teachings of the Mormon Church, notably on abortion. Mr. Romney, he said, is “not Mormon enough.”

“If his stance on life and his stance on marriage had been consistently what the stance of the Mormon church has been, he would have far less doubts among social conservatives,” he said.


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Ron Paul forms Mormon steering committee

January 13, 2012

Deseret News

One Republican presidential candidate is openly courting support from Mormons, while another White House hopeful is staying cautiously low-key regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

These two candidates are Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

But here’s a game-changer guaranteed to surprise: Paul is actually the man actively courting LDS support, while Romney appears to be purposefully steering clear of religious-centric attention and controversy.

The Paul campaign announced a three-person “Latter-day Saints for Ron Paul” nationwide coalition. Lehi resident and Deseret News contributor Connor Boyack — author of “Latter-day Liberty: A Gospel Approach to Government and Politics” — headlines the group.


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Mitt Skips The Mormon Moment

January 13, 2012

Buzz Feed

It doesn’t take many conversations in this Southern Baptist state to see why members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints complain of widespread discrimination. It’s a place where Mitt Romney’s religion faces regular questions from voters, a laboratory for the findings of a new Pew survey in which Mormons said they face more intolerance than African-Americans.

For some Americans, Romney’s rise has brought with it an increased suspicion of his faith. It has also brought forward Mormons’ own historic sense of discrimination. Spend some time in an LDS chapel and you’re bound to notice a theme of persecution running through the congregational chatter — from outraged recaps of the latest Bill Maher rant, to somber tales of hardship endured by early Mormon pioneers. The religion’s DNA is infused with a sort of outsider’s defensiveness that conditions its adherents to expect bias at every turn–and confront it for the sake of the faith.
But if combatting bigotry, and sometimes complaining about it, is part of the modern Mormon experience, someone forgot to tell Mitt Romney.


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Mormon beliefs may sway U.S. politics

January 14, 2012

Chronicle Herald (Canada)

Mormons and white evangelicals share an intense commitment to family life, prayer, the Bible and conservative politics, including support for the Republican Party and smaller government, according to a new study released Thursday.

But the two groups strongly hold divergent religious beliefs, and half of Mormons surveyed felt hostility from evangelical Christians.

The survey of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was published by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon, fights to keep his GOP front-runner status. The campaign moves next to the Jan. 21 primary in South Carolina, where evangelical voters are key.


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I was (almost) a teenage Mormon

January 14, 2012

Chicago Tribune (Illinois)

They gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon and I read some of it. I went to Sunday school and church each week, and I hung out with college classmates who were LDS. After a few weeks, my missionaries decided it was time to schedule my baptism. Taken aback, I told them I wasn’t quite ready. And after much agonizing, I decided I was never going to be ready — even though it meant a certain fetching female was going to be permanently off-limits.

Why did I walk away? Some of the stories in the Book of Mormon were too hard to believe. I found the church’s orthodoxy intellectually stifling. I felt I didn’t know enough about my own Presbyterian faith to abandon it. I lacked the certitude for such a big step.

Mormons regard themselves as Christians, and I don’t disagree. But theirs is a drastically different type of Christianity. Becoming a Mormon is not like becoming a Methodist.


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GOP poised to make history with non-Protestant presidential nominee

January 13, 2012


“The more interesting question is Mormonism. Because in many Protestants’ eyes, Mormons today stand roughly where Catholics did 60 years ago. They are suspect.”

But Romney, with his “unblemished personal life,” is in a unique position to help guide Mormonism into the mainstream of American politics, Galston says.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley says Americans have achieved enough comfort with Mormonism to make room for a possible Romney presidency.

“Are we ready for a Mormon president? I think the answer is yes,” Brinkley says.

The Mormon population is growing quickly, and more and more people have Mormon friends, he says. “It’s no longer a fringe group growing up. It’s a powerful and important religion.”

Mormons have been recruiting Southern Baptists and Methodists to join their fold, making inroads in communities across the country and raising money, Brinkley says. “The Mormon Church is booming when some of the other denominations are struggling for cash and converts.”


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Mormons in the spotlight: Editor says survey has received positive response

January 14, 2012

Idaho Press Tribune

A new report about Mormons in the United States has received a positive reception from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an editor for the LDS-owned Deseret News said Friday.

The “Mormons in America” survey results were released this week by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. It showed that Mormons think perception of the LDS Church as out-of-the-mainstream may be changing.

“The report paints a rather favorable portrait of Mormons,” Deseret News associate editor and an adviser on the report Allison Pond said. Pond is an LDS member who lives in Salt Lake City.


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Mormons see mainstream acceptance ahead for church

January 13, 2012

North County Times (California)

Mormons and white evangelicals share an intense commitment to family life, prayer, the Bible and conservative politics, including support for the Republican Party and smaller government, according to a new study released Thursday. But the two groups strongly hold divergent religious beliefs, and half of Mormons surveyed felt hostility from evangelical Christians.

The survey of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was published by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon, maintains his GOP front-runner status. The campaign moves next to the Jan. 21 primary in South Carolina, where evangelical voters are key.

Conservative Christians, including Protestants and Roman Catholics, generally do not consider Mormons to be Christian, but it is unclear what role those objections will play in South Carolina vote and beyond. Surveys have found that Republicans with the strongest objections to Mormonism also are among the fiercest opponents to President Barack Obama, and would back a Mormon in the general election.


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Mormon reactions to “The Mormon Moment” mixed

January 13, 2012

KPCC (California)

This may seem like a good time for Mormons in America. Mitt Romney, the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination, is a Mormon, as is John Huntsman, another candidate in the race.

It seems clear now that many republicans and independents will be willing to vote for a Mormon candidate regardless of religion. Support for these candidates could be interpreted as acceptance of Mormonism on a wider scale perhaps never before seen in the U.S.

But according to a poll just released by the Pew Forum on Religion and the Public Life Mormons aren’t feeling the love. Nearly half of those surveyed believe they are subjected to discrimination and many feel they are particularly targeted for criticism by Christian evangelicals.


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Chicago theater offers variety in 2012

January 12, 2012

Chicago Sun Times (Illinois)

This might be the single most exciting year to be a theater buff in Chicago.

“The Book of Mormon,” one of the most talked-about, award-winning plays in the history of Broadway shows, is coming to the Bank of America Theatre in a mere 11 months.


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Kirby: Mormons vs. evangelicals? It isn’t about defining ‘Christian’

January 13, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Two weeks ago, I skipped my own church services and instead attended a Christian community church with some family members.

Because it was only a week since I had provoked the Jesus police over a broader definition of the word “Christian,” I wondered how it would go. Would our differences be all that really mattered?

It never came up. As it turned out, we had a lot in common — way more than we didn’t. The music didn’t hold my attention much, the seating was equally torturous and the preaching ranged from the mildly interesting to the criminally boring. In other words, it was exactly like my church.


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BYU-Idaho Student On Board Of Latter-day Saints For Ron Paul

January 13, 2012

Local 8 News (Idaho)

“The launch of Latter-day Saints for Ron Paul reveals a voter segment not monopolized by any particular candidate,” the campaign said in a news release from Paul’s campaign Friday.

“As members of the LDS Church we are taught to support candidates who uphold the Constitution of the United States. Without question, I know that Congressman Paul best represents that counsel. No one has fought more courageously for our constitutional freedoms,” said BYU-Idaho Dustin Petersen in the news release.

The news release also mentioned the senior from Quincy, Wash., had served an LDS mission to Ecuador.

Although the coalition’s Facebook page quotes LDS leaders on subjects like freedom and the Constitution, the church itself generally takes a neutral position in politics.


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Evangelicals have big voice in South Carolina politics

January 13, 2012

Boston Herald (Massachusetts)

“To my pleasant surprise, a great deal of evangelicals like him,” Benedict, of Greer, said this week. “They are putting that issue aside. They should have four years ago, but on the other hand, here they are.”

Evangelicals are likely to be a formidable force in South Carolina’s Jan. 21 GOP primary, representing nearly 60 percent of likely voters, according to 2008 exit polling.

Still, Romney’s religious faith remains an obstacle for some, as it did in the 2008 primary, when he came in fourth place.

“He’s Mormon. That’s hard for me as a Baptist,” said Jane Morgan, a stay-at-home mom in Greenville who attended a Rick Santorum event Sunday. “I grew up being taught, you know, it’s a cult … I don’t want a president that supports that mystical, cult-like thing.”


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Romney’s evangelical problem

January 13, 2012

World Magazine

It’s not because of his Mormon religion that Bible believers are wary of the candidate. That was so 2008. They’re over it. After three years of Barack Obama, having a Mormon in the White House doesn’t look so bad to them.

Evangelicals are wary because they are looking for a reliable conservative to replace the sitting president, not someone who will cut deals with Democrats, Massachusetts-style. They want someone who will take the side of the unborn, support biblical and traditional marriage, and preserve what remains of our moral environment. They want a champion who will reign in government spending, cut the debt, and free up business to get the economic engine turning again.

In short, they want someone who will lift the government burden from their backs so they can go about their business in the godliness of saints and the dignity of free human beings (1 Timothy 2:2). They don’t want government to be God; they just want it to preserve us in our liberty to do God’s work in the context of a morally supportive and decent society.

Mitt Romney has sent the right signals on all these questions, but evangelicals aren’t sure that isn’t just sweet talk. But regardless of their doubts, if Romney is the nominee evangelical voters will brave wind, sleet, and snow to vote for him rather than suffer four more years of America-suppressing foreign policy, growth-stunting economic policy, and liberty-snatching healthcare policy.


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Slater: At Texas meeting, religious leaders aim to break stalemate on GOP pick

January 14, 2012

Dallas Morning News (Texas)

The important issues for this group are marriage, abortion, support of Israel and the freedom of religious expression. Romney has not always been a conservative stalwart in those areas. And he’s a Mormon, which some evangelicals don’t consider Christian.
“The problem he’s got, his biggest problem, is that he’s not Mormon enough,” said one of the meeting participants, who spoke on the condition that he not be named. “If he’d always held the position on marriage and the sanctity of life that his church holds, he’d have far less problem with social conservatives. They don’t trust he’s one of them.”


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Fire damages building at LA Mormon temple

January 13, 2012

Standard Journal (Idaho)

Because the blaze occurred on church property, the Fire Department’s special house of worship arson task force was called in to investigate, Spence said.

The temple property is patrolled around the clock, but security guards did not indicate they saw any intruders, spokesman Matt Ball said, adding the temple had not received any threats before the fire erupted.

“As far as we know, it’s just an unfortunate accident,” he said.

The 4,000-square-foot building was in the wood framing stage. It is intended to house the Los Angeles Mormon mission president and serve as an administrative welcome center for visitors, Ball said.

Much of the framing was charred, but officials were awaiting a full report before determining the extent of the damage, Ball said.


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Utah AG argues state can ban happy-hour discounts

January 13, 2012

Daily Herald (Utah)

Utah has authority to prevent beer taverns and liquor clubs from offering happy-hour discounts, state attorneys said in a court filing defending peculiar regulations governing liquor in a state dominated by teetotaling Mormons.

A trade group for bars and restaurants filed the federal antitrust lawsuit in June, arguing that the happy hour ban amounted to price fixing by state authorities.

The Utah Hospitality Association amended its lawsuit in October to seek a court order that would prohibit Utah legislators from taking influence from the Mormon church when writing liquor laws.

In a court filing Thursday, the Utah attorney general’s office asked U.S. District Judge Bruce S. Jenkins to throw out the lawsuit.

Because the happy hour ban is applied uniformly throughout Utah, the state argues, it doesn’t violate antitrust law.


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The Rev. Franklin Graham to ABC News: ‘We’re Not Voting for the Pastor-in-Chief’

January 13, 2012

ABC News

With just more than a week before the crucial South Carolina GOP primary, more than 100 conservative Christians and evangelical leaders will gather in Texas this weekend to discuss which of the GOP candidates they will be backing in the race for the White House.

ABC News has learned that Mitt Romney’s campaign will be sending a representative to the meeting with hopes of convincing Christian leaders that Romney, a Mormon, will stand up for the social issues they want front and center come November.
There are signs the group is still conflicted over who will best represent their views in the race for president.


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Largest Choral/Orchestral Group in Nation Debuts #1 on Billboard Charts

January 13, 2012

PR Newswire

Mormon Choral Organizations (MCO), one of the largest choral/orchestral performing groups in the world with more than 1,300 participants in Arizona and California, has just received word that its newly released album, Messiah in America, an original oratorio, debuted at #1 on Billboard magazine’s “Traditional Classical” music chart.
“This is incredible news for our organization and for the hundreds of performers that worked tirelessly to make this album a reality,” said Jeff Crandall, Managing Director of East Valley Mormon Choral Organization. “This week’s charts rank us as #1 on the Traditional Classical chart, list us as a “Hot Shot Debut” on the overall Classical chart, and as a top Independent album. That’s a tremendous feat for a volunteer-driven organization.”


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Utah Democrats defend Romney against “racist” video

January 13, 2012

ABC 4 News (Utah)

Mitt Romney has some unlikely defenders. Utah’s Democratic Party leaders can think of a thousand reasons they will never vote for Romney. And yet, even they are condemning a video making the rounds on the internet that charges Romney and all Mormons are racists.

“He believes the faith of his fathers that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God.” – Attack Ad

Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, Jim Dabakis, Chairman of the State Democratic Party, said, “We were made aware of a video today and we believe that it disturbed not only Democrats, but fair-minded people everywhere.”


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News Roundup: GOP Primaries, Supreme Court Ruling

January 13, 2012


KIM LAWTON (Managing Editor, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly): Well, and we should point out that there are a variety of reasons why a lot of Evangelicals haven’t backed Mitt Romney. His faith is one. A lot of them say they don’t trust him on some of their core issues like abortion. He changed his position. Or they don’t like where he stood on health care some time back. But there is the issue of his Mormon faith. Many Evangelicals don’t consider Mormons real Christians. Now that’s very offensive to members of the LDS Church who say, “We believe in Jesus is the son of God, you know, we believe Jesus is the savior, so yeah we’re real Christians.” But for some Evangelicals, the fact that Mormons don’t believe in the Trinity, they believe that God and Jesus were separate, physical beings, that’s a real difference with traditional Christianity. Mormons believe that God continued revelation in the Book of Mormon. Evangelicals and other Christians, not just Evangelicals, Catholics, mainline Protestants say this is outside the stream of traditional Christianity. So for some Evangelicals that means, “We don’t necessarily really want our president representing that.” Some Evangelicals have said, “That would legitimize a faith which we don’t agree with.”

ABERNETHY: David, is there an anti-Mormon strain within Catholicism?

GIBSON: No there really isn’t, Bob. It’s not showing up in the numbers. Mitt Romney is doing very well with the Catholic vote so far in the primaries that we have so far and he’s still polling well nationally with Catholics who just tend to be a little more moderate, I think, in their views. For them, Mitt Romney is completely acceptable. Perhaps Catholics have a kind of communal memory of the bias that they faced for so long in American culture and they don’t want to inflict that on Mormons as well. And I think that’s an irony that Kim was picking up on, that you see Evangelical bias against Mormons in the culture and perhaps in this election. Yet you see those same Evangelicals flocking to Catholic candidates like Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, who’s a convert to Catholicism.


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Romney gets a faith question in SC

January 13, 2012


Mitt Romney, one of two Mormon candidates in the Republican presidential field, was pressed about his faith by a woman who attended his veteran’s event here.

He was asked to expand on his faith by a woman who asked him: “Do you believe in the divine saving grace of Jesus Christ?”

“Yes, I do,” Romney responded. “I would hope that there are people in our nation that have different beliefs. There are people of the Jewish faith and the Islamic faith and other faiths who believe other things, and our president will be president of the people of all faiths,” he said.

“We welcome people of other faiths. I happen to believe that Jesus Christ is the sone of God and my savior, but I know other people have differing views and I respect those views,and I don’t believe those qualify or disqualify people for leadership in our nation,” he said.

Romney’s careful – and lengthy – response to the question never mentioned Mormonism.


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Mitt Romney’s event on defense turns to religion, job cuts

January 13, 2012

Boston Globe (Massachusetts)

The event here was to focus on veterans and patriotism, but one woman who came to see Mitt Romney this evening wanted to ask him a personal question, she said.

“Do you believe in the divine saving grace of Jesus Christ?”

Murmurs went through the packed room, before Romney, a Mormon, responded: “Yes I do.”

The crowd applauded.


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Analysis: History says South Carolina could turn nasty

January 14, 2012

The Tennessean

In mailboxes across South Carolina in 2007, likely Republican voters received a Christmas card signed by “The Romney Family” with a quotation from a 19th century Mormon leader suggesting God had several wives.

Mitt Romney’s campaign, just a few weeks away from the 2008 presidential primary in a state where evangelicals look skeptically on the former Massachusetts governor’s Mormon faith, condemned the bogus card as politics at its worst. The sender never took credit. And it was just another anonymous shot in the endless volleys of nasty campaigning in South Carolina.


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The Eye of the Liger: Why Animated Series ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Is A Good Bet for Fox

January 13, 2012


John Heder is a good sport. In an interview with New York Magazine, the star of indie hit ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ enthusiastically responded to a question about his thoughts about Mitt Romney and ‘The Book of Mormon.’ True, all three entities have the Latter Day Saints church in common, but that’s about it.


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