After famed evangelist Billy Graham met with Mitt Romney, saying he would do all he could to help the Romney campaign, Graham's Evangelistic Association removed from its website Mormonism, where it was listed with Scientology as a religious cult.
The article was deleted following a visit by Mitt Romney to Graham's Montreat, N.C. home Oct. 11.
On Tuesday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed that page has recently been removed from the site, CNN said.
“Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Ken Barun, chief of staff for the association, told CNN in a statement. "We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."
After their meeting, Graham, 93, issued a statement that said in part, "What impresses me even more than Gov. Romney's successful career are his values and strong moral convictions."
"It was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney—for his family and our country," Graham added.
A Romney campaign staffer said Graham pledged to do all he can to help Romney's presidential campaign.
After issuing that statement, a gay rights group pointed out that the "cult" reference remained online, even after Graham's positive comments about Romney's bid for the White House, KSL news reported.
According to the New Civil Rights Movement who first broke the story, shortly thereafter, a page answering the question "What is a cult?" disappeared from Graham’s website. Here's what it said:
A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith. It is very important that we recognize cults and avoid any involvement with them. Cults often teach some Christian truth mixed with error, which may be difficult to detect.
There are some features common to most cults:
• They do not adhere solely to the sixty-six books of the Bible as the inspired Word of God. They add their “special revelations” to the Bible and view them as equally authoritative.
• They do not accept that our relationship to Jesus Christ is a reality “by grace through faith” alone, but promote instead a salvation by works.
• They do not give Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, full recognition as the second Person of the Trinity, composed of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Some of these groups are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists, and others.
Billy Graham's son, Franklin Graham, wrote a column for Decision magazine that concludes Evangelical Christians can indeed vote for a Mormon.
"While there are major differences in the theology of evangelical Christians and that of Mormons, as well as those who practice the Catholic faith or the Jewish faith, we do share common values that are biblically based," he wrote.
"I pray that all Christians and God-fearing Americans, will put aside labels and vote for principles - God's principles - that for many years have resulted in His blessing upon our nation," he added.
In a Gadsden Times article, published on Nov 5, 1958, Billy Graham wrote:
The Mormons, who now number over a million in the US were founded by Joseph Smith in 1820. The Book of Mormon is their scripture. They also use our Christian Bible but they say that prophet Smith found discrepancies in the King James version and retranslated it. Joseph Smith said that he had a vision in which angels told him that the churches of his day were in error and that he had been chosen to re-establish God's true church on earth.
Guided, he said, by these visions, young Smith declared that he discovered in a stone box on the top of a hill in Manchester Ontario County N Y a number of golden plates inscribed with strange writing. These he translated into English and dictated his findings to Allver Cowdy, a former school teacher.
The result of these translations was the Book of Mormon which the Latter Day Saints believe to be the word of God.
They originally practiced polygamy because, they contended, that it was practiced in Bible times; When polygamy was abolished by law in 1890, no more plural marriages were allowed to be continued beyond that date. When Brigham Young died in 1877, he left 17 widows and 47 children.
They ban the use of tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages, but encourage dancing among their young people. They have no paid ministry, each member must serve a missionary term; they believe the gift of tongues, healing, and interpretation of tongues. They do not call themselves, "Gentile, Protestant, or Jewish." However, they refer to non Mormons as Gentiles.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, lists the LDS Church as a theological cult, CNN said.
Surveys show that most evangelicals do not consider Mormons to be Christian. Many of them, however, support Romney's candidacy.