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Mormon Billboards Go Up Across Denver Area

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – A series of new billboards promoting Mormonism have just gone up around Denver at a time when the religion is the focus of a new national political discussion.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is currently fending off a recent wave of controversy over his Mormon faith. The topic arose over the weekend after pastor Robert Jeffress called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “a cult” at the Christian-based Values Voter Summit in Washington.

CBSNews.com Coverage: Romney calls for Religious tolerance

“Were not a cult. We are a Christian religion. We believe in Jesus Christ,” church spokesman Lynn Southam told CBS4.

Mormon leaders insist their decision to launch the campaign at this time is not a political move and has nothing to do with Romney’s presidential bid.

“We are politically neutral. We don’t endorse anyone. We dont have any reason to do so,” Southam said. “We’re about teaching about Christ, not collecting candidates.”

Denver is one of 12 cities that were chosen for the launch of the advertising campaign by the church, which also includes television ads and advertisements on buses. There are 22 billboards now being displayed in Colorado as part of the effort.

“Denver has a large concentration of our members,” said Southam when asked about why Denver was picked.

The church says they spent 4 years researching how Americans perceive their faith and its members. They say that process was the the motivation behind the campaign, which will continue until February in Denver.

While political pundits view Colorado as a swing state, the new ads are also running in states that aren’t typically battleground states such as Arizona, Washington, Texas, Nebraska and Indiana.

“This is kind of a Mormon moment where a lot of people are talking about us, and we want to be part of the conversation,” Southam said.

Romney is not the only Mormon competing for the GOP nomination. Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah, is also currently in the running.

CBSNews.com Coverage: Huntsman dismisses Mormon controversy as “ridiculous sideshow”

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