WASHINGTON – Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, asks in an upcoming article, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
The article, to be published in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, says Huckabee asked the question after saying he believes Mormonism is a religion but doesn't know much about it. His rival Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is a member of the Mormon church, which is known officially as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The authoritative Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published in 1992, does not refer to Jesus and Satan as brothers. It speaks of Jesus as the son of God and of Satan as a fallen angel, which is a Biblical account.
A spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Huckabee's question is usually raised by those who wish to smear the Mormon faith rather than clarify doctrine.
"We believe, as other Christians believe and as Paul wrote, that God is the father of all," said the spokeswoman, Kim Farah. "That means that all beings were created by God and are his spirit children. Christ, on the other hand, was the only begotten in the flesh and we worship him as the son of God and the savior of mankind. Satan is the exact opposite of who Christ is and what he stands for."
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said Romney will not debate candidates on their faith or question their faith.
"For those who want to know how Governor Romney's faith informs his values, they can look at how he lives his life and how he has raised his family," Madden said.
Earlier this month in Iowa, Huckabee wouldn't say whether he thought Mormonism — rival Romney's religion — was a cult.
"I'm just not going to go off into evaluating other people's doctrines and faiths. I think that is absolutely not a role for a president," the former Arkansas governor said.
While he said he respects "anybody who practices his faith," Huckabee said that what other people believe — he named Republican rivals Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton — "is theirs to explain, not mine, and I'm not going to."
He also resisted wading into theology when pressed to explain why some evangelicals don't view the Mormon faith as a Christian denomination.