Former President Bill Clinton told a group of reporters Tuesday night that he attended "recruiting presentations" for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was growing up in Hot Springs, Ark.
A story by Reid J. Epstein on Politico says Clinton "said he admires the church for its high ethical standards and belief in a celestial kingdom but said the idea of being in heaven without his non-Mormon friends was too much to give up."
Zeke Miller, reporting for BuzzFeed, added that the "two or three Mormon missionaries" teaching young Clinton described heaven "as a pyramid with many levels that put Hitler and Stalin at the very bottom, faithful Mormons on top, and everyone else in between."
And that, according to Clinton, was the sticking point for him.
"I didn't want to leave all these other people behind," he said.
The LDS Church's Newsroom website indicates that Mormon beliefs "(expand) the common notions of heaven and hell."64 comments on this story
"Latter-day Saint teachings state that where we go after this life depends primarily upon the degree to which we accept and follow Jesus Christ, as well as on the desires of our hearts and how we translate those desires into works," the website posting explains. "In addition, our destination after this life depends on whether we participate in the essential rites (such as baptism) that aid us in the process of repentance, progression and sanctification."
A story in Britain's Daily Mail based on the BuzzFeed account says "Mormon missionaries nearly convinced him to convert," but there is nothing in the BuzzFeed online story to support that conclusion.