- (Photo: REUTERS/Eric Thayer)
Former President Bill Clinton recently revealed that he once considered joining the Mormon religion, but ultimately could not reconcile his views with the religion's teaching on the afterlife.
Clinton told a group of reporters Tuesday night that he attended "recruiting presentations" held by young missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints, to which GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney belongs, while growing up in Hot Springs, Ark.
According to Politico, Clinton spoke highly of the Mormon religion, saying that he "admires the church for its high ethical standards and belief in a celestial kingdom."
However, Clinton said the "sticking point" was the Mormon's view of the afterlife, which Buzzfeed says the former president described as "a pyramid with many levels that put Hitler and Stalin at the very bottom, faithful Mormons on top, and everyone else in between."
"I didn't want to leave all these other people behind," Clinton said in regards to the Mormon version of heaven, which he feared would leave his loved ones "out of the top level."
As the Salt Lake Tribune points out, Clinton's account doesn't completely match the religion's doctrine, which allows for all people to ascend to the "top level" of heaven if they choose to accept Mormon teaching once they enter the afterlife.
Although Clinton, raised a Southern Baptist, did once entertain the idea of following Mormonism, he has reportedly chosen to pursue certain aspects of Buddhism to help him live a healthier lifestyle after suffering heart problems in 2004.
"Ever since his heart scare, Bill has looked for ways to help him relax," a source told RadarOnline last month in an exclusive report.
"He has a hectic life, he travels a lot on business as an ambassador for the U.S. and needs something to keep him sane," the person presumably close to Clinton added. "Meditation offers him that, he has a mantra that he likes to chant and after every session he feels transformed and full of positive energy."