SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - MSNBC pundit Lawrence O'Donnell issued an apology over comments he made about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its founding prophet Joseph Smith.
The apology came following outrage and backlash over comments O'Donnell made
following Mitt Romney's primary sweep on April 3 during his "Last Word" show.
O'Donnell criticized the Church, saying, "Mormonism was created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it. Forty-eight wives later, Joseph Smith's lifestyle was completely sanctified in the religion he invented to go with it. Which Mitt Romney says he believes."
On Wednesday, O'Donnell appeared contrite while recognizing the "overwhelmingly negative" response to his original comments. O'Donnell noted that while Mormons responded in force, members of other faiths also condemned his thoughts.
"I am truly sorry if I said something inaccurate about Joseph Smith," said O'Donnell.
The cable news host also apologized that his comment distracted from what he considered to be his original point - that religious intolerance is "wrong," including intolerance toward non-believers.
O'Donnell has been critical of the LDS faith before, calling Joseph Smith a "lying, fraudulent criminal" in 2007 after Mitt Romney made is "Faith in America" speech just before the 2008 presidential primaries. At one point O'Donnell said, "Romney comes from a religion that was founded by a criminal who was anti-American, pro-slavery, and A RAPIST!"
Following his apology, O'Donnell said he invited church leaders to appear as guests on his show, to which they have always declined.