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June 24th, 2011
02:11 PM ET

Explain it to me: Mormonism

With two Mormons running for the Republican presidential nomination and a play riffing on the religion tearing up Broadway, the country appears to be having a Mormon moment.

Here are 10 facts about Mormonism. What other questions do you have about the faith?

1. The official name of the Mormon church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2. Mormons consider themselves Christian but their beliefs and practices differ from traditional Christianity in key ways, including belief in sacred texts outside the Bible and practices like posthumous proxy baptism and wearing special undergarments.

3. There are about 14 million Mormons today, with more than half living outside the United States.

4.  The Mormon religion was founded in upstate New York in 1830, when Joseph Smith published a translation of writings he said he found and translated from Egyptian-style hieroglyphics into English.  That's the Book of Mormon, which believers say consists of writings produced by ancient American civilizations.

5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has outlawed polygamy since 1890.

6. Early Mormons faced intense persecution, so church headquarters relocated from New York to Missouri to Illinois in rapid succession. Joseph Smith was killed by a mob in Illinois. His successor, Brigham Young, led early Mormons to the Great Salt Lake in what's now Utah, where church headquarters remains.

7. Mormon men are expected to perform two years of missionary work beginning when they're 19 years old. Women can also do missionary work when they turn 21, but there is less pressure to do so.

8. Famous Mormons include J.W. Marriott, founder of the hotel chain, Glenn Beck and Gladys Knight, a convert.

9. Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney represent different generations of Mormonism that have related pretty differently to American culture.

10. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is running some major ad campaigns to take advantage of burgeoning interest in the religion.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mormonism

soundoff (3,741 Responses)
  1. Sybaris

    Mormonism is Judaism-lite..................and a cult.

    June 26, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Joseph Smith Loses a Debate With A Chicken

      All religions started as cults. Some just went big time, that's all.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  2. hethathathanear

    Ten facts that tell nothing of what the LDS teach, believe, concoct and conceal. Jesus Christ has nothing to do with Mormonism the same as Jehovah has nothing to do with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. And yes the pope is not the vicar of Christ but of Satan. Any religion that forces you to earn salvation that was already paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ is a LIE. Sorry Muslims, that means you too.

    Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:18, 19

    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8, 9

    But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:21-28

    June 26, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Magic

      Quotes from the Bible mean nothing... no more than quotes from the Book of Mormon or the Manifesto of David Koresh or any other fantasy.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  3. patrick

    The Lord is so soon to come.If you have not Repented of your sins and be baptized in the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the remission of sin and be filled with the HolyGhost.You will not go back to Heaven with him.ACTS 2:38.

    June 26, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  4. Dale Elam

    While I am not a Mormon, I do KNOW they are a Christian faith.....It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. What other "Christian" church has the name of the messiah in it? It is Luther's church, a bishop's (Episcopal) church, or named for some other tennet or founder. My primary question is:Why does CNN have a non-Mormon explain the faith? Do you have an Pentacostal explain Catholicism? Shame on you for trying once again to damage something that you know nothing about! Does it matter that the LDS church is the fastest growing Christian denomination in the world? Are the other sects a bit jealous? Does it make any difference that the LDS church is the richest denomination in the world while the rest of the Christian community is scrambling for funds, and membership? Are they a bit jealous? This is America. We should be concerned about the politics of the contenders for the presidency not their faith. The early fathers of this country were not Christian....they were deists. Some of our presidents were not Christian.....do your homework before you air such drivel as you have just aired on CNN.

    June 26, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  5. Marie Kidman

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig

    ,

    June 26, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  6. Chuck

    I used to be a true-believing mormon. It's a very convincing lie, basically a pyramid scheme. It's extremely painful and difficult to leave when your family and extended family are involved. You are shunned by all. Any positive attributes (close families, etc) are overwhelmed by the money-making, brain-washing, cult-like atmosphere that demands your time, money, children, intelligence, etc. Please don't be fooled. LDS faith is a very destructive and many, many ex-members spend the rest of their lives regretting the choice to get involved.

    June 26, 2011 at 7:11 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Thus we need an authentic Church, caution people against dangerous cults with authority.

      June 26, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Does Rainer want to establish his own cult?

      June 26, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      No, I am in line with the Protestant Church!

      June 26, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Ecclesiastical history proves: One Church, one doctrine.

      June 26, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Regretably heresies have slipped in.

      June 26, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Thus we need a new worldwide Reformation.

      June 26, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  7. Liberty Spinner

    The Mormons are a quasi Christiani religous body that baptized all Jews whose names they knew as Mormon following their demise in the Holocaust. They did the same for those whose names they found on American tombstones. They then promised Jewish organizations that they would cease baptizing dead Jews as Mormon and then reneged on their agreement.
    Whatever they tell you cannot be relied upon. And, women can only enter heaven if the husband looks back over them once he dies. Woman are not equal in the Mormon faith.

    June 26, 2011 at 5:09 am |
    • Brian

      The church has made great strides to keep Holocaust names out of their records, but they cannot control every entry or the overzealous member who batch uploads names into the system.

      As to women and heaven, Mormonism teaches that heavenly blessings are given to married couples above those of the unmarried. But a man is equally subject to his wife in keeping their marital covenants. As the Bible says, Neither is the man without the woman in the Lord.

      June 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Magic

      Their genealogical research, while a laudable idea for historical purposes, is for their purposes just more nonsense mumbo-jumbo.

      They have my grandmother's last name wrong ( & therefore a dead end on her ancestors) – it'll be a long time before they find her to slobber over, even though I did write them to tell them about the error - they are not all that interested in the truth. Do not put full trust in their data without lots of other confirmation if you are into family history.

      June 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  8. Humanity

    I learn Mormonism from the money the donated to NOM to deprive other citizens basic rights under the law, from Glen Beck who are lying about almost everything to gain $$$ to his pocket, and from Mitt Romney who always flip flopping on his opinions in politics.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:43 am |
  9. Michele Paley

    To answer Lance on his questions about the missionaries and what sources they encourage.... I am a convert as well, for several years now and I was encouraged to read the bible and speak to my family members and clergy from other churches about what they believed and to participate in discussions with many sources. They never told me what decision to make, they only encouraged me to ask questions and make the decision that felt right to me. In fact, my ex was also joining with the missionaries and I and had decided after some reading and prayer that he did not want to be baptized... they supported that as well and didn't hassle him about it at all. (although he did make the decision on his own to join about a year later anyway)

    June 26, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • Individual Atheist

      Wow, what an easily controlled person you are. What strength of mind! NOT.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • Michele Paley

      It amuses me to read that comment. I am one of the most headstrong women most people will ever meet. I research everything and am not easily swayed once I've made up my mind on something. I saw an opportunity to raise my daughter with strong family values and a community that is willing to go WAY out on a limb to help one another out. As I wrote in another post... if something makes a person happy, why bash it? Every aspect of my life, from family, job, outlook on life... everything... has improved since I started attending this church, its hard to deny the effectiveness when I can "see" the positive impact with my own eyes.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Michele Paley

      Also probably worth sharing that up until a few years ago I would have supported your case with every once of my being. I was a die hard atheist, religion sounded like fair tales to me and I honestly never thought that would change.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • Individual Atheist

      You seem intent on proving my point. Well done.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Ken from FL

      Michele,
      I am a Christian but not a Mormon. I respect your choice, although I may not agree with some of the tenets of your faith. Individual Atheist has no such respect; his only goal is to belittle those of faith. The only point proved in this exchange was his intolerance for those who believe.

      June 26, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  10. P. T. Barnum

    I can explain Mormonism: There's a sucker born every minute.

    June 26, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  11. tapuhere

    wow. you're a real thread killer.

    June 26, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Lance

      It's amazing how getting specific and asking questions can make people clam up.

      June 26, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • Ringo

      best depiction of Mormonism: South park!!

      June 26, 2011 at 2:29 am |
  12. cassinicole

    I am a convert and have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints just over a year now. When the missionaries first came to teach us about the gospel it was quite the opposite of don't question your religon. I was told to question this religion and pray for the correct answers to join the church or not. Ultimately I chose to join not because of their "selling points" but their honesty and willingness not to tell me what choice to make but to make the right choice for me and my children. Who by the way were also in the involved in the decision making process. I know the church is true and that Christ is my Saviour.

    June 26, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Lance

      Hi cassinicole, what exactly did you question about your new religion before you joined it, and what sources did you refer to in order to satisfy your questioning?

      June 26, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Lance

      Also cassinicole, what resources did the missionaries encourage you to utilize while questioning? Did they suggest you read or refer to anything outside Mormon publications? If so, what?

      June 26, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Cameron Pruett

      Well, Cassinicole I am very proud of you to stand up for you know is true in this way. There are many who can and and will attack what they cannot understand and you did what was most important. Testify of what you know is true and what you have learned by the power of the holy ghost also like it says in James 1:5 when you had a doubt you asked of God who gave unto YOU.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  13. Jaybird

    This "ism" like any other "ism" is the outward sign of ignorance for the individual entranced with it. Beware of these types by all means!

    June 26, 2011 at 1:08 am |
  14. Jill

    I don't know any athiests, but that's beside the point.

    June 26, 2011 at 12:39 am |
  15. Lance is confused

    And Al Qaeda suicide bombers believe they get 7 virgins when they mass murder innocent men, women, and children. Please stop persecuting the meek and get behind a real cause. The name of the planet where God resides is irrelevant to yours and my salvation. Get a clue.

    June 26, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Lance

      How many wives do the most righteous Mormon men get in the highest degree of their Heaven?

      June 26, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Stars&Stripes

      Lance, there's a pill available that will help with your anger management. I think it's orange. Prayer has also been known to help.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Lance

      Thanks Stars&Stripes, but I'm confused that you characterize my question as an expression of anger. It is Mormon doctrine that Mormon men in the highest degree of their heaven practice plural marriage. I'm just wondering, how many wives is the upper limit or at least, what's the average to expect?

      June 26, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Brian

      No, it is not.

      June 26, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Segev Stormlord

      Mormon doctrine is not that "you will be rewarded with lots of wives in heaven." Not at all. It is one of "eternal marriage." If you get sealed to your wife and family in the Temple, you will be together with them in Heaven. We do not believe "until death do you part" is good enough, and do not believe a loving God would separate families at death. And, in fact, He does not, if you are faithful to the covenants you make with Him and do the spiritual equivalent of filling out the paperwork by performing the proper ordinances. "Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father's Plan," a line from one of our hymns, is a central doctrine of the Church.

      Those who were married to multiple women in life and were sealed to them all will be married to them still in the highest degree of Heaven, assuming they were worthy. Those who are married to only one woman in life and sealed to her will be married to her in Heaven. The reverse is also true: women sealed to their husbands get to be with them for all eternity.

      Given that neither men nor women can enter into the highest degree of glory without being married, we do tend to find marriage to be very, very important.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  16. frank

    Could these friendly rosy-cheeked missionaries be but the advance scouts for the mighty alien army waiting impatiently on Planet Kolob for the signal to begin the merciless assault on our fair Planet Gaia??? I fear this scenario greatly!

    June 26, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Lance

      *whisper* Don't tell anyone–they're Cylons.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Harry N

      Gimme some o dem hot Cylon chicks! Preferably the ones without a glowing red eye that moves back and forth.

      June 26, 2011 at 2:57 am |
  17. Jill

    I know many good respectable Mormons (LDS). I have nothing negative to say about any of them. Happy to call them friends.

    June 26, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Lance

      I know many good and respectable atheists. I'm happy to call them friends too.

      Touche!

      June 26, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Dmitri

      I don't know of any respectable Mormons of whatever stripe. I do not call any of them friends.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • BrooklynMoon

      Let me guess... your hate stems from being excommunicated and you have left the mormon faith but can't leave it alone. Interesting.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • BBK

      All my Mormon friends are the kindest people and would never hide behind a faceless blog spreading hate against other fellow Christians. Please step out of the darkness and let the light in.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Jill

      I really don't know any atheists, but that is beside the point anyway

      June 26, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Lance

      Hi BrooklynMoon, my criticism stems from having studied the Mormon religion. It's always interesting to me how people make that mistake, equating valid criticism with hate.

      It's like a used car salesman telling me I hate him and his cars because I notice the odometer in one of his vehicles exceeds the mileage he claims for the car.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • BrooklynMoon

      My point exactly. Return the car and get on with your life... quit kicking the tires. Your foot will feel a lot better in the morning.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Lance

      Hi BrooklynMoon, but I'm not talking about actually purchasing a car that needs to be returned. I'm talking about the simple act of questioning, critically, the claims of the salesperson.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • BrooklynMoon

      I gathered that, but returning to the car lot every night to argue with the salesperson is pointless. Try speaking with the owner. I'm sure he'll enlighten you if you're willing to listen.

      June 26, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Carrying on with the used car lot analogy, asking to speak to the owner would get you centuries of silence...

      June 26, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Lance

      Sorry BrooklynMoon, but you didn't gather that since you told me to return the car in a previous comment. Is this what Mormons call lying for the Lord?

      But to go with what you're saying: Why would I need to talk to the previous owner? The used car salesman is telling me that the car has 20000 miles on it. I notice the odometer says 85000. I question him about it and he says I "hate" his used care business. Does that make sense? Because it's exactly what you've been claiming regarding my criticism of the LDS church.

      June 26, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Michele Paley

      It is interesting to me that you studied the Mormon religion and yet you seem to be of the opinion that people should not follow it. There are many religions in the world all believing different things, but believing in these things brings great happiness and peace - to people of all religions and beliefs (including atheism for some)

      Right or wrong... If happiness comes to some for believing in Mormonism, why would you try to dissuade them. Strong family values, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco are all really good things. Even IF(and that's a big if), even if the LDS Church was false, what's so wrong with helping people to strengthen their families, to improve their outlook on life, to make new friends, to find happiness where they may have been lacking it before.

      Everyone finds peace somewhere. I say live and let live, to each his own. I am LDS but none of my family members is. Some are Lutheran, some Pentecostal, some Atheist... and whatever they believe I never pressure them in any direction because I know that is what is making them happy and I wouldn't ever try to take that away from them for the simple pleasure of being "right". I don't see the point, lots of wasted energy.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Individual Atheist

      If you think it's a waste of energy, why are you using so much energy doing exactly that?
      Why are you here if you are wiling to "live and let live"?

      June 26, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • Segev Stormlord

      Lance, I should point out that the person who called somebody else "hateful" was not talking to you, but to the poster after you who mentioned that they didn't like any mormons they'd ever met.

      Questioning is not hateful. Questioning vitriolically is. I have not been paying enough attention to who says what to recall if your other posts have been particularly hateful or not. (I tend to skip names and just read content on blogs; no particular reason other than the names rarely catch my eye.)

      July 7, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  18. Lance

    Mormons believe that the highest order of marriage–that practiced in the highest degree of heaven one can go to–is polygamy.

    June 26, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Lance

      Wow Lance, I noticed no one's touching this one.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • tapuhere

      Heh. Well, I'm listening to you, and enjoying you, Lance. I would hide under a rock before I'd come forth to defend the hogwash that is Mormonism.

      June 26, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Cameron Pruett

      Well, maybe I can help you out with that Lance. I have examined the mormon religion and MANY others my whole life looking to see what is true. The most important thing you are missing really is the beginning. You have criticized many things with really looking at the root of it all. Which is that if this comes from God or not? If Joseph Smith saw God the Father or Jesus Christ in upstate New York in 1820 or not. If in 1823 an angel from the presence of the Lord named Moroni revealed to Joseph Smith the location of the ancient record which would later become The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Also that if this book is true (saying that it comes from God and contains divine truth about him and his son Jesus Christ.) Which would also prove that Jesus is The Christ the very son of God and what I have said above is ALSO true. As long as you continue to "make comments" about it with out really trying to understand it, YOU WILL NEVER HONESTLY UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH, and also the other things which you cannot understand will seem like strange religious cult ideas which are strange and to be avoided. I've seen these truths and thought them to be odd and scary until i sought out if they were true or not and I received an answer confirming to me that they are true. The rest is history.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • emanym

      Actually, Lance is correct. And as for the rest "being history"...I suggest mormons study the true history of their own church. The reason former mormons don't leave it alone is because they know the damage the religion causes. If you know something is going to hurt someone else, a decent person would naturally want to protect someone from that. I will never leave it alone as long as I know they are still spewing lies and dismissing what some refer to as "trivialities". As far as having more than one wife in the afterlife...that is why a mormon male may be sealed to more than one woman in this life. For example, if a mormon male is widowed, he may be sealed to another wife for time and all eternity in the temple. The same is not true for women. Also, if a female is not married in this life, she is guaranteed (if she is "worthy") to be sealed to a righteous man in the in the next life. BTW, the word "worthy" is thrown around a lot in the mormon faith. They like to decide who is worthy and who isn't. Ironic.

      June 26, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Segev Stormlord

      Untrue, Lance. Polygamy was practiced and still could be again should God find it serves a purpose. But it is not practiced now, and any who seek to practice it now will be excommunicated from the Church because the needs of the time do not warrant the internal and external controversy it would create. Also, we don't want people converting just so they can have harems. While harems are the image conjured by the word "polygamy," it's not what plural marriage as practiced by the church in the late 1800s was about.

      One of the doctrines of our faith is that a man cannot enter into the highest degree of glory without a wife, and a woman cannot do so without a husband. Because the priesthood is given directly to men to bear, and women share in the priesthood of their husbands to guide and support them, it is, at times, practical for a man to have more than one wife in order that a population which has more worthy women than worthy men might extend this blessing to as many as possible. It is not feasible nor necessary to reverse this; men bear their own priesthood.

      Polygamy is not necessary and thus not practiced right now. The motive for it right now could be nothing other than adulterous, and thus we do not condone it in any way amongst our faith. But the "highest order" of marriage is eternal marriage, whether to one wife or more. It is NOT polygamy. Polygamy and monogamy are indistinguishable in terms of the requisite for entry into the highest degree of heaven, so long as whichever is practiced is done with God's blessing.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  19. hg

    I live in Mesa, AZ...a very high % of LDS members are in my area. My kids go to schools where they are among a small few that are not LDS. My kids are honest and hard working, they are respectful and all volunteer their time to help others, they are "good" kids and we are a "good" family. We treat all others the way we hope to be treated.

    So why...if the LDS religion is so open and accepting....are my kids shunned by the kids at school because we are not LDS? Is that the ONLY qualifier of a "good" person?

    June 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Lance

      I remember visiting family in Utah. They lived in a small, very Mormon community. While I was there my family told me of a Jewish family that dared move into their neighborhood. They referred to that family invariably as, "That crazy Jewish family" or "That weird Jewish family" or "That strange Jewish family." Oddly, that family moved away in less than a year. Gee, I wonder why? They must've been intimidated by that good old Mormon hospitality.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Dmitri

      There are a lot of similarities to Islam, where they say they are peaceful (when no one else is around) and are horrible to other people who do not believe as they do.
      Like Christians, they are only good to themselves. All is selfishness, not vanity. Ecclesiastes probably mis-translated that word.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • rando305

      hg – as a Mormon – let me tell you – it's just plain wrong. The clannishness is wrong and misguided. We don't send 50,000 missionaries out so that we can be clannish. It's a misguided effort by parents who need to teach their children better. Inclusion is what the church teaches, but it is just easier to stick to that which is most similar and most comfortable. But that is wrong. It is not what the church teaches, but it is in the weakness of the individuals to not understand the bigger picture.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Lance

      @rando305:

      " We don't send 50,000 missionaries out so that we can be clannish."

      Of course you do! What are those missionaries for except to try and convert as many people as possible to your own particular religious clan?

      June 26, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Michele Paley

      It pains me to hear that you've been through that. It shouldn't happen and that's not what is taught at all. I've moved to Utah from the East a few years ago and have seen very different cultures in both places concerning the church. In most cases like this parents are not intending to shun anyone, they are usually just being overprotective of their kids, like many parents are these days... worried that spending time with someone who's not LDS in in adolescent years could open doors to more opportunity to experiment (as kids will do anyway) with alcohol and cigarettes. I assure you this behavior towards neighbors is not taught or encouraged, but in fact is something they teach us NOT to do. I am so sorry you're having that experience.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:14 am |
  20. Reality

    As we "thu-mp" along with rational thinking, conclusions and reiteration to counter the millennia of false and flawed religious history and theology!!!--------------------–

    They are called the Great Angelic Cons:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
    Some added references to "tink-erbells".

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

    newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

    "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

    Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

    "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."
    And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

    "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

    "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

    "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

    For added information see the review at:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

    June 25, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.