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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. justathought

    people like Zelda are why I am not a Christian. If she is what means to live by the letter and spirit of the gospels-no thanks

    June 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  2. gwf

    The details sometimes distract people from the essential difference. Sure, LDS have Joseph Smith as their prophet, their sacred texts were revealed to him, but each religion and faith has their own "revealing" story. We shouldn't bog ourselves down with trivial differences when there is one huge difference that it all hinges on. LDS believe that God was once a man as we are now (all have sinned, which means they believe God was once a man who sinned). Furthermore, the ultimate goal for LDS men is to reach the highest state of exaltation, at which time they will become a God themselves, not their God, but a different God that will create their own world populated with their own children.

    Sadly, the focus is taken away from this, and even many LDS do not know this essential doctrine taught in their "Gospel Principles" book.

    June 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      I do know this. Where do you think God came from? How did He come into existence? How did He become God? We actually have answers for this. Do you?

      I'm sorry if you don't want to believe as we do. But that doesn't mean that we don't believe in the God of the Bible. We believe in that God, we just have additional information (that we believe).

      June 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • gwf

      God exists from eternity past ... He always was, and always will be.

      The problem with saying God "came from" somewhere, you inevitably come to the question: "How did that cycle begin?" If God was once a man that needed a god to exalt him, and that god was once a man that needed a god to exalt him, and that god was once a man that needed a god to exalt him ... well, this cause and effect cycle would have never begun. A man needed a god to exalt him, and the god was once a man that had to be exalted ... is there some "supreme god" that started this whole cycle? Are some gods good, and some bad, what is there that establishes the holiness that is attributed to God?

      To say God came from somewhere is to lessen Him and who He is. He is not a man, that had to have a beginning like man. Nor does God bow down to the glory of another "god".

      June 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • LDSareChristian

      gwf posted:
      (all have sinned, which means they believe God was once a man who sinned).
      ================================
      Wrong! Christ sinned? He was a man. No, Christ lived a sinless mortal live. Why couldn't God have done the same?

      June 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • gwf

      LDSareChristian stated: "Wrong! Christ sinned? He was a man. No, Christ lived a sinless mortal live. Why couldn't God have done the same?"

      I agree that the LDS beliefs do teach this, and I also agree with this. Christ lived a sinless life. Indeed, to be the "Christ", he had to. However we will also say in the history and expanse of this world, only one has ever or will ever live a completely sinless, holy life, and that is Jesus. And yet according to LDS beliefs, many other men will be exalted to the highest point. When I say "many", let's just say for the sake of discussion that only 50 people will ever make it to that place. Not very many, and of course that could easily be filled by those such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, etc ... not to mention LDS prophets like Smith & Young ... though all of these sinned. So, that there's just a 1 in 50 chance that "god" will have been a man who never sinned. If you increase that number to 100 men who will be exalted to the highest place, that will mean there's only a 1:100 chance that the "LDS god" was a sinless man. So yes, while there is a chance per LDS beliefs, the great majority of exalted men (future gods) will have been men who sinned, lusted, and were depraved. Would you not agree with that? Otherwise if many lived sinless lives, what need is there for a Savior?

      June 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  3. Not-Zelda

    I for one, practice my faith and leave the rest of the world to hate and judge each other. Plenty of that going around on this blog. Preaching hate and intolerance in the name of religions. Age old problem. Christ would be embarrassed by those of you parading around in his name as do-gooders. If you're going to call yourself a Christian, start acting like one.

    June 27, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Zelda

      @Not- why do you guys take facts-telling as hate or being judgmental or intolerance? A hopelessly feminized nation. You don't take any other knowledge field that way but only the spirituality. Only if the world was so murky as you wish! Our world is precisely structured. So is the spiritual truth. Stop grumbling and learn what the Bible says. Laziness is sin.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Artist

      You confuse opinion and perspective with facts which turns into self delusion. You have a warped sense of reality HeaveSent.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • I_get_it

      Zelda,

      The "spiritual" stuff in the Bible is bunk. Groove on it in your fantasies if you wish... just don't proclaim that it is the truth.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      @Zelda
      Not everything believed to be fact actually is. For instance back during slavery White people thought it was fact that Black people were stupid and subservient to Whites. Obviously this is not true. Just inspired through some man's hatred of another. And then others chose to believe it.

      Like-wise when people thought that the earth was the center of the universe and Galileo said that we were in actuality heliocentric. The Catholic Church claimed him to be a heretic and tried him for heresy. Galileo spent the rest of his life under house arrest because they didn't believe what he said.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Artist

      I_get_it

      Zelda,

      The "spiritual" stuff in the Bible is bunk. Groove on it in your fantasies if you wish... just don't proclaim that it is the truth.

      --–
      HeavenSent aka Zelda has a warped sense of reality where she sees her opinion as fact.

      June 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • I_get_it

      Artist,

      Zelda, even as a foreign language speaker, has a better command of English and more intelligence and education (albeit wildly skewed) than HeavenSent. I don't think that they are one-in-the-same posters. Makes no diff., I suppose... they are both waaaaay out there. I haven't seen anything from HS lately - perhaps he/she either died or just gave up on the nonsense.

      June 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Artist

      I_get_it

      Artist,

      Zelda, even as a foreign language speaker, has a better command of English and more intelligence and education (albeit wildly skewed) than HeavenSent. I don't think that they are one-in-the-same posters. Makes no diff., I suppose... they are both waaaaay out there. I haven't seen anything from HS lately – perhaps he/she either died or just gave up on the nonsense.

      --–

      Perhaps you are right...maybe I confused her with Adelina? Zelda is one of the regulars here...just changed her name.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Dorothy

    The Mormon's in my community have been a God send, serving those of us effected by the recent disaster. My opinion of them is that they put their money (and their time) where their mouth is.

    June 27, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Zelda

      Wrong doctrines have no remedy.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Nonimus

      Good deeds do not make a good organization. For example, Hamas got voted into power in Palestine because they ran several civic support organizations, but they also are a terrorist organization, according to the US State Dept. (I am *not* in any way saying that Mormons are terrorists or in any way bad or evil.) I'm just saying that doing good does not compensate for past or future misdeeds.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • D

      Sad day when Zelda is the spokesperson for Christianity. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Zelda

      And anyone can claim to be anything when they are not real. Mormonism is a religion of works, not of Jesus' divine atonement. Use of the same terms by Mormons is especially deceitful.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Zelda

      @D, Mormonism is NOT Christianity but a foreign object. House is not divided. When insiders say things, there are reasons.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • D

      Your not so much a Christian as you are an anti-mormon. There's a big difference. Christ taught tolerance and love... your motto is damn them all to hell. Sad outlook and very distorted.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Brian

      What is sad is that the more good done by Mormons, the more Christians like Zelda rail against good works. But Jesus said to do good and that you will recognized Jesus' followers by their fruits. When you cannot deny the good that Latter-day Saints do in the world, you end up denying God. The parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind. The most reviled was truly following Christ. Every hateful comment reaffirms my faith in Christ.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Zelda

      God hates sin and falsehood is sin. Mormons are average okay religious group but that does not get anyone salvation. Mormons need to trust in Jesus who is God and who died for our sins on the cross as the Bible plainly says.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  5. BD7

    I was raised mormon, but stopped going to church once I started college. I went back briefly in my mid-20's...and I have no idea what half of you guys are talking about. The misunderstanding on this topic is amazing. Baptism for the Dead is not done on people who are living, and is only done through requests done by family members. They do not believe that God is only God on this planet and that there are other gods on other planets. They believe in Heavenly Father, his son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They do not believe that you can have more than one wife in heaven. They do not believe that you can have more than 1 wife on earth (that was mainly for practical reasons over 150 years ago when the men were being murdered for their new religion and women were left widowed with children). There is no such thing or teaching on "Mormo". The Book of Mormon is named after the man that was the narrartor of the Book of Mormon. He was the one that wrote the history of his people and his writtings is the foundation for the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon talks about what happend before, during and after Jesus's life in the Americas. It is not meant to replace the Bible, it goes along with it.
    I stopped going to church mainly because I personally do not think that you will not get into heaven if you are not baptized, and because I whole heartly support same sx marriage. However, I do give credit for the church in teaching me to believe in myself and to have integrity, and for supporting me during a time where I very easily could have gone a different road and turned to drugs, alochol and who knows what else.

    June 27, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Andy

      Mormons are Christians. I get my information from Mormon.org

      June 27, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • BD7

      When I was in high school I never understood when people asked me if I was Christian or not. The church is named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints....Mormons believe in Jesus and that he died for our sins.

      Mormon.org is a good place to get information. It is not clouded by misunderstanding and "is from the horses mouth". I think this article meant well, but did not do a good job in explaining Mormonism.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • sfcanative

      "...and he that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is Antichrist," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p. 312).

      "...no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God [God's presence] without the consent of Joseph Smith," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 289).

      "Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).

      June 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  6. Jack

    This article about Mormons, though very basic, does an OK job of covering the basics. My neighbor is a practicing member and they are very good people. Have been in their home many times and I have no problem letting my kids play at their house. They've never tried to push their beliefs on me or my kids, and they are very respectful of my faith.

    June 27, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  7. Wonder

    Anyone who makes a serious study of the Book of Mormon and asks God with real intent can know for themselves it is true.

    June 27, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • YT

      Mormon.org is also a good read

      June 27, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Nonimus

      This is unfalsifiable and therefore of little use. If someone makes a "serious study", "asks God with real intent", and still doesn't believe then I'd imagine that the response would be that they either weren't "serious" enough or didn't have "real intent". This is similar to the logic used by many religions that one must believe whole-heartedly and pray and God will show Himself to you. Basically, one must believe in order to believe, which is a tautology in the rhetorical sense.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  8. brad

    As one who grew up in the 60's, I'm interested in the idea of Mormons as a "cult". In the late 60's, the pill came along, civil and church authority had been thrown out, the "if it feels good, do it" mentality was fourishing. Then mass copulation without consequences began to take place. If there were "consequences", one could always resort to the *abort*ion clinics, and overwork the divorce courts. Woman, en masse, could make themselves available to men who could use them and walk away. And this culture is actually mocking the Mormons !?

    June 27, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  9. Zelda

    The Mormon doctrines on God, salvation, afterlife, church, Satan, angels are all different from what the Bible teaches. They use the same terms but claim totally different contents from those of Christians. Mormons need to read the whole Bible and trust in Jesus' atonement alone for salvation. There's no other way.

    June 27, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Faith

      Your correct, Jesus is the only way and I love the Bible and am currently reading it through again in my personal daily study. I also read the Book of Mormon as a second witness that Jesus is the Christ. God has more than one people under the Heavens. Certainly he loves all his children and will speak to each in their own language through his Apostles and Prophets.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • DooQ1

      Well said Faith. I to love Jesus Chris too and believe he loves all of us.. even those who spread hate and lies about another brother.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Zelda

      You guys are being too lazy to read God's Word, the Bible, and being comfortable in staying with willful errors. Don't blame God on the Judgment Day when you find your filthy doctrines wrong. Christians never hate Mormons or anyone; pointing out facts is a form of the most genuine love. Mormons are not brothers to Christians but pagans who need real correction.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Dorothy

      Zelda, you've already damned me to hell. I thought there was only 1 judge? I feel genuinely sorry for you and your twisted views.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Zelda

      God made salvation ava-ilable for all mankind in Jesus, but if you error in who Jesus is, there is no hope. Read the Bible honestly. The Bible and Mormonism differ in major teachings. Some Mormons get liberated by simply reading the Bible text as it is.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Zelda

      Dorothy, read the Bible as it is and trust God at His Word. Refuse in-doc-tri-nation by men. That's all you need to be saved.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Brian

      Zelda, you keep saying read the Bible, but if you read the Bible, you will find that Mormon doctrines are absolutely in line with the Bible. How does the Bible use the word "saint" and how does Christianity use it compared to Mormonism Which is more accurate to the Bible? Please, this is not rhetorical. I want to hear your answer. As to your comment on angels, I would love to hear your explanation of Revelation 22:9.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Zelda

      Brian, the Bible teaches Jesus is God. Mormonism is in the level of Islam in ignorance on who Jesus is.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • LDSareChristian

      the Bible teaches Jesus is God.
      ================================
      I agree. But his Jesus his own Father?

      Jesus clearly teaches that he has a Father and that Father is HIS God. He also cleary teaches that he is one with his father, in the same way we can be one with both of them.

      June 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Segev Stormlord

      Zelda, I suggest you check yourself; you are calling people liars for claiming that they read the Bible based on nothing other than the fact that they tell you they have read it and found it in line with the Book of Mormon. Have you read the Book of Mormon? I've read both (though I do not do it as often as I should), and find no contradictions.

      Or do you deny that I and others who've responded to you have actually read the Bible? On what do you base this accusation that we lie?

      July 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  10. Open your eyes

    Read the book "The God Makers." It will open your eyes to the lies the LDS church is so good at telling.

    'Mormons" would indicate followers of "Mormo." Google that name. Good luck finding the "warm and fuzzy" feelings. I actually have a statement in my will rejecting any proxy baptism (I have LDS in my family), because it does happen without consent. They want you to believe they have close ties to Christianity, but in truth, they are closer in ties to Satanic worship/cult.

    June 27, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      What is Satanic?
      Do we worship idols? Do we commit murder? Do we desturb graves? No, no, and no.
      We believe in God the Father and in His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. (Article of Faith1)

      I would love to invite you to read the Book of Mormon with an open heart. Even with a closed heart you'll get something out of it. Please tell me who we worship in that book. 🙂

      Have a good day and please have peace in your heart.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Mark

      $50 million the LDS church gives in humanitarian aid per year. In the last year my LDS congregation has been involved in having a community garden that gave all produce to needy families. We've painted houses of widows in the area. Planted trees. Cleaned parks, etc. Does that really sound like a Satanic cult? We welcome anyone who wants to come see for themselves what we're about. You can spend all day reading here-say and lies on the internet about any religion. But, if you really want to know what someone believes, ask them personally.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  11. suggested reading

    I suggest anyone seriously considering a conversion to Mormonism read the book "The God Makers." It is written by two men who were former members of the church. The book will open your eyes. A few key points to note:

    -When the men left the cult, their wives and children were taken, hidden, and re-married to another cult member.
    -The proxy baptism DOES count in their numbers. The more converts, the higher their God/Goddess status.
    -They DO perform this ritual without consent alot. I have a point in my will stating my refusal of this (I have LDS in my family)
    -You'd be suprised the amount of money this cult has. Businesses, banks, real estate, they're involved heavily.
    -Last point... members of the LDS cult are called "Mormons," which would imply they were followers of Mormo. Google that. You find nothing "warm and fuzzy" about Mormo. References to a key lieutenant to Satan and a specific description in the Satanic Bible. This "cult" wants people to believe they have close ties to Christianity, when in fact, they have closer ties to Satanic worship. And don't get me started on the LDS marriage and the "sealing in the temple."

    June 27, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      Oh and btw... I have no idea who "Mormo" is. We are called Mormons because we believe in the Book of Mormon and are the only religion to do so.

      We believe in Christ. Yes, the Christ of the New Testament. There is a reason why our church is named "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and not 'The Church of Mormo.'

      June 27, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • YT

      a silly movie. Watched and it was laughable. Whoever put it together should be a comedian. Unbelievable and hate based.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Open your eyes

      @Form Your Own Opinion
      Don't be so naive. Where do you think the "Book of Mormon" got its name from? Mormo is a fierce God-Devil. Followers of said demon would be considered "Mormons", Just like "Christians" are followers of "Christ". Funny how nobody wants to address the "sealing in the Temple" (which was explained to me, in detail, by a former member-sickening), the truth behind the proxy baptism (where in most civilizations that would be consider necromancy!). How does any of that sound remotely related to Christianity? By the way, I don't hate the LDS, I just have no respect for their arrogance. Case in point: Having an LDS member ask a Catholic co-worker not to pray with the "sign of the cross" because he didnt want to explain to his children what my friend was doing. Arrogance and ignorance runs deep in this cult. The church is growing mushrooms (i.e. leaving you all in the dark, feeding you crap)

      @mark
      Its called buying souls. I've lived in that world and in LDS grand cental (aka SLC) and one thing I've noticed is that the cult won't do anything if it doesnt benefit themselves in some way. All that "charity work" is used to buy/influence souls to their cause, not to help their fellow man. Case in point: Look around SLC. The LDS have purchased/driven out every business not owned by them from the downtown area. Have you seen all the temples around SLC? How much money do you think they spend lighting those buildings 24/7? They are so willing to throw their cash around to big name causes in hopes of swaying souls, but cant even drop a little of that so called "50 million dollars" to clean up their own backyard, aka the homeless in SLC?

      @Mark and Form Your Own Opinion
      I'm pray for you, that you'll see the light before its too late.

      June 28, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Open your eyes

      @YT
      I know its uncommon in this day and age to pick up a book and actually read, but why not give it a try. You'll find the reading material more insightful. Movies based on books never tell the whole story, you should know that. Then again, if you don't read, maybe you don't know that. Nevertheless, I'll explain it to you: To make the book material fit the time parameters for a movie, the book is torned down to the bare essential of the story, with additional parts added if it serves the storyline and will fit into the time parameters. Therefore, what you're getting in a movie is more like 40% of the book. Enlighten yourself and pick up the other 60%. If you still feel the same way after reading the book, well, I'll be praying for you.

      June 28, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  12. Form Your Own Opinion

    Why is it that to many other Christian denominations that God can talk to Adam, Noah, and Moses, but cannot talk to man in these days in time? Is God dead? No, just our faith in Him.

    June 27, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  13. 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 "Angelic" Con Men:

    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. "

    June 27, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • brad

      Reality, you said "As we "thu-mp" along with rational thinking...". Rational thinking cannot exist apart from the thinker. The thinker is made of a brain, personality, personal preferences and prejudices, a certain amount of intuition (less common in atheists), anger, love, and entire range of emotion. If follows that you, like all of us, cannot isolate your reasoning powers. What you want is pure reason, but this has never been discovered because it cannot be isolated from the person. Atheists, being human, use reason that has been contaminated by "themselves". If you ever find a person of pure reason, he will have to be devoid of all other common attributes that identify us as people. BTW, there is no scientific evidence that pure reason exists.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  14. Sgt Slaughter

    I can explain Mormonism easy, retarded. If you truely think this or any other religion is actually real then your extremely guillable.

    June 27, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  15. Marie Kidman

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]

    `

    June 27, 2011 at 5:53 am |
    • gwf

      The details sometimes distract people from the essential difference. Sure, LDS have Joseph Smith as their prophet, their sacred texts were revealed to him, but each religion and faith has their own "revealing" story. We shouldn't bog ourselves down with trivial differences when there is one huge difference that it all hinges on. LDS believe that God was once a man as we are now (all have sinned, which means they believe God was once a man who sinned). Furthermore, the ultimate goal for LDS men is to reach the highest state of exaltation, at which time they will become a God themselves, not their God, but a different God that will create their own world populated with their own children.

      Sadly, the focus is taken away from this, and even many LDS do not know this essential doctrine taught in their "Gospel Principles" book.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      @gwf
      I do know this. Where do you think God came from? How did He come into existence? How did He become God? We actually have answers for this. Do you?

      I'm sorry if you don't want to believe as we do. But that doesn't mean that we don't believe in the God of the Bible. We believe in that God, we just have additional information (that we believe).

      June 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  16. Adam

    I don't understand why it is acceptable in this day and age to be so cruel to a religion and to publicly accept and award those who make a mockery of its members and sacred beliefs.

    In a country built on, and out of the desire to freely practice religion, so many mean comments here are disappointing. We wouldn't speak in such a mean way about other cultural groups or races, I don't think we should attack Mormons either.

    I know a lot of Mormons, I grew up with Mormons, I have Mormon friends, and I like them.

    June 27, 2011 at 3:58 am |
    • Kebos

      Attack is not the right approach, I agree. All religions though must be shown to be what they truly are, a work of fiction meant to twist mankind's mind in perverse ways to support their inhumane objectives. A person is a better person without religion.

      June 27, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • Kebos

      By the way, there is a big difference between "a race" and "a religion". One is biological and the genetic makeup of the person, the other is the acts the person does based on a work of fiction. Don't try to make them equals. They are not.

      June 27, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      Thank you for your comment.

      All that we ask is the right to worship how we will. We do not hurt others. Infact we are big teacher of "Do unto others" and "Love thy Neighbor". We don't care if you're Mormon or not, it only matters what type of person you are.

      I personally grew up in Florida and have many friends and family members who are not Mormon. Does that make them bad people? Obviously not. We won't force our religion on you, but we will tell you what you want to know.

      I had many friends growing up that wanted to know what I believed and I told them when they asked. I didn't impose my belief structure upon them. I just lived my life the best that I knew how.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Adam,
      "In a country built on, and out of the desire to freely practice religion, so many mean comments here are disappointing. We wouldn't speak in such a mean way about other cultural groups or races, I don't think we should attack Mormons either."

      How are freedom of religion and freedom of speech contradictory? Religious freedom does not provide some protection against offence, derogatory comments, or even ridicule. Everyone has the right to practice their own beliefs, within the law, but everyone also has the right to say that that belief is ridiculous.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Nonimus

      p.s. I don't think Mormons are bad people, actually I'm sure that just like most religions and most people they are very decent individuals, however some of their beliefs, especially about the founding of their religion, are exceptionally hard to accept as accurate.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  17. Lance

    I'm wondering about polygamy in the Mormon afterlife. I've heard that Mormons believe they can have more than one wife in the Mormon afterlife. Can any honest Mormons clarify this matter for me?

    June 27, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Brian

      Lance. you really are resembling a creature who lives under a bridge. The question has been asked and answered, ad nauseum.

      June 27, 2011 at 3:12 am |
    • K

      Sorry Lance, that was a rude comment by Brian. I am glad that you wish to get the facts straight before making judgement and hurtful comments. My best advice to find what the answer to this question is, is to go to lds.org or mormon.org and search it for yourself. This is a place where you can find any answers about the LDS faith without having someone biased for or against try to explain it to you on a site like this.

      (this comment is for everyone) I was raised LDS my whole life in CA. I lived in a normal house, with a normal mom and dad, Im one of three kids who played sports and had a normal life in HS. I have friends who are not mormon. Everyone has their own religious beliefs and it should not matter. We do not force our faith on anyone. I like to get to know people for themselves and not for what they believe as a religion. Your beliefs our your beliefs and why should it matter to anyone else. What is the purpose to make comments that are trying to bash others religions? I am grateful I grew up LDS because if anything I feel I learned to be a well rounded individual. Family is very important to me. Happiness is also important to me and I am happy with what I believe and that is all that matters. As long as you are happy in whatever religion you believe in, that is all that matters.

      Everyone, think about what the purpose of your comment is before writing it...

      And Lance I hope you find your answer on the website

      June 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  18. goldenstate

    The Jesus of the bible which Christians worship is a different Jesus than the Mormons worshhip. Christians do not acknowledge Mormons as a denomination or as Christians. Mormons believe that Jesus and Lucifer (the devil) are brothers. Mormons also believe that they will become Gods when they die. Mormons have long been considered a cult. Mormons are now trying to claim they are Christians to garner acceptance, more follower$, and political acceptance. Christians rely on the Word of God from the Bible. It is fine to claim you are a different religion or faith, but they should not be trying to pass themselves off as Christians since they are not referring to the same Jesus in the holy bible.

    June 27, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Brian

      I really am tired of anti-Mormons spewing the same lies. It's funny how often the same attacks are used and reused, when the answers are easily refuted.

      As for that clever $, the fact is Mormons don't have a paid clergy. There is no theological school to become a bishop or an apostle. If they have money, it's from their day job. For example, one apostle was a pilot for Lufthansa Airlines.

      As for political aspirations, perhaps you should look at the Religious Right sometime.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • Kebos

      Mormons, Christians......same thing. Just different clubs.

      June 27, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • Anon

      same thing just different cults

      June 27, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      Are there not many denominations of Christianity? Do we not believe in the Bible? I believe in the King James Version of the Holy Bible. Infact I am currently rereading it. Did you know that there are many things in the Bible that support our beliefs? Including the baptisms for the dead.

      It hurts my heart to hear hatred geared towards anyone, especially geared towards a overall peaceful people who don't try to stand in anyone elses way to worship their religion however they see fit.

      June 27, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Up Your Real Admiral

      Get your own brain. The KJV says you are supposed to sacrifice and burn an animal today to make god happy. So did you? God's gonna torture you forever if you disobey.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      Sweetheart,
      The KJV doesn't just include the Old Testament. In the New Testament Christ said that there was no more need for sacrifice of animals. We needed to sacrifice ourselves in the service of our God. Christ also said that He is the lamb meaning that He was sacrificing himself for our sins so that we might return to our Heavenly Father one day.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Artist

      Mormons jesus and god are different than the "christian" god. How the mormon religon was created is sketchy at best and lacks credibility. Christian foundation and creation is sketchy at best and lacks credibility....however it has been around longer and is more accepted. Mormons and christians faith is in their fellow man of past. Because the lack of credibility, they must have faith in man.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      How is the "Mormon Jesus and God" different than "Christian" Jesus and God? I believe Jesus died for my sins. I believe that He is the Son of God sent here to earth to be an example to all men.

      If that is different than your Jesus and God, then who is your's?

      If God could talk to man in the times of the Bible, why can he not do it now? Is God dead? No, but apparently our faith in Him is.

      Did Jesus not do miracles when He was on Earth? Did Moses not part the Red Sea to let the Jews escape Egypt? Then why is it that we cannot accept that a man with no higher than a 6th grade education translated through the help of God a book that has moved MILLIONS.

      There is little chance that he actually wrote such a profound book himself, with only a 6th grade education. Just saying...

      June 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • I_get_it

      Form Your Own Opinion:
      "If God could talk to man in the times of the Bible, why can he not do it now?"
      - There is no evidence that a "God" ever spoke to anyone.

      "Did Jesus not do miracles when He was on Earth?"
      - There is no evidence of this.

      Did Moses not part the Red Sea to let the Jews escape Egypt?
      - There is no evidence of this.

      "Then why is it that we cannot accept that a man with no higher than a 6th grade education translated through the help of God a book that has moved MILLIONS."
      - He had years of religious indoctrination fed to him by the time he had his "vision". A rich fantasy life does not relate to formal education.

      June 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      @I_get_it
      I never said there was evidence. I was talking about Christians who already believe that God and Jesus have already done these things. If you don't have any faith to build on then it doesn't necessarily apply to you.

      I don't know if you've ever read anything actually about Joseph Smith, Jr. But the only "religious indoctrination" that Joseph Smith, Jr. got was by preachers and pastors from other religions. All of which Joseph Smith, Jr. rejected. He believed in the Bible fully and that is the only "religious indoctrination" that he accepted at the time he got his "vision."

      I'm not going to contend over whether he could or couldn't have written it himself. I don't believe that he could've even with a rich imagination. He used words that he wouldn't have normally used in everyday life or conversation. But that's for everyone to decide for theirselves to believe or not.

      June 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Artist

      Form Your Own Opinion

      How is the "Mormon Jesus and God" different than "Christian" Jesus and God? I believe Jesus died for my sins. I believe that He is the Son of God sent here to earth to be an example to all men.

      If that is different than your Jesus and God, then who is your's?

      If God could talk to man in the times of the Bible, why can he not do it now? Is God dead? No, but apparently our faith in Him is.

      Did Jesus not do miracles when He was on Earth? Did Moses not part the Red Sea to let the Jews escape Egypt? Then why is it that we cannot accept that a man with no higher than a 6th grade education translated through the help of God a book that has moved MILLIONS.

      There is little chance that he actually wrote such a profound book himself, with only a 6th grade education. Just saying...

      -------–

      Your faith is in man and based on assumptions.

      June 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  19. yoyo

    Okay, I'm going to throw this into the mix; I'm mormon and I think the "BOOK OF MORMON" (as created by Trey P and Matt S.) was hilarious. It isn't totally correct, and it's even misleading because it isn't totally accurate. For me, that doesn't change the fact that it's hilarious to both myself and many other people. However, you have to understand what the Mormons (LDS) believe and why we believe it before you understand why the musical is so very funny. I'm a fan of South Park too for the record and even their AAM episode was inaccurate. They portrayed a brilliant message about how members value family and honesty, etc but to take information from these two men and pass it off as fact is equally as useless as calling Mormons a cult. We are not a cult. Sure, you can CALL us a cult, but you're wrong. Fundamentalist Mormons are not actual Mormons. I can personally guarantee you they have been excommunicated (cast out of the church). People who decide to slander a good name by changing the belief system, and then turn around and call themselves Mormon are just the same as all those people who decided to change a bible and start their own church. Doesn't make it right, does it?

    June 27, 2011 at 2:25 am |
  20. Lance

    Another interesting fact about Mormonism is baptism for the dead. This is baptism by proxy–in other words, you get baptized in the name of someone else, and then presto! They're baptized if they choose to accept it. It's really quick and easy for dead people. What I wonder is if the Mormons count these dead people as members in official records after their baptism by proxy. Can any (honest) Mormons help me out here?

    June 27, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • yoyo

      they do not, Lance.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • yoyo

      Also, it is strongly enforced that the baptism be done only for relatives, family, etc... not strangers (to those performing the baptism) Mormons don't just go off and baptize whoever they feel like. It's not like cold calling out of a phone book for some insurance scam haha

      June 27, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Brian

      The key to your post is "if they choose to accept it" Mormons do give a chance to those who had no opportunity for baptism, giving all of mankind a chance for salvation. Traditional Christianity either condemns the heathen to hell, or says that it will somehow be worked out. Well, Mormons simply have an earthly act to help work it out. And they believe that eventually it will all be worked out. The Bible says that " Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus is the Christ" so, the concept that everyone eventually will know Jesus is Lord is not foreign to the Bible. Mormons are encouraged to do this work for their ancestors, and strongly discouraged from doing it for those not personally associated with them.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • I_get_it

      Brian: "Mormons simply have an earthly act to help work it out."

      Your "God" needs help?

      – and –

      The "every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess..." saying sounds much more like something that your egomaniacal "Satan" character would demand of his slaves and subjects.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • yoyo

      "every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ..." refers to the fact that everyone will know that Jesus is the Christ. Not only will they know, but when someone knows of truth beyond any doubt, they tend to testify of it. I'd imagine this is once Christ returns to the Earth (as we believe) to save us. It's kind of hard not to ... you know.. be willing to bow and confess once you realize that Christ is Christ. Have a little faith 🙂

      Be weary of the one who forces you to say he's God under penalty of pain, death, persecution, tyranny, etc.
      Need I say more?

      June 27, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • yoyo

      God doesn't need help...he knows the outcome of everything. The question is, with free will/agency and the fact that (if you believe as we do) that we all have the freedom of choice to make decisions based on how we see fit, some of us have the choice to not believe. Some have never heard the words that the Mormons teach/preach/share, if we all have free agency to choose, how can you make a choice if you have never heard the option?

      June 27, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • Here's the facts

      Amongst those "baptized: Adolf Hitler, Ted Bundy, Joseph Stalin, Karl Marx, Heinrich Himmler, Eva Braun, Genghis Khan, Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh and many other "relatives."

      LDS has tried to cover this up (what a surprise), but they have also baptised many holocaust victims (despite swearing to the Jews that they would stop doing it – liars), Buddha (who they posthumously married to Mrs. Buddha – I'm not making this up), every signer of the Declaration of Independence, Francis Xavier (who they also posthumously married as well), and many others.

      Mormons are freaks.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • yoyo

      prove it (and not from an obvious hateful message on some anti-mormon site...those are easy to spot)

      June 27, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • Brian

      God doesn't need help, but he did create this world, and put us in it. to say that he has no purpose for us, and that we have no part, is foolish and clearly non-Biblical.

      Every knee shall bow,is a reference to all of mankind not just believers, just as judgement is for all mankind an not exclude for the "saved". How do those who have not heard the word hear it? Read 2 Peter. Jesus after his death went to preach to the spirits who were wicked at the time of Noah. In other words, there is a place for those who have died to hear the gospel and receive His word.

      If the church is covering up these things, how did you find out? Oh, I know, the geneological records of the church are fully open to everyone, and you are right, Hitler, former presidents and a slew of other people have been baptized. The church decided to let them stand based on a Doctrine and Covenant verse, "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." So we forgive all mankind, and will do the work regardless of their earthly status. It is not our place to judge whether they deserve it or not.

      June 27, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Brian

      of course, you realize those names were put in there by anti-Mormons to see if they could buck the system. The church just takes it in stride along with all the other childish acts of disrespect.

      June 27, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • Here's the facts

      Google it yourself, you lazy moron. It's there, easily found.

      June 27, 2011 at 3:12 am |
    • warex

      Yes they do. And so you know they also do baptism on people alive without their consent. When the missionary's come knocking and you allow them to take your name down on their note cards those note cards are filed. When you do not convert they eventually baptism you because you needed to be saved. Then you also become part of the numbers.

      June 27, 2011 at 5:44 am |
    • Up Your Real Admiral

      Sure, god needs help: among his many other issues, he needs humans to bring him into existence. Then there's that enternal torture and animal sacrifice sh!t. Guy sure has some problems.

      June 27, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Form Your Own Opinion

      Warex, you sound like a conspiracy theorist. 🙂

      June 27, 2011 at 10:05 am |
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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.