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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. Been There

    The problem I've had with Mormons is that they teach that their prophets speak for God, but they had three prophets teach as scripture that African Americans would never hold the Mormon priesthood in this life, but now they've changed that doctrine. Did those first three prophets make a mistake? Can someone explain that to me?

    June 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  2. JT

    The problem I have with a Temple going Mormon as president is that in the temple a Mormon promises everything that God has given him or will give him to "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." This means that if Romney became president, and if he is a true believing Mormon, then his presidency would be under the control of the Mormon leaders. A temple going mormon believes that the current leaders of the church are direct mouth pieces of God and as such should be obeyed without question. There is a famous mormon quote that says to the effect 'when the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done.' I do not want my future president beholden to any individual church.

    June 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • RLP1509

      Mr. Romney nor Mr. Huntsman would not be beholding to the Mormon church officials as far as his position as president. They may both be willing to give of themselves as needed to the Mormon church but that would be only a personal thing for each. As for the Mormon Church as a whole, it takes on a completely 100% political neutrality stance. Members are encouraged to utilize their rights as a citizen to vote according to their own conscience and hearts. Nothing more is said. I will be willing to predict now that if Mr. Romney or Mr. Huntsman become the official presidential candidate of the Republican Party you will not hear anything coming from the Mormon Church leadership encouraging members to vote for either one of them nor to vote for the Democratic party candidate or for anyone else.

      June 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • RLP1509

      By one of today's articles on cnn.com my previous statement of 2 days ago has been proven correct. I also anticipate additional reminders to Mormon Church leadership in the future cautioning all against political talk of any kind in church meetings or within its buildings.

      June 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  3. MeganColorado

    I realize that many individuals in this blog-spot believe that religion and faith are simply for the simple-minded. Faith is a language you learn to speak through practice and experience, and it is very real–very powerful. Until you have experienced it for yourself, it is not something that can easily be explained to others. It's like being the first person to see the ocean–coming back to a group of people who can not comprehend such a thing. Until you venture forth wanting to know if this thing called "faith" is real, you will be left in your current place never experiencing something truly spectacular–beyond anything in this world–something that will forever change your life. God lives and Jesus in the Christ, and some of us KNOW this to be true. How do we know? It begins with this language called faith. Out of all of God's creations, He refers to us as his children. What do children have the potential to grow up to become–like their parents. This is the essence of Mormonism. For those that believe in evolution, I am surprised that they struggle with this doctrine. In essence, Mormons are the ultimate evolutionists. Man can evolve to become like God.

    June 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • SetUsFree

      And what does God become?

      June 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • InPrisonedByEvolutionNonSense

      And what does man become?

      June 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • GodPot

      "It begins with this language called faith. Out of all of God's creations, He refers to us as his children"

      Actualy it begins with indoctrination from a very early age, then learning to read and being handed a book that you are told was written by God. "Who is God" you asked with humble sincerity and then were given the "talk" all Christians have with their children when they reach a certain age. They sat you down and said "Well, you know about Santa right, and how he comes every year and brings you presents when youv'e been good? Well, Santa has a father and his name is God, and he is the one who knows everything you do and made everything we see and even what we can't see like the whole universe" You then ask "How did he make everything? How old is he? Where does he live?" And the answers come quickly "He just did honey, with magic, and he's very very old, but we can't put an age to him since he didn't have a birth day since he's always existed and he lives everywhere and no where" Your young impressionable brain then does a somersault, creates a file for "Things I believe but I don't know why" and you begin to read "God's words" and get through a few pages till you are to bored and tired and then you don't pick it up for another 20 years till you are going through a depressing divorce and think "Maybe God can help" You start up where you left off 20 years ago and then get bored after a few pages once again, then decide to head to a Church where a guy tell's you everything is alright as long as you keep coming back and dropping some cash in the plate. You are now...A Christian.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  4. FTroop

    weeeeeeeee.....made up crap!

    June 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • AJ

      And you know this how? Are you omniscient?

      June 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • FTroop

      You are not omniscient and you know that thousands of other gods (Zeus, Pluto Xenu etc) and religions are made up. Why is Moronism any different?

      June 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  5. Jared Blank

    One person's opinion does not truth make...many person's opinion as well....Why don't we all just focus on building a stronger relationship with God and with those around us (last time I checked, these are the principal themes of all religions), do something good today for someone else...seriously, get of the stupid computer and go look for someone in need and HELP them. Tell someone how good they look today. Open a door for someone else. Quit pointing fingers at others saying how evil they are because they believe one way or another and find the good things in them and try to emulate those good things in your life...Seriously folks, life is so short that the next thing you know you will be finding out for certain about God. In the meanwhile, devote more energy, more time, and if you have the ability more means to serving others...such a simple concept that we all have to make it complicated by "labeling" our belief systems when in reality you're just here to learn how to LOVE...the kind of LOVE that makes your HEART burn within you! Nuff said, now get to work and lighten someone's burden!

    June 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • FTroop

      LOL Please stop it my ribs are killing me.

      June 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • LT

      Wow, someone who actually gets it! Great scholars of ages have tried to simplify "religion" in these same terms. I wholeheartedly agree Mr. "Blank"

      June 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  6. Adam

    Just a positive plug here. I've been a Mormon my whole life – I love it. Its a different lifestyle for sure but from all I can gather it helps me to achieve my full potential in life and have a hope in a life afterwards. People come out with all kinds of crazy stuff about Mormons but it's mostly rumors. Chek the church website out http://www.lds.org – this is what you'll find in the church.
    Religion is hard to believe in but you can know god exists and this is his church. It's not a guessing game

    June 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • spalin

      I love satire. Great job!

      June 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Heather

      I am a CHRISTIAN and I dislike that Mormons call themselves christians. You can call yourselves anything you want, but not a christian. I can't even believe that you put Jesus' name on your buildings, when your "faith" is not even based on the Bible or Jesus. I don't have a problem with the religion only that you want to group yourself in with Christians. My daughter has a friend that is Mormon and she does not know one thing about Jesus. Christmas & Easter are not based on Jesus in your church. The only thing taught during that time is that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny visits. How is that Christian? You have to believe that The Lord Jesus Christ is your savior and that he died for your sins. Christians believe in Grace and NOT how may things we can do to "buy" our way into heaven. Have your "faith" but leave my SAVIOR out of it!

      June 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • GRM

      Just a reality plug here..................It's a cult.

      June 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Atheist Meanie

      Heather, you're an idiot. I'm an atheist, and yet even I know that Mormons believe that "that The Lord Jesus Christ is your savior," and that Christmas and Easter have everything to do with Jesus. As for not being based on the Bible ... they use the King James Bible.

      I think you're all a bit goofy for believe any of that stuff, but you can at least be Christian enough to not badmouth other people based on ridiculous lies.

      June 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Heather

      Athiest Meanie,

      I said that they do NOT believe that Jesus is THEIR savior. They do not get to heaven through him. I agree that Christmas and Easter are associated with christian beliefs, but Mormons have no foundation for what those holidays actually represent. The only idiot here is you!

      June 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Aaron

      Heather,

      Have you been to a Mormon church with your daughter's friend around Christmas or Easter? Unfortunately, Christmas and Easter have become too commercialized and while I think it's good to celebrate these days with presents and easter egg hunts, any Mormon that attends regularly can tell you that Christ is not only the main focus of these holidays, but of the entire church. The Mormon faith is based on many things, Christ being the center, thus the name of the church. And they absolutely believe that Christ is everyones savior and that he died for all of the sins of mankind, yours and mine included.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Segev Stormlord

      Yeah, um, Heather? I'm a mormon. I believe in Christ, that He is my Lord and Savior, and thanks to His atonement, my sins can be forgiven and washed clean so I may one day return to live with Heavenly Father. Christmas is a celebration of the miraculous and blessed birth of our Savior, and Easter is the celebration of His atonement and resurrection. I don't know where you got your mistaken ideas about what we believe, but I assure you, you're wrong.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  7. Dave

    I suggest reading "Under the Banner of Heaven," by John Krakauer. While it deals with a particular murder case involving members of a polygamist sect, it provides a good overview of the founding of the religion, its tenets, and the history of the different LDS sects, including the mainstream LDS church.

    June 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Adam

      I suggest reading the http://Www.lds.org
      If you want to know something ask the source

      June 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • spalin

      I recommend the South Park episode. If you are going to have to listen to something so completely absurd and obviously fabricated, you might as well get a laugh out of it.

      June 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Dave

      Going to http://www.lds.org would only give you what the LDS church wants outsiders to see. For instance, I doubt the LDS church would want potential converts to know that one of the beliefs of the church is that god resides on the star/planet Kolob. Or that the supposed translation of the book of Mormon by Joseph Smith was accomplished by reading ancient golden plates (never viewed by people independent of the LDS church) using magic glasses or a magic seer stones, known as the Urim and Thummin. Or that secret temple rituals are actually recycled Masonic rituals that Smith was familiar with. Or that plural marriage, outlined in D&C 132 and practiced by the founder, Joseph Smith jr. (who had 34 wives, two of whom were 14 at marriage), was only refuted by the mainstream LDS church as a condition for Utah to become a state.

      The LDS church filters information to potential members, gradually "luring" people into feeling comfortable with the church prior to slowly reveal these less than attractive details. Converts are slowly indoctrinated into these beliefs to gain acceptance. Children, on the other hand, are brainwashed from birth.

      June 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • SquareRootOfMinusOne

      David, you wrote "Nothing in our doctrine suggests or says that there are innumerable Gods in the Universe. We believe in ONE Heavenly Father. He is THE GOD of the Universe". But MeganColorado wrote "Man can evolve to become like God" within the LDS faith in this very same web page. Well what is it? I believe MeganColorado is the open and frank one and I respect and salute his frankness. My LDS friend David, it's time to lay out your beliefs like MeganColorado and not beat around the bush. Have your leaders spell it all out in your Creed. If you are the chosen prophetic ones, what are you all afraid of? Did John the Baptist beat around the bush? People will respect you all the more for your frankness, believe me.

      June 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  8. Blake

    The photo is misleading, it is obviously not a picture of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – it appears to be Individuals of the FLDS church.

    June 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  9. Chuck

    http://mormon.org/

    June 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  10. barnyfife

    It is a religous cult. The truth is not in them.

    June 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Dave

      And the truth is in any other religion?

      June 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Adam

      You know all truth? Nice brah!

      June 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • AJ

      Who are you and how do you know everything about everything?

      June 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  11. justobserving

    I don't see much liberty in the Mormon Church, especially those that arrange marriages with old men and young teenage girls.
    Disgusting!! Joseph Smith and B. Young sound like early days pedophiles. They both had multiple wives.

    June 28, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • RRSJD

      Pretty ignorant reply. The LDS church does not arrange marriages, nor encourage pedophilia. You are refering to the FLDS church and Warren Jeffs which is a splinter group not following the LDS doctrine. Polygamy was practiced by the Church for a time, and would seem in our times of social freedoms to not be much of an aberration. You really should know from whence you speak before you insert foot in mouth.

      June 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  12. John John

    Mormanism is just a myth based on on a myth. The idea that modern man can believe in religions is pretty well an indicator that education needs to be kicked up a notch.
    A picture is worth a thousand words:

    June 28, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • spalin

      I second that.

      June 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Heather

      I will TOTALLY agree with that!

      June 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Heather

      I totally agree only that Mormanism is a myth made up by a man that was looking for a religion of his own when he couldn't decide which one to be (Joseph Smith). I am a Chistian who believes in Jesus. That does not make me ignorant.

      June 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • FTroop

      Heather,

      Christianity is made up crap as well.

      June 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Heather

      FTroop,

      I guess time will tell. You had better hope you are right 🙂

      June 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  13. NJN

    I knew very little about many religions as I grew up, having a Unitarian father and a Presbyterian mother- despite that they were married 60 years. I had some Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist friends but it didn't matter to us.
    My first full time job was at an international company so there were LOTS of different religions at the headquarters: Baptists, Jews, Islam, a very unique fallen Muslim , and Mormons. I had two Mormons as my supervisors and they were probably some of the most kind and understanding, as well as equality minded, bosses I've ever had. Later there, I met a Mormon woman who had a great sense of humor (when she laughed, she honked, a beloved memory). She told us some of the things women were expected to do or be as a Mormon. Fascinating, but no big deal.
    Years later I had a devout Muslim who was one of my greatest bosses EVER. We had some interesting discussions. He came from Alexandria, Egypt and that just made it all more amazing. And this was just after Terry Anderson had written 'Den of Lions'. He wasn't anything like those people.
    There are good and bad people in every population, folks. The spiritual ones are the special ones.

    June 28, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Leticia

      I totally agree. I've been a LDS (aka "Mormon") all my life. I love the church and all it stands for, but I have met my share of people who rub me the wrong way. But we have a saying in our church, "The Gospel is true / perfect, but the people aren't." In other words, NONE of us is perfect. We all have our flaws, but that doesn't make the Gospel any less true. That's why we're on this earth; to learn from our mistakes and to try to rise higher, to be better and to help those who are going though stuff that we've already gotten through.

      June 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  14. Mike

    http://www.wpray4u.com

    June 28, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  15. person

    I found religion, really, is just wanting a father figure (to disobey as you see fit of course and rationalize it depending on exacltly what region of the world you live in, how far they progressed as a people, their overall beliefs, etc). You want rules...structure really, someone you'll always have to answer you (but yet not at all). I dunno, I just see a bunch of people waiting for a pat on the head and a "GOOD BOY! WHO'S A GOOD BOY?! YOUZ A GOOD BOY!!! :-D"

    June 28, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Lol

      Someone was molested

      June 28, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  16. NoSacredCow

    Like many religions Mormonism was started by a con man named Joseph Smith. The LDS fights fervently to suppress the info. Joseph Smith was a known confidence man who would con people into believing he would find buried treasure using a special bauble that he would look through. Later it was expanded to include the magic golden discs that nobody else ever saw except his close associates. Come on, it just stinks of a con game doesn't it?
    THe LDS has a long history of ex-communication of dissenters and banning members from having contact with ex-communicated members even if family. The Jehovah's Witnesses has the same type of policy.

    All cults/cons do.

    June 28, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Free

      Also, Moses murdered an Egyptian and Jesus was executed as a criminal, so Smith fits into the Christian tradition well enough.

      June 28, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • StopNSee

      Thinking about our home today, this globe of immense diversity of everything imaginable, I thought about my car. My car, something that came from the earth just like everything else manmade, is a miraculous thing. But could a machine like that just come together, even with all the right parts in the same location? Say a tornado came and picked up all the pieces, could it just accidently be put together?

      What faith, what immense faith an atheist must have. Forget about the complexities of the earth and the beautiful harmony of the solar system and all the planets, just consider the human. So many things just happened to be perfect on this earth for survival and procreation and buildings and cars! If the believers had as much faith as the atheists, there is no telling what miracles would happen. -Chris Brown

      June 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  17. SquareRootOfMinusOne

    Could a LDS believer or scholar just point out, without going into too much detail why, what part(s) of the Nicene Creed is/are not a belief of the LDS Church, if any? I have included the Nicene Creed below for your convenience:

    I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

    And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

    June 28, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • AFD

      Mormons do not believe in the Trinity.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • SquareRootOfMinusOne

      AFD, thanks for your reply. So what do LDS believers believe in – a Unity, a Duality, a Multiplicity, an Infinity, etc...?

      June 28, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Roger Tooon

      In reply to SquareRootOfMinusOne,

      They pretty much believe in polytheism – the goal of every person is to eventually progress to become a god themselves and have their own planet somewhere. To them, the god of this world used to be just like us at some point in the past in some other realm of the universe.

      June 28, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Ben Curtis

      Mormons believe in a Godhead of God, the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. They are three separate personages, God and Jesus having glorified bodies of flesh and bone, the Holy Ghost being a spirit. This and other basic beliefs can be found in the Articles of Faith.

      June 28, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Just browsing

      SquareRoot,

      Looks like Ben beat me to it, so here's a link to the Articles of Faith:

      http://lds.org/scriptures/pgp/a-of-f/1.1-13?lang=eng#1

      We do believe in the members of the Godhead as three distinct individuals.

      June 28, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Kurt Dowdle

      Mormons believe all of the above creed literally. The belief that Christ actually sits on the right hand of God the Father and is literally the Son of God and that the Holy Spirit is also a separate being and that they function as One God is where the point of contention arises. They actually believe the creed more completely as it is written than any other church. But when the expert interpreters begin breaking down every minute detail in an attempt to clarify the "real" meaning they are somehow able to declare Mormons as heretics for their literalism.

      June 28, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • D

      They also believe that Satan is the brother of Jesus...rather than a fallen archangel.

      June 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • SquareRootOfMinusOne

      I might be mistaken but the impression I am consistently getting from LDS believers is that they want desperately to be accepted within the Christian community. They will tell you an unlimited amount of Mormon doctrine that seems to coincide with Christian doctrine but at the same time they will somehow leave out some contradictory doctrine. Is it by design that they do that? I would prefer to chalk that up to how they were taught to envangelize as elders to non-Mormons. Case in point, they will tell you how wonderful your view of the Holy Trinity is but they will not be up front right away with the fact that they believe in an innumerable number of Gods throughout the universe. My LDS friends, it's time to lay out your beliefs and not beat around the bush. People will respect you all more for that, believe me.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • James

      SquareRootMinusOne

      More than being accepted in the Christian community – I (being LDS) am anxious to proclaim my belief in Jesus Christ. I personally believe in any type of interfaith dialogue it is important to look for commonalities and build on those. I will however, be open on what I perceive to be the distinctions – but it takes an open dialogue for this to occur as I am not expert on the beliefs of others nor do I expect them to be expert on my beliefs.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Segev Stormlord

      We don't beat around the bush about it. Claiming we "believe in" many gods is wrong. We believe that we can become as God, as a child becomes as his parents. We believe that God the Father is our spiritual Father and the one and only God we worship. We believe that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our spiritual eldest brother, and the God of the Old Testament, and that He obtained a body like ours when He was born of Mary as the only physically begotten Son of God. We believe He died and rose from the dead, now possessing a perfected body of flesh and bone like unto our Father in Heaven. We believe that Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, was one of the most high in our number as the spirit children of God. As such, he was our brother and Christ's brother. He was also an arch-angel, as all "angels" are is messengers of God – which can be pre- or post-mortal spirits or even resurrected men and women. Lucifer rebelled and fell, convincing 1/3 of our spirit brethren to follow him, and they became Satan and his demon host, forever banished from God's presence. He is the Adversary who seeks to bring misery to all men and to guide us away from God so that we cannot have what he cannot. If we follow Christ's teachings, we can return to live with Heavenly Father and enjoy eternal life and happiness.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  18. Reality

    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. "

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    -------------------------------------------

    June 28, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  19. rosethornne

    So...... Glenn Beck is a Mormon.
    That explains a lot.

    June 28, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • dscotty

      (I'm assuming you think Beck is way too extreme?) I totally agree. Please don't judge Mormons on any one person – seriously – he's definitely in the minority in his views.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • Segev Stormlord

      Harry Reid is also a mormon. I wouldn't vote for him if I lived in Nevada, and I hope nobody looks at him and judges the church on his choices.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  20. Bob Smith

    South Park broke it down better.

    Google it folks.... South Park Mormons

    June 28, 2011 at 6:44 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.