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. Mike

    Can't get anything posted around here.

    June 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  2. Mike

    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    June 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • me too

      I think it's human intervention already, not with those naughty words combinations.

      June 30, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  3. emanym

    14 million members is just not true. OK, they may have "baptized" 14 million unsuspecting, vulnerable people, put there are not 14 million practicing mormons. That number includes all people who have left the church and did not officially resign. So, for those of you reading this who no longer consider yourself a mormon, send in a letter to church headquarters and tell them to take your name off of church records. Their claim of 14 million members is very misleading – like most things in the mormon church.

    June 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • REally

      Whatever the accurate number is it does NOT matter. True not everyone is "practicing" just as in other churches/faiths not EVERYONE is currently 100% active. Again, the numbers are irrevelant. No need to be bitter or hostile, you choose to be part of a religion no one can FORCE you, so why bash the church?

      June 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Brian

      The Mormons continually, proudly are the ones who raise the 14 million member number because the growth and new prominence of the church "proves" the divinity of their church to them.

      I am one of the 14 million but after 40+ years, no longer participate. The worldwide number of active members is well below 40%, probably below 30% It took me a long time to get up the courage to leave behind the silly stories. The people are good people. The history and doctrine that you only find out about on your own (don't hear it at church) is what finally drove me out after decades of research. Common sense finally won out.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • GodPot

      I am one of the 14 thousand but after 10+ years, no longer participate. The worldwide number of active LARP'ers (Live Action Role Players) is well below 40%, probably below 30% It took me a long time to get up the courage to leave behind the silly D & D stories. The people are good people. The cost's and upkeep that you only find out about on your own (don't hear it at a match) is what finally drove me out after years of research. Common sense finally won out.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • emanym

      REally, you are the one being hostile. If the number of members is irrelevant, I wonder why it is always mentioned. It is misleading. I do not hear of other religions boasting about numbers EVERY time their faith is mentioned in the news.

      June 30, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • gozer

      The number would be zero if they had active, functioning brains. But it's hard to go looking for the golden tablets when your magic underwear is so tight.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  4. Hali

    I was raised LDS, went to seminary and basically was a good Mormon girl until high school. Then I started thinking for myself. I live in Utah, alomost very person I know is LDS, and I love most of them a lot. But they are SO judgemental! And then they say the aren't, which makes it even worse. It is exhausting to try and keep up with Utah Mormons, they all try to be so perfect and going to church on Sunday started to become like going to a "modest" fashion show. I just couldn't keep swallowing all the "stories", and I don't like the idea of a heaven where everyone is seperated by whether or not you got married in the right place (not married in the temple? No Celestial Kingdom for you!). And my poor mother, who is still actively practicing, wanted a divorce from an emotionally abusive husband and her bishop tried to talk her into staying married AFTER agreeing that he was abusive! Because marriage is so "sacred". Bleh. Organized religion of any sort is not for me.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • REally

      That's rough. Sorry you went through that. Your mother still "practices" because she believes what she believes. Parents can not force their children to believe as they do, all they can do is raise and guide them in truth. Eventually when our children move away from home, become adults, it is their CHOICE. Marriage takes work regardless how or where you are married. Your parents marriage has nothing to do with you. There are NO guarantees in this life, all we can do is live a good life, and whatever that "good life" is, each individuals salvation is their own. Again it takes work to have a healthy marriage, if one partner doesn't do their part, it will fail. About those members in Utah, that's too bad that they give that facade of self-righteousness. That is NOT how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints members are taught to live, you will find fake people anywhere you live no matter their religion/beliefs! We all have trials, we all have failures, NO ONE is perfect. You are STILL a good person. For some, we need to step away from everything and take time to find out what we truly believe and it may take a lifetime. Best regards.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • emanym

      Hali, that's one of the big problems with the mormon church (regarding your mom). The church is run by men who have no training in how to counsel others. They are men who work long hours in other jobs and really have no clue what to say to someone who comes in for guidance. Their generic answers: be sure to read your scriptures and have family prayer. Been there, done that.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  5. JB


    June 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  6. Dale C

    Atheist, I guess you think those people were all innocent like the mobster who shot my ancestor in the back for a jug of whiskey in Far West. I don't condone what happened, but that wagon train was full of mobsters with blood on their hands and they bragged about it and they were not innocent!

    June 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Atheist

      Yeah, all those mobster women and children had to die, huh? Christ, you people make me physically ill.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • RLP1509

      Interesting for @Atheist to take the Lord's name in vain. Very Very interesting.

      June 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Artist


      Interesting for @Atheist to take the Lord's name in vain. Very Very interesting.
      Jesus f ing christ the agnostics are always left out. Sure give Atheists all the credit.

      June 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • RLP1509

      Sorry for leaving the agnostics out!! @Artist you hit a new low with your comment. Congratulations!!! Do you feel better now?

      July 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said "Jesus fucking christ the agnostics are always left out. Sure give Atheists all the credit."

      Agnostics our sissies. They need to make up thier minds.


      July 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  7. Surfer_Zen

    Belief in any religion should be to do good to humanity and not harm others.
    Any religion that serves people and help them will have followers.
    Mormons, Christians, Muslim, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists all believe in "the Truth".
    It is imperative we recognize their individual religious beliefs and accept the followers as our brothers and sisters.
    Harmony between followers of different religions comes from tolerance of each other and common goodwill.
    So let your own GOD give you the path to self realization and true salvation.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  8. REally

    If you really want to know about the Mormon church, visit one on Sunday. Look up the address "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" in your phonebook/local internet. You have to find out for yourself,...not by listening to others comments. No one has to join, no one is brainwashed, it's YOUR choice if you want to learn more, it's YOUR choice to believe or not to believe anything!

    June 29, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  9. SquareRootOfMinusOne

    I might be mistaken but the impression I am consistently getting from LDS believers is that they desperately want to be accepted within the Christian community. They will tell you an unlimited amount of Mormon doctrine that wonderfully coincides with your 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 evangelize as elders to non-Mormons. Case in point, they will tell you how your wonderful view of the Holy Trinity coincides with their view of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but they will not be up front right away with the fact that they believe in the existence of an innumerable number of Gods throughout our universe. My LDS friends, it's time to lay out your beliefs and not beat around the bush. Spell it all out in your Creed. If you are the chosen prophetic ones, what are you afraid of? Did John the Baptist beat around the bush? People will respect you all more for your frankness, believe me.

    June 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • David

      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. He is the Alpha and Omega.
      Mormons don't have a strong desire to be accepted by one community or another. They simply don't accept the idea or the implication that they aren't Christian by it's purest definition–which is that Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer. To suggest that we aren't Christian is to imply to the lay world that we don't believe in Christ. Pretty simple.

      June 29, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Atheist

      Very true. Mormons love to leave out salient facts about their religion. For example, this article makes no mention of the fact that the church was officially racist until 1978. Before that time, they believed that dark skinned people were "Sons of Ham" and being punished by God. Also not mentioned is the Mountain Meadows massacre in 1857, when Mormons convinced settlers passing through Utah to surrender their firearms, then killed them all.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm |

      why do people seem to want to bash other religions. If you find a religion that you truely believe in what it teaches that is great.. If you have not found that religion that gives you the comfort that you are looking for keep looking. The LDS Church sends their followers out into the world to preach what they believe in. No one forces anyone to listen. Many people open up their doors and hearts to this religion and are happy. focus on what makes you happy and live with it. stop wasting everyones time in trying to de-bunk something that you know knowing about. Mormons help thousands of people all over the world find what they are looking for in a religion. That is why it is such a great church. they don't trash other religions in fact if you really take a look they have helped other churches when distasters happen. Mormons put there hands out to everyone and I mean everyone

      June 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Atheist

      From the Book of Mormon:
      2 Nephi 5:21-23:
      "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."
      Tell me,MASHELLE, how does that help anyone?

      June 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • REally

      Yes you are mistaken, your "impression" is just that, an IMPRESSION. Why would I want to PROVE to everyone else that I'm Christian? Love and serve your fellow man...you do it because it is RIGHT.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Brian

      David's assertion that there is nothing in the Mormon doctrine that suggests that there is more than one God is blatantly false. The purpose of life, according the Mormons, is to achieve exaltation, which means becoming a God with the ability to procreate hereafter and populate other planets subject to you as a God. That answer is generally not given publicly because in the eyes of the Mormons it is "meat before milk", meaning that the uninitiated is not ready to hear such things. This coming from a member of 40+ years.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • SquareRootOfMinusOne

      David, I dare any one of your leaders to come out and officially deny the doctrine of deification which results in innumerable Gods.

      Mashelle, you are hiding behind post-modern relativism when you say that if one has found a religion that he truely believes in what it teaches that is great. You are relativizing truth down to one's own subjective choice. Truth is based on absolutes. If Truth is not absolute then anything goes.

      June 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • another Brian

      Actually, the purpose of life according to Mormonism is to have joy. And the fulness of that joy is being perfected in such a way that we return to God. The fall of Adam separated us from God, and we are through the Atonement of Christ, we can return to God through repentance and endurance. Hence the book of Mormon verse, "In Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive", and "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they may have joy". So we must be like God to return to God. But being like God does not mean there are infinite gods (although you could interpret it that way), rather the concept that God is one, regardless of who or how many persons (in trinity speak) are God-like. So, God is one, and we can become like God (and now suddenly being one with God makes a whole lot more sense). Oh, and in this context, just the term "God" is ambiguous because you could mean God the Father, God the Son or God the Holy Ghost. Of course, most people equate God with the Father, but is that really what is meant?

      July 3, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • another Brian

      Oh, and deification is the incorrect term. It is much closer to Theosis, something that existed in Christianity long before Joseph Smith.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:08 am |
  10. Sheeple

    You are all sheep, and you kneel for the wolf.

    Have any of you actually read the books that your Christian/Judaic/Islamic faiths are based on?
    Your faiths all revolve around blind fear, slavery and intimidation.
    You are worshiping the opposite of what you think you do.

    WAKE UP!!!
    Educate your self and your children – use the mind given to you.

    Don't drink the kool-aid!!!

    June 28, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Sara

      I would like to ask you the same question: Have you read the books that my faith is based on? Have you read the Bible or the Book of Mormon or the Quran?

      I find it ironic when someone considers religious belief to be "ignorant". I will grant that there are people in the world who follow a religious tradition without questioning it or putting any effort into understanding it. However, I contend that a mindset like that can be found in almost any group or organization or culture. Blind faith is not exclusive to a belief in a religion.

      Personally, I have studied the Bible. I would like to say that I have read it cover to cover but, I haven't quite accomplished that yet. I hope to. I have read the Book of Mormon completely more than once, several times actually. I have also studied portions of the Quran. I believe that true religious conviction requires a person to learn and to understand for themselves and not to rely on the faith of others. And to that end, I will educate myself and find truth wherever it resides.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  11. ElijahsFury

    Just ask TRey Parker and friends. They got it spot on! "Your making things up again, Arnold!!" " I got maggots in my crotch(because thats how God blesses his prophets)"

    June 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  12. justsaying

    Catholics also believe in "in sacred texts outside the Bible" if the Bible is Protestant.

    June 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • BobR

      Yes, but the Book of Mormon has cooler pictures.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  13. Targeteer B

    I was an active Mormon for years, but ultimately found some of the church's beliefs too difficult to swallow, namely:

    – Earth and its inhabitants did not come into being as the result of nature doing its thing, but was rather CREATED by a SUPERNATURAL BEING called GOD.

    – When we humans die, we do not actually die. Nope, we go on to an AFTERLIFE, the quality of which is dependent on how well we follow the rules of GOD.

    I mean, come on. If you can believe that, you can believe anything.

    June 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • myklds

      The very first line of your post obviously has made your nose grown a foot longer. While the rest makes it dribble simultaneously with your mouth.

      You sounds like Hitler using the name of Christ to justify his atrocity against the Jews.

      June 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  14. Heather

    President Hinkley, the prophet and revelator of the Mormon church, has publicly declared that the Jesus of Mormonism and traditional Christianity are not the same. http://carm.org/mormonism

    June 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Ben

      Heather, try getting your information from LDS sources like mormon.org and not from people that that tell lies about the LDS church. If you had medical questions, would you go to a doctor or would you ask the person that picks your garbage up every week?

      For future reference take the words of Bishop Krister Stendahl, Dean of Divinity Emeritus, Harvard University who became the Bishop of Stockholm Sweden. He said and put beautifully, "I have three rules for inner-faith discussion, to it number one: if you are going to ask the question 'what do others believe in their various faiths?’ Ask them, not their critics, not their enemies, because what one religious tradition says about another is usually a breach against a commandment, ‘thou shall not bear false witness.’

      Number two: if you are going to compare, don’t compare your bests with their worst’s but compare bests with bests. Most people think of their own tradition as it is at its best and they use character truths of the others.

      Number three: Leave room for Holy Envy. Let me give you an example of my Holy Envy for the Latter-Day Saints… When we lose our loved one we have funerals we have cemeteries but that ends our concern with those who have gone before, the Latter-Day Saints care about their forbearers to the point that they want to bring the blessings of Christ’s Atonement to them so they build temples and according to Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians they perform baptisms for the dead… I have Holy Envy for that.

      In a world where we finally have learned what I call the Holy Envy, it’s a beautiful thing. I could think of myself as taking part in such an act, extending the blessings that have come to me in and through Jesus Christ. That’s generous, that’s beautiful, and should not be ridiculed or spoken badly of.” -Bishop Krister Stendahl

      June 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • KRoland

      Hi! I'm an active lds mormon. I personaly think it's HILARIOUS to watch videos, read articles, and listen to people go on about what they think "they know" about our religious beliefs. So, I went to that site that you wrote about http://carm.org/mormonism and watched a video about "Mormonism in a nutshell." Thanks I really needed a good laugh today. I watched it and seriously bust out laughing the whole way through! I'm actually going to tell my husband he should watch it because it's stinkin hilarious! If you need a good site to know what we really believe just go to lds.org. It's an official church website.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • truth

      Heather, take the time to listen for Gordon B Hinkley's comments from the 2002 general conference...or just YouTube it yourself.


      October 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  15. Richard

    I can't believe that CNN's Belief Blog editor has posted such a superficial treatment of Mormonism. It says next to nothing about what Mormons believe; nor does it address how Mormonism differs from Catholicism, mainline Protestantism, and the Orthodox Churches. Simply skimming the Wikipedia article would provide more information.

    June 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • SUNNY

      What I can't believe is how the FLDS church can be called a "BREAKAWAY" church, when they're the ones sticking steadfastly to the commandment given through original prophet, Joseph Smith! It's obvious to me that the LDS church in SLC is the one that's doing the "breaking away" by abandoning the "everlasting" covenant given in D&C132. The LDS church makes GOD changeable, a god that changes with the changing times (besides giving up on polygamy, it retracted its ban on blacks in the priesthood, which is a good thing to do, but makes god seem like he doesn't know his own mind).

      Stick with the God of the Bible! You can depend on Him to stay true to His word!!!

      June 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  16. Hmmmmmm

    Do Mormon's believe that Christ died for their sins?

    June 28, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Yup

      Obviously, yes. Simple reading would give you that answer. Try http://www.lds.org.

      June 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Hmmmmmm

      Then do they believe that the only way to get to heaven is through Christ?

      June 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Hmmmmmm

      So, if I'm a Mormon woman and I believe in Christ and that he died for my sins do I go to heaven when I die, or do I have to have my husband "call" me up? I don't get all of this and where in the Bible does it say this?

      June 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • RLP1509

      @ Hmmmmm in order to help you understand the basic beliefs or as we call them Articles of Faith I would refer you to http://www.lds.org. However to give you a brief answer here I will quote 3 of the 13 Articles of Faith. #2 "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgression." In short we believe that you will be held accountable and so will I for our own sins and good works in this life and not for anyone else's. #3 "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. " In short Christ atoned (took upon himself our sins) so that we can be saved. We believe that we show our acceptance of this atonement by trying as best we can to keep the commandments of God. Will we fail at this? Yes!! But the beauty of the atonement is that Christ has already suffered and died so that we can be forgiven of our sins and misdeeds. #4 "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, second Repentance, Third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, fourth, Laying of of handsfor the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

      As for a woman who believes in Christ and that he atoned for her sins, she has every right and claim to heaven as does any man. We all no matter what race creed or color or nationality have equal opportunity to achieve the highest potential that God has in store for each of us. It really is up to us and no one else. If a husband and wife both are worthy of heaven we believe that they can be sealed for eternity together as husband and wife with their worthy family members.

      Please be aware that I speak only as personally understand our doctrines. I am in no way trying to be a spokesman for the Mormon Church. http://www.lds.org I believe has a question section where you can ask questions and get answers from people better able to officially answer your questions.

      June 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Tyler

      Go to heaven when you die? What about the judgement? Certainly you have to be judged first before you go to heaven And I thought that wasn't supposed to happen until Christ gets back....

      June 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Dale C

      Yes, we believe we are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ as others do, but we believe that it is after all we can do. In other words, we believe that no man is perfect save Jesus Christ only and even if we live an almost perfect life, we will still need Jesus Christ's grace to make up for the difference and save us. We don't believe that we can live a life of sin and not repent and that Christ will just wave us through. If I could sin and live it up and still be saved, what would be the point of going to church?

      June 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  17. Booger

    I am gay. My current boyfriend is Mormon. I love him.

    June 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Swinger

      And obviously, you're a liar and an atheist.

      June 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Segev Stormlord

      Not necessarily. There are mormons – as there are members of any faith – who willingly violate tenets of their faith. The response from other mormons is generally one of sorrow, because it means such members are not actually trying to receive the benefits that we are promised. But we will not forsake those who sin, even willfully, and we strive not to judge them (though we can't help but note when blatant and specific actions are against the commandments of God).

      I hope you and your boyfriend both find every happiness, and I hope that you both find your way to more Godly paths while in this life, as I am given to understand it's a lot easier to change in life than in the afterlife. (This is no more an indictment than would telling a drug addict that you hope they get over their habit, or an anorexic that you hope they learn to be comfortable with a healthy body-image and eat properly is. I just believe, and am fairly sure your mormon boyfriend does, too, that you cannot achieve ultimate happiness while on the road you're on, and I want you to find that happiness if at all possible.)

      July 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  18. M

    Women are supposed to be barefoot and pregnant all the time, and it doesn't matter how good a woman is, she can only get into heaven if her husband says so. Heaven is a world where the woman is ruled by her husband.
    And if you have a relative that died without being baptized, for a fee the Mormons will baptize that dead person.

    June 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • RLP1509

      Sorry @M your are mistaken. I have done hundreds of proxy baptisms for those that have died. I never nor has anyone else received a nickel for this. In fact I travel about 200 miles round trip at my own expense to do this. So sorry if you have been misled by someone. We don't get paid in money to do this for anyone.

      June 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Hmmmmmm


      So you acknowledge that a wife can only "get into heaven if her husband says so. Heaven is a world where the woman is ruled by her husband."?

      June 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • RLP1509

      @Hmmmm I don't acknowledge that at all. In fact several speeches on this subject have been given recently refering to women that do not even marry in this life and how they will be accepted, assuming that they have kept the commandment to the best of their ability in this life. I have never been taught in my life that a woman is totally dependent on her husband to decide whether she gets to heaven. I do not know where this began but as far as I know it is not official doctrine of the Mormon Church. I also refer you to my other response to another question you have posed in this article.

      June 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Brian

      Holy crap. Yup, that about sums up the comments of the main post.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  19. Allen

    Not sure what you don't understand Heather. Joseph Smith testified that he saw Jesus Christ under whose direction he reorganized the Church. The Book of Mormon is replete with teaching of and about Christ, and makes numerous prophetic pronouncements about his birth, life, atonement and crucifiction, and His resurrection. Scores of LDS hymns dating back to the earliest history of the Church sing praises about Jesus Christ. While many of those hymns are borrowed from Protestant and other sources, many originate with early Church members. And Christmas and Easter? Give me a break. Christ is central to the celebration of both of these holidays. If you're going to speak about something, you gotta know about it.

    June 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Heather

      I live in a town/neighborhood dominated by Mormons. I have many family members that are Mormons. I have also had many convesations with them and they do NOT acknowledge Jesus as dying for their sins. That's what a CHRISTIAN based religion is. They recognize Jesus, but not what he repersents to a Christian. I do not have a problem with Mormons and I have never "bad mouthed" them. I have a problem with them calling themselves CHRISTIANS that's all!

      June 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Heather's Refuter

      Wrong. Latter-Day Saints central their teachings on Jesus Christ's Atonement (payment for our sins):

      The Prophet Joseph Smith declared, 'The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it' ( Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 121).

      "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." -3rd Article of Faith

      June 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • cindy

      Christ is central, or all? There is a significant difference between having the sins of Adam atoned for by Christ, and having all of my personal sins atoned for as well.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Brian

      And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

      2 Nephi 25:26 (Book of Mormon)

      Of course Jesus died for our sins. That is central to Mormonism.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:15 am |
  20. Echo

    ....I'm sorry, special undergarments? What kind? This is absolutely vital to my understanding of this article. Mostly because I laughed so hard when I read it I couldn't keep going. I'm dying to know what religious undergarments are.

    June 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Adam

      There's a lot of important symbolism involved but it's the same concept as somebody wearing a wedding ring to honor the covenant made with a spouse. The bible talks about different sacred clothings worn in old testament times.. It's like that

      June 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • i wonder

      Echo: You can Google the undergarments and see pictures.

      They *are* a little strange, but I have no more problem with them than with other symbolic ornamentation - crucifixes on chains, lapel pins, tattoos, nose rings, or whatever. What I do question, though, are the unbelievable fantasies which they honor and proclaim as truth.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • emanym

      If you google "Mormon Underwear" you can see them. They have markings on breast area, navel area and knee. All info for markings can be found online. They are to be warn at all times, unless you are swimming, working out. Mormon women must wear their bra OVER the garment because the garment must touch the skin. The bottom the garment is supposed to come to the knee (that is why the marking is over the knee). But I knew a lot of mormon gals who bought the bottom part in a super small, tighter size so that they wouldn't show when they wore shorts or crossed their legs with dresses. Also the female garment has a capped sleeve, which means a mormon women should never wear a sleeveless dress. It is not uncommon for mormons to check each other to see if the other is wearing the garment. There are obvious garment lines. To say that garments are just a "symbol" along the same line as a wedding band is hysterical.

      June 30, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Segev Stormlord

      I...am sadly unsurprised by your assertion that there are mormons who "check each other" for wearing the garments. However, that level of snooping and noseyness is not doctrinal and is far too judgmental. (Heck, many mormons don't wear the garments because they've not been through the Temple yet.)

      July 7, 2011 at 4:39 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.