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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. Dave

    Oh wow, I almost died laughing at the pic on the above video!!! There is absolutley no LDS members that look like that in anywhere Iv'e ever been. Those are the fundamentalists. Wrong group CNN.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Dave

      Oh yeah, if you want it explained to you have a member do it. Not here. Just look at the excrement people write below. Would never listen to them.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • luvmy2k9s

      Thanks Dave, for your comment. I was thinking the same thing, lol! The fundamentalists dress quite like Quakers I think. Nope, I'm a modern day Mormon woman and wouldn't be caught dead in such silly garb, lol..

      June 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  2. TheRationale

    I don't see how you can take religion seriously in general, much less a brand such as Mormonism.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • CF

      Right. We should look to more rational religions like Scientology.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  3. Bart in Omaha

    That was a nice white-wash job. Too bad you did not point out all of the bat-poop crazy stuff they believe in, like that Jesus actually visited the Americas and hid gold, the magic underwear thing, that the elected prophet of the church has conversations with God, that the founder, Joseph Smith, practiced polygamy, and that included children and women who were already married. However, if you type "Joseph Smith" into a search engine, it will spit out mostly pages put up by Mormons extolling Smith's virtues. Sad.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • luvmy2k9s

      Bart, you can find negative rhetoric on every religion, every suject, every person. Go to mormon.org or lds.org which are the only sites sponsored by the LDS church itself. Here you will find what we believe in and stand for.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Artist

      luvmy2k9s

      Bart, you can find negative rhetoric on every religion, every suject, every person. Go to mormon.org or lds.org which are the only sites sponsored by the LDS church itself. Here you will find what we believe in and stand for.

      -----
      no thanks I would rather visit an unbiased view of mormonism

      June 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      When the Spanish came to America, they were taken as gods, not just because of their technology, but because various cultures were looking for someone to return. The Mayans were looking for Kukulcan. The Aztecs were looking for Quetzalcoatl. The Inca were looking for Viracocha. While these are three different deities, in the separate contexts of three different cultures, the similarities raise an eyebrow or two: a white, bearded man, come from Heaven and credited with teaching that culture civilization. In some versions, he was born of a virgin, died and was resurrected. In some versions, his blood gave life to man.

      If you think it's nutty for people to believe that Jesus appeared in many cultures, and was known under different names, consider what it is you DON'T consider nutty: That there's an invisible man in the sky, that he's a single parent, that he or part of him was born into the world by the miraculous impregnation of a virgin, that his birth was attended by the floating of a star over his birthplace, that he walked on water, that he turned water into wine, that he cured blindness by spitting on dirt and jamming that in somebody's eye, that menstrual issues could be cured by touching the hem of his garment, that he sent demons into pigs, that he could issue a voice command and cure somebody at a distance, that getting nailed to a cross relieved the not-yet-born of their not-yet-committed sins, that he died and went to Hell, that he came back to life three days after brain death, that he floated away and that he's waiting to come back, take over the world, slaughter his enemies and build cities where the streets are paved with gold. Consider the idea or original sin (that you are in trouble for being born), that infants must be baptized or end up in limbo, that sin can be eliminated by reciting the right phrases, the right number of times, or that a priest can turn a wafer into the actual body of a dead Jew, which is to be eaten by the congregation.

      Where, exactly, does one draw the line?

      June 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • MW

      Artist–
      Wouldn't an unbiased view of Mormonism come from the acutal Mormons telling you their beliefs? Not from someone who doesn't believe it telling you what they think the Mormons believe? I mean, going straight to the source seems as unbiased as it can get!

      June 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Artist

      MW

      Artist–
      Wouldn't an unbiased view of Mormonism come from the acutal Mormons telling you their beliefs? Not from someone who doesn't believe it telling you what they think the Mormons believe? I mean, going straight to the source seems as unbiased as it can get!

      -----------
      Yes to a certain extent. Then of course validate through 3rd party sources. Looking back I need to clarify...I was thinking "learning about" meaning the history...not their "word". Obviously they would be the best source if I was interested in their "word".
      .
      Before you accept someone's word, do you not validate in some way in your mind etc whether "they/founder/source" has integrity?

      June 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  4. sunshinegirl

    The article seems to be pretty accurate. The beauty of America as that everyone is allowed to practice their own belief system no matter how strange it may seem to outsiders. My gripe would be....don't use your religion and get tax exempt status and run a business. Don't use your religious organizations to interfere in the political process (prop 8 anyone). And really...missionaries in 2011? The whole concept is the remanents of a misguided colonial notion based on cultural superiority.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      I agree with the idea of staying out of politics. Had I been a Californian, I'd have voted No on Prop 8. Either way, voters should make their own decisions. It is wrong to mingle religious influence with civil government.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  5. Corey Anderson

    Your photos are not of "Mormons." This style of dress is typical of members of "The Community of Christ" which originally called themselves "The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". This group practices polygamy, and is not related to the Mormon church in any way...nor Marriott, or the two presidential candidates. If news stories are to be flashed to a nationwide audience, I would hope the writer would do a little more research instead of showing what appears to be the most critical and backwards photos of a religion that they dont understand. Shows great ignorance for someone trying to "explain" Mormonism.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Kyle

      Corey – this photo does NOT show members of the Community of Christ. The Community of Christ does NOT practice polygamy. The photo shows members most likely from the FLDS Church.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • luvmy2k9s

      Thank you for those comments Corey...

      June 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Montanamormon

      Corey,

      The Community of Christ is not the same thing as the FLDS church. In fact, it is surprising how many different off chutes of the LDS church there are. I don't know this to be true, but I have also heard the Community of Christ has now released the Book of Mormon from its official canon of scripture. If somebody who knows more could confirm that would be great.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  6. SMS in Texas

    Additionally, that picture at the start of the video appears to be of Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints – not mainstream mormons. Nice job CNN.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  7. Artist

    Beginning in the early 1820s, Joseph Smith was paid to act as a "seer" in (mostly unsuccessful) attempts to locate lost items and find precious metals hidden in the earth. Smith's procedure was to place the stone in a white stovepipe hat, put his face over the hat to block the light, and then "see" the necessary information in the stone's reflections. His favored stone, chocolate-colored and about the size of an egg, was found in a deep well he helped dig for one of his neighbors. In the words of Richard Bushman, there is ample evidence that Smith never "repudiated the stones or denied their power to find treasure. Remnants of the magical culture stayed with him to the end."

    In 1830 Hiram Page, one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, claimed to have had a series of revelations through a black seer stone. After Smith announced that these revelations were of the devil, Page agreed to discard the stone which, according to a contemporary, was "Broke to powder and the writings Burnt." Apparently the apostasy of some early Mormon believers can be traced to Smith's move away from the use of seer stones. The Whitmer family, devoted to their importance, "later said their disenchantment with Mormonism began when Joseph Smith stopped using his seer stone as an instrument of revelation."
    ---------
    Interesting how fast Joey got rid of the idea of somebody else having "visions". Mormon faith is directly related to this LOL.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • marc

      Just shaking my head at your vast ignorance. Believe what you will. One day it will all become quite clear.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Artist

      I meant to say their faith is in a loon named Joseph Smith. Interesting that he would need stones, rather than god or an angel talking to him. Also, wouldn't what he did be considered witchcraft kind of LOL

      June 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • CF

      Still waiting to see the golden tablets and the results of carbon 14 tests on the scrolls.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Artist

      Marc, so are you suggesting that your Joey never used seer stones?

      June 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Artist

      CF

      Still waiting to see the golden tablets and the results of carbon 14 tests on the scrolls.

      ----
      Didn't those disappear?

      June 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Artist

      marc

      Just shaking my head at your vast ignorance. Believe what you will. One day it will all become quite clear.

      ---------–

      Also I have to wonder how much modern day mormons know less about the origins of their founder and his "practices". Times have changed, so must the truth. Because the truth can reveal how foolish some things are.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • CF

      Marc – do you have something a bit more specific than "one day"? Say, something like May 21 or October 21, 2011, or December 2012.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Artist

      CF

      Marc – do you have something a bit more specific than "one day"? Say, something like May 21 or October 21, 2011, or December 2012.

      -----–

      He will but first must look at his seer stone.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      Artist, I hear what you're saying about Mormonism and early Mormon history. History shouldn't be denied, distorted or discarded. If there are skeletons in the Mormon closet, they should be acknowledged for what they are. But Mormon history, and even Mormon beliefs, are not the same thing as the Mormon way of life. The merits of Mormon life have surprisingly little to do with historical issues, just as Jewish and Christian living – in general – depend so little on whether Moses and Jesus ever existed. To this day, there is not a single scrap of evidence that either man ever lived, apart from being a character in a book that has come to be revered by countless of the faithful. It's not what happened. It's not even what people believed happened. It's how people use these stories to give meaning and expression to their lives.

      Mormons, Baptists, Jews and Catholics all have different conceptual maps but what really matters is how someone's faith is used to improve the quality of that person's life. I, personally, don't believe in transubstantiation, but I can see how believing it would make a person more thoughtful about performing the eucharist. More important than this is the degree to which the mass, or the sacrament as Mormons call it, encourages a person to live a better quality of life. Every group has its beliefs and rituals, but where the rubber hits the road is in how a person uses faith to live a different kind of life.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • NoBS

      @marc Yeah, you don't even bother to refute it, just attack the messenger. Classic apologist tactic.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Artist

      I understand what you are saying. Mormonism is unique being it is less than 200 years old. This means we can pretty much look closely at claims etc. Where the rubber meets the road (integrity) starts with Joseph, his claims and activities. What is interesting is the move to Utah and isolation of mormons was crucial to its current day success. If they had remained in Illinois etc no doubt they would have faded into history. I am not sure if mormons know the true history of Joseph Smith and the origins of mormonism. But even if they did, the isolation and multi generations would provide a cushion from certain realities.

      No doubt the mormon church is now a serious force to be taken seriously. With money comes power, with power comes expansion.

      June 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Artist

      NoBS

      @marc Yeah, you don't even bother to refute it, just attack the messenger. Classic apologist tactic.
      -----------–

      As I mentioned, interesting that no one has addressed the use of see stones and looking into a hat. Or Josephs history of using seer stones to find lost treasures etc. Joseph has HUGE credibility issues it appears.

      June 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    I had the good fortune to meet and get to know a number of Mormons when I was in the Navy. I found them to be pretty much the same as everyone else who served in the Submarine Fleet. Some were faithful to every tenet of their Church, while others appeared to be Mormon in name only. This is pretty much the same as every other Christian denomination you find today.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      Good point! My grandmother, who was not affiliated with any church, was the greatest moral influence of my life. She didn't wrap herself in any creed. She simply did what was right and taught her children and grandchildren to do the same. The nice thing about right and wrong is that they aren't dependent upon affiliation. There's nothing to hide behind. You are what you do.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  9. Gary

    Not included in the article are the weird things that are done in the Mormon temples. As a former Mormon, I am happy to explain. The Washings and Annointings rituals involve taking your clothes off and putting on a white sheet. Then a little oil is put on the person's head and they are annointed. Then the person puts the garments on (the white underwear that Mormons wear). The enownment session is another ritual done in the temple. People attending this session put on white robes and a green apron. They recite things like "Oh God, hear the words of my mouth" and practice doing secret handshakes. Prior to the 1990s, Mormons used to do a gesture of slitting their throats if they ever revealed the secrets of the temple. And finally, Mormons do baptims in the temple for people who have died.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      Gary, it's too bad you never understood what you were doing or why. The Mormon temple experience is not weird, though it can be boring and if the heat is up too high, it can put you to sleep. Maybe you've never been to Disneyworld. Maybe you never engaged in make-believe when you were younger. Maybe you don't see the value in ritual. Lots of us, growing up in a Protestant culture, are averse to ceremony. It's too Catholic. It creeps us out. But ceremonies can be elevating, if you participate with the right spirit, the right mindset.

      All religion is show biz. All scripture is a comic book. All church attendance is live theater, an interactive, social-bonding experience. People are taught to live as their better selves. At the same time, they get out of their caves and meet each other. Churches build community. They give people a reason to trust one another, one based on mutual values and service.

      I'm sorry you were freaked out when you received your washing and anointing, an act that treated you like a king in order to get you to think more highly of yourself and of your potential as a person. Every person, in acting as a moral agent, has the opportunity to make decisions that make the world a little better or a little worse. Every person, in making choices, helps or harms those affected by these decisions.

      I'm also sorry you were freaked out by the endowment ceremony, where people act out the role of Adam and Eve and apply the lessons of the Garden story to their daily lives. I don't know about you, but I wasn't born into paradise. The world I inherited is a rough place. But each of us can build our own garden by adopting certain principles and living productive lives. Did you get so hung up on the rituals and mechanics that you forgot about what really matters? Clean living, respect for ourselves and others, hard work, integrity, accountability, sobriety, community, fidelity – all impact the quality of our lives.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • NoBS

      Uh oh, the apologists are going to be on you now... you can't give out the Masonic rights. Now they will attack your credibility and deny, deny, deny... lying for the lord.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • saraha

      Another former mormon here, this temple stuff is true. If that's being treated like a god, then I had the wrong ideas about heaven growing up.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  10. Peter E

    CNN must be liberal... they are more tolerant and favorable towards fringe Christians like mormons than self-righteous right-wingers are. CNN puts mormons in far more favorable light than Fox News.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      There's no need to be jealous. Mormons are a temporary headline. Give the news media five minutes and they'll move onto something else. In the meantime, maybe you should wipe the chip off your shoulder and make friends with a "fringe Christian" or two. Maybe, when all is said and done, the differences between people are much smaller than what binds them together.

      Just because this group does church a little differently from that group, there's no reason to forget the higher values you learned in whatever church – or community – you call home.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Montanamormon

      I am fairly conservative, and I agree with this.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  11. jean

    have to disagree...foundational to the Christian faith is the belief that there is one true God. Mormonism does not hold this belief. Mormons ultimate "reward" for their life lived here on earth is the opportunity to become a god in the afterlife but only for those who reach the highest level of heaven (they believe in levels to heaven and no hell). While different christian denominations differ (particularly Catholicism) none veer from the foundational truth of who God is (and that there is but One – I am). while i agree with the author that Mormonism differs (drastically) from Christianity I am surprised that his support of that position is their choice of clothing (which would not set it outside of the Christian faith) and not the belief that you can become like God (which is the orignal sin commited by Eve).

    June 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Lisa

      Prove it. Prove that this is the foundation of the Christian religion. Prove the defition of what "Christian" is, not your opinion or someone else's.

      I want something straight from Jesus's mouth that tells me what a Christian is and what a Christian isn't. Without that little thing right there, everything you spout off is nothing more than your opinion. You're more than welcome to state that Mormons aren't Christian, but you have no way to back this up.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • CF

      Eve, the temptress. But for that talking snake in the magical fruit tree, we would all be living without original sin in the Garden of Eden.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Lisa

      Prove that Eve existed and really did take fruit from a tree. Prove any of it.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Nathan

      Eve's transgression was not that she wanted to be like God, but that she ate the fruit after being commanded not to. After she and Adam ate the fruit, God acknowledged that they had become like Him, at least in their recognition of good and evil–Genesis 3:22, "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us." (King James version). [Note the interesting word choice at the end of that phrase–"us"].

      June 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • delaney

      to lisa: "yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." Corinthians 8:6
      jeans right.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Nathan

      @ delaney: Very good verse. I would also recommend that immediately precedes it. 1 Corinthians 8:5–"For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)". It makes 8:6 much easier to understand in the context of LDS theology.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • CF

      I'm confused. God the Father. That's one. Jesus, our Lord. That's two. Then there is the Holy Spirit. That's three. I thought that Christianity was monotheistic. And what is the problem to an omniscient and omnipotent being with humans being curious and, metaphorically speaking, eating from the fruit of the tree of konwledge.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • MW

      Lisa–

      Prove it didn't happen. Show me proof!

      June 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  12. CF

    First, get a hat. Second, get a seer's stone. Third, put your face into the hat. Fourth, have a good laugh at your followers while enjoying the perks of power.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Visionz

      amen to all religions ... i walked on water yesterday and 12 of my buddies witnessed it ... and God saw to it ... now, follow me !

      June 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  13. Fuyuko

    just another made up religion like the thousands and thousands mankind has created to explain the universe and control people.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  14. Thinquer

    Why do Mormons and other "Christians " participate in war? Is there any "Christian" religion that follows
    the example of Jesus Christ and does not participate in war?

    June 24, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • CF

      Jesus violently cast the money changers from the temple. Maybe not a full blown war, but not very pacifistic either.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • ClaireD

      Investigative journalism my butt! I just want to know why, if this article is so correct, do you have a picture of Fundamentalists as the main picture for this article. Mainstream LDS or "Mormons" have been different from FLDS people since practically the beginning. This is comparable to showing a picture of Lutherans on an article about Pentecostals, they both have the same protestant roots but are very different!!!!! Research.....

      June 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  15. Voltaire

    You can slam the LDS church all you like but the fact is: All of you who do so would like to be accepted for your beliefs. Mormons are no different. If you want to have your beliefs you pretty much have to let everyone else have theirs even when you don't agree with them.

    And as has been mentioned by others: that photo of the "mormons" with this article is not even close. It is a pic of the Fundamentalist LDS church, a group that splintered from the LDS church many, many years ago.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Jimbo

      The Mormons want to have their beliefs and not let us have ours. Tell me what exactly the missionaries do for two years? Tell me that they don't go door to door and stop every one on the sidewalk to question their beliefs and to try to convince them that their mormon beliefs are better.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Lisa

      I've had plenty of discussions with missionaries that never tried to get me to think their beliefs were better. Of course, they probably knew better.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • NoBS

      Maybe if Mormons would let others believe as they want to, such as gay people and non-members, people would be willing to give the same to Mormons in return. But Mormons believe everyone should live exactly like them, and try and legislate their own morality onto everyone, be they believers or not. Come spend some time in Utah. You'll understand why the Mormon church of hate and bigotry gets so much thrown back at them... Mormons preach Christ and agency, but don't actually act on any of it.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Truth

      To Jimbo:
      Josep Smith said: We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

      Freedom is a huge part of mormon belief. Any one who denies anyone else's freedom is going against the mormon church.

      Missionaries do not force their beliefs on anyone. They have felt the blessings of the gospel, and they want to share those blessings with others. That's all. They want people to have their own opinions, and do not prosecute others who think differently than they do. That's not what missionaries are about.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  16. Culture Bearer

    What happens to bad Mormons when they die? What happens to good Mormons when they die? Is it different for men than women? Will anyone answer this question with the truth about what Mormons believe?

    June 24, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Jimbo

      The believe that there isn't a hell, just 3 different levels of heaven. If you are a real super good mormon you get to go to the upper level of heaven and kick it with Jesus, Paul, Mary ect. If you are a bad mormon you go to the lower level of heaven and hang out with all the trash that drank too much coffee.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Nathan

      Our station after this life is independent upon whether we are good "Mormons" or bad "Mormons". We believe that we will be rewarded through Christ's atonement, based upon how valiantly we tried to follow him and whether we obeyed his teachings. That there are different degrees of heaven is true, just as there are different degrees of commitment to Christ. Re: men vs. women–your tone suggests that you have been told something, but I don't know what it is. We will all judged and rewarded based upon our acceptance of Christ and our efforts to follow Him. That judgement is independent of gender or race.

      June 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • TruthSeeker

      Nathan, thanks for your honest response, and it sounds very plausible. However, I have heard that men do get to be the gods of their own planet, when women don't ... Is this a teaching that is no longer practiced? Was it ever practiced? Is there no longer gender bias, as there used to be racial bias: maybe you now believe whites and blacks are equal, but you do know that in the past your church did not accept blacks ...

      June 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Segev Stormlord

      Mormons believe that men cannot get into the highest degree of heaven without being married to a woman, and that women cannot do likewise without likewise being married to a man. Being as God and progressing eternally is thus something that requires marriage, and a married couple will tend to do these things together. We're big on family, and we believe that families CAN be together forever. Even beyond death and resurrection. Honestly, any heaven that wouldn't let me be with my family wouldn't sound very "heavenly" to me.

      June 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Truth

      To TruthSeeker:
      You say that men get to have their own planets but women do not. That is incorrect. Men and women who are worthy get to become like God, and rule as equal partners. Mormons believe that there is not just a Heavenly Father, but a Heavenly Mother as well, and this earth is as much Hers as it is His.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  17. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Fun fact: throughout the history of American Christianity the proportion of people labeled 'deviant' has not changed. This includes puritan times. Puritans controlled every aspect of life, and people were very modest, but as much as people conformed to restrictive rules, those in lead invented new crimes to keep excluding people and justify themselves as 'moral.' You can look it up, puritans outlawed the celebration of Christmas as heretic!
    When Mormonism came along, despite it being a conservative Christian movement, the 'mainstream' Christians excluded it only to feel morally superior. They used polygamy as an excuse. (despite that polygamy is supported by the Bible!) At the time there wasn't a charge of racism against them since mainstream Christians were also racists.
    Mainstream Christians today feel they are losing control (and boy do they like control) because society is more inclusive and they want to exclude in order to justify themselves as somehow superior to the rest of us.
    I bet that even if suddenly everyone in America converted to conservative mainstream Christianity, they would still invent excuses why many people should be excluded/looked down on so they feel better about themselves.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  18. Dustin Baird

    Wow. I am speechless. As an active member of the church, I am so used to hearing all the negative stereotypes and misinformation presented about the LDS faith, that this article is such an unexpected relief! I could not have given a better description of the beliefs of latter day saints. Thank you, CNN for such an honest and understanding portrayal of some of the basic beliefs of our religion. Although the new musical attempts to portray the "good intentions" and "blind devotion" of Mormons favorably, and I appreciate the creators attempts to show the Church in a mostly possitive light, as a member of the church I am so tired of being treated as though I need to appologize for my belief in what others perseive as nonsense. If you examine the beliefs of any religion, from imaculate conception to Devine intervention and reincarnation, many things seem strange and unbelievable when taken out of context. But while I do believe that Joseph Smith saw God and his Son and translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates, my belief has been strengthened because my life has been blessed by living the teachings of the Church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has such a rich history with stories of faith, bravery, endurance, hard work, and optimism. I am proud to be a member of this church and know that it's teachings have improved my life and the life of my family. For more information, please visit mormon.org.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Culture Bearer

      Wow, indeed. They only said the good stuff. What about the other stuff? What about the persecution of young gay people, kicking them out of school and church? More young gay Mormons have committed suicide than you can count. What is the church doing about this, except covering it up?

      June 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  19. Jessica

    Thank you very much CNN. I am grateful for my religion. It is the basis of everything I do. I believe in Christ and his atonement and that I do get to return to live with my heavenly father and spiritual siblings again. People can slander us all they want, but it won't change what I know to be true. If any other religion had been relatively this new at this time I am positive it would've been slandered. I appreciate people of all different faiths. There are things that I can learn even as a Mormon on what others believe. May God bless you all forever

    June 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  20. jack279

    No more tax exemptions for all these rich churches. If they do charitable work, then it should come from the heart. Property taxes on these palaces they call churches could help some of these bankrupt states.

    June 24, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • shadetree

      AMEN

      June 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
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About this blog

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.