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. t

    A big issue of the mormon faith is how secretive it is. A regular non-Mormon cannot enter their temple. Religion is about worship of all men. Very exclusionary. Also the undergarments mormons wear. Huh what is that about?

    October 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  2. PJ Fuchs

    Certainly the LDS church is running a lot of adds now that it's getting air time... There's a boat load of money to be had by increasing their numbers. It's all about the dollars, isn't it?

    October 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  3. andres

    If any one truly cares to learn about the Mormon church please go to http://www.mormon.org and/or http://www.lds.org ; and if you want to know further, acquire a copy of the Book of Mormon and read it for yourself; or even invite one of those mormon missionaries to share their message with you. Or even come to one of the church meetings on Sundays to see for yourself. Every thing else is basically hearsay; if you want to know more, do your research with people who follow the mormon faith; they will tell you how why they believe what they do and their experiences from such a lifestyle. Hope this helps anyone out there.

    October 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  4. C57

    That's YOUR interpretation of the LDS church but thank you for linking the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" (in blue) to LDS . o r g. Your number 1. was all that needed to be said. That sums up the LDS Church perfectly.
    I find your 'Mormonism 101' 2-10 to be somewhat negative and misleading and doesn't really focus on the core beliefs of the church. The LDS church isn't about their underclothes, or who's a famous "Mormon", or how old are missionaries?? Etc...
    Nobody can prove that the Book of Mormon ISN'T a true testament of Jesus Christ. So why discount it as not being Christian? The Book of Mormon, testifies of Christ!!

    October 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • EJS

      Smith was liar and blasphemer and was rightly executed. He was convicted of disturbing the peace in 1826 for defrauding people of using his seer stone to find gold mines.

      As a descendant of King Fulk of Jerusalem I hereby reconfirm his murder as Christ's justice.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  5. Jonny Jacobs

    I tried to sneak into the temple to see what they were hiding in there but a handome young blonde man tackled me with a UFC move and threw me into a hedge. I want to go try to sneak in again but I'm too scared of the young blonde man.

    October 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  6. btorc

    For those of you who are familiar with Mormon doctrine but are rational skeptics, check out the mormon.org website that believers keep citing. It is a highly selective, very incomplete description of beliefs, focusing only on those that bear some resemblance to mainstream Christianity. No mention of planets, every man becoming a god, underwear, rituals, why polygamy was abandoned, the role of racism in church history, etc. etc. This is deception on a massive scale. Talk to any Jack (non-practicing) Mormon and you'll learn about some interesting similarities between Scientology and Mormonism.

    October 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • ksfarmer

      Enlighten us. What are the similarities?

      October 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • UtahPilot

      Funny that people who are usually not comfortable with mormons and constantly criticize mormons for their beliefs will take anything any critic of the church (in this case a "jack" mormon) to be truth. Which reiterates the fact that people will believe what they will believe. The LDS church is not hiding anything, mormon.org is the web address used by the church for those unfamiliar with the basic doctrines and beliefs. Anyone who has studied educational psychology understands that in order to learn "higher" principles, the basic building blocks must first be properly laid, then one can start to learn about the higher, more unique doctrines. This applies in the study of any subject or any religion for that matter. So naturally when someone takes the beliefs of the LDS church out of context, or any church, those beliefs may sound to some a little crazy. And when one criticizes, for example, the story of Joseph Smith being guided to records which were kept on gold plates (not dinner plates), dont try to discredit the possibility of it without also taking the story of Moses and the burning bush into account, or any other old or new testament story. If God saw a need to bring more light and knowledge into the world, then He could do that. And we all know that having The Bible alone, which I believe to be a true a sacred book, hasn't solved the question of which beliefs are right. There are as many differences between the different sects of Christianity who use the same Bible as there are between "mainstream Christianity" and "Mormons". If you really want to delve into the teachings of the LDS church try lds.org, or go to your local library and check out "Encyclopedia of Mormonism" By Ludlow. I think it can even be found online. I recommend starting with the basics first, though. Talk to the missionaries, most of them would be more than willing to talk to you about the doctrines of the church, even though you aren't interested. They will ask you to pray about it, though, just so you know. As with any religion or group, political or otherwise, there are going to be critics and there are going to be people who are just out to spread rumors that they themselves probably dont even know to be true. Just because there is a book claiming a bunch of things doesn't make them true, that goes for both sides of the argument. If you have that much of an interest in anything, try to research with objectivity. Then you can be a candidate for civil and relavent conversation. This bashing and name calling and claiming things you heard really is an immature and ignorant way of stating your bias.

      October 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  7. EJS

    The highest virtue of God is Truth. The Mormon religion is based on lies upon lies. Back in 1826 Smith was found guilty due to his using a seer stone to find gold mines.

    October 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • ksfarmer

      Citation? You people will believe anything.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • EJS

      I'm not going to cite it. Google 1826 Smith Mormon and look up for yourself how Smith was found guilty of defrauding people about seer stone to find gold mines.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • ksfarmer

      Google also has search results saying that the Chupacabra has been found. That doesn't make it true. C'mon. Put in a little effort if you're gonna spread lies. At least find a book that back up your story.

      October 9, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  8. GB, RN

    Christian, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim...what difference does it make what religion a person is if they are running for office? Church and State are supposed to be separate. And claiming to be a "good Christian" doesn't necessarily mean you will be a better politiician because of it. Look at how many politicians who claimed to be "devout" were caught in scandals.

    Religion is irrelevent. Show me how you are going to get Americans back to work and get our economy back on track. Not how well and how loud you pray.

    October 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  9. hmmm

    thanks to those Mormon who responded, you may want to go back to the living word of God and not some religous edict put out by your "Christian" church. Of course God gives you free will to make these decisions yourself.

    Couple of passages you may wish to reflect and meditate on especially if you are being taught that the cross is not important.

    1 Cor 1:18 (Phi) The preaching of the cross is, I know, nonsense to those who are involved in this dying world, but to us who are being saved from that death it is nothing less than the power of God.

    Luke 9:23 (KJV) And he said to them all, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

    October 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Alan

      We whole heartedly believe those sciptures. However, even you need to realize that there is symbolism in these scriptures. Or are we to take them literally? because if we are, i'm going to go build a life size cross and carry it on my back everywhere so that I can call everyone who carries a minicross a non christian.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  10. Daniel

    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

    WRONG! He received it in the form of 2 golden tablets that he kept in his top hat that only he could see and read.

    October 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • ksfarmer


      October 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  11. Greg C.

    Don't Mormons also believe that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers?

    October 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • NDP

      That really does not seem outrageous, now does it? We are all brothers, right?

      October 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Ashley

      If you read the Bible then you might too

      October 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Alan

      Kind of. We do not believe that they are literal physical brothers. We do believe that God the Father is the father of Jesus Christ's spirit and the spirit of everyone else. Satan was an angel before he fell. So if God is the Father of all our spirits than Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers just like we are all spirit brothers and sisters.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  12. ksfarmer

    All you critics of the Mormons should spend more time living the teachings of Christ. He didn't ever teach his followers to hate others because of their beliefs. How many of you haters think you are Christians? You don't seem like it to me...

    October 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • NDP

      True. I have more respect for people who quietly practice their faith and do not go about blasting the beliefs of others. Isn't that what our country is about? Hardly seems "Christian" to do otherwise.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • EJS

      The Bible speaks about not lying and the virtues of Truth. So that makes Joseph Smith a liar and heathen.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • ksfarmer

      And if you don't believe he was a prophet, why does it matter to you what he taught?

      October 9, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  13. chet

    The Morman religon is no more "laughable" than any other religon. It's all personal belief and every religon that you don't believe in seem "laughable". Relgion's a way to escape the insecurites of death. That's all. Let people believe what ever they want free from persecutuion.

    October 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Peggy Howard

      The Mormon religion is a cult. Look at Warren Jeffords. It is not Christian. The Pastor is dead right.
      Get over it.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • ksfarmer

      You're not very well informed. Warren JEFFS is not Mormon. Never was.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Seriously?

      Warren Jeffs was not a Mormon. Get your facts straight.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  14. ChandraJ

    The article very strangely did not refer to the fact that mormons believe that Jesus Christ come to America and preached to American Indians and gave the mysterious golden slabs that were equally mysteriously translated by Joseph Smith. I have yet to meet a single American Indian who will verify this claim of Jesus visiting them. Mormonism is nothing but a MADE IN AMERICA version of Christianlty because some white bigots in the 1800s could not accept the true Christ – a Jewish Palestinian Jew.

    October 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • ksfarmer

      You have a lot of hate for an entire group of people based on a limited understanding of their beliefs. Isn't that bigotry? Or at least prejudice? Or maybe just plain old hypocracy?

      October 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • knightoftequila

      Jackson County Missouri is the "true" location of the Garden of Eden of course! So that makes Jesus a true American right!?!?! LOL Beware of false prophets-yet this church thrives...blows the mind really.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • NDP

      Honestly, who cares what they or anyone else believes? Every religion is crazy when you think about it, but if those tenets help them good lives – who cares??

      October 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Alan

      I don't want to seem rude, however your logic here is a little flawed. It's true that not a lot of Native Americans dont remember or would admit to Christ visiting their ancestors 2000 years ago, but you would also have a hard time getting a Jew to admit that the Messiah visited their people 2000 years ago.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Alan

      Although you won't get many Native Americans to admit that Christ visited their people 2000 years ago, you will get them to admit that Quetzakowatal a great white god visited their people about 2000 years ago.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • knightoftequila

      So why not just say his name is Jesus-in any language I think that would be easy to pronounce or even spell?

      October 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  15. *frank*

    Are Cubans really Israelites? These divine mysteries baffle me!

    October 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  16. knightoftequila

    My problem with the Mormon church is that they like to say they are a Christian based church, which I am a part of, so can I also say I am a Mormon since I am a Christian? I have asked several of their door knockers this questions and they never seem to say they are the same thing. Apparently Mormons are on a higher level of Christianity than the rest of us, must be the different levels of Heaven they have.

    October 8, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • nepawoods

      "can I also say I am a Mormon since I am a Christian?" ... The question makes no sense. Can I say I am a Lutheran since I am a Christian? No. Can I say I am a Catholic since I am a Christian? No. Mormon, Lutheran, Catholic, are all different types of Christian. None are "the same thing" as Christian.

      October 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • ksfarmer

      It should be obvious that all Christians are not Mormons, just as all Christians are not Baptists. But that doesn't mean that Mormons are NOT Christians. They believe in the Bible and worship Christ as the son of God. To me, that is the definition of Christian. If you don't meet that test, you're not. If you meet that test, you are.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Nick

      While I can understand some of these comments, i cannot understand yours.....
      WHile I too am part of a christian church, because i am so, does nto make me a catholic.... nor does it make me a lutheran, nor protestant, not baptist...... I can go on and on.... but I am a christian, but neither of these religions do I belong to.... so are they higher than any other christian based denomination as well?

      October 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Ed

      Because you a human, you are a mammal. Dogs are also mammals. Does that mean you are also a dog? Welcome to Day 1 of Logic 101.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • knightoftequila

      So where exactly do you place Joseph Smith in the whole "spoke to God" concept. Do you believe he is a true prophet that passed on the word? Perhaps you could pray to him now since he is a "God" of his own private heaven according to his beliefs. Then we should have "Smithianity" along with "Chistiantiy"? I have no problem with that if that is what you believe.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • knightoftequila

      And Ed-Unfortuantely dogs sometimes show love, compassion and loyalty better than any other mammals on this planet-God would be prouder of his creation I think...

      October 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • ksfarmer

      Dude, Mormons are Christians and only pray to God the Father in the name of the Son, just like Jesus taught when he gave us the Lord's Prayer. They don't pray to Adam or Joseph Smith or even to the Saints (but nobody gets on the Catholics for that one, do they?)

      October 9, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  17. Andizzle

    It's interesting that the article tries to paint Mormonism as a main-stream, nothing-to-hide, religion but it doesn't mention how secretive and closed off it is. It IS NOT like other Christian sects. Any Christian church in this country would welcome anyone into their church to hear a sermon and listen to the holily but NOT LDS, they have a lot of secret dogma and their services are largely secret. I couldn't vote for a presidential candidate who is part of a cult. I am not religious but am a scholar of comparative religions. I would invite anyone who's interested in the Mormon Church to show up at your local Mormon temple for services and see how you are treated; it will be a very eye opening experience for you. I’m actually quite surprised they mentioned the Mormon underwear in the article as most Mormons will still dispute it’s existence.

    October 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Garret Pawlaczyk

      obviously you dont know what the word sacred means. Mormons are open to anyone wanting to know about them. All my neighbors are mormon and they are great but I respect them when they say that some things are sacred to them.

      October 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • bandgeek1

      1. I'm not a Mormon
      2. I've been to a Mormon worship service. They were very friendly and welcoming, but I'm still not a member
      3. Temples are not where they (Mormons) regularly worship.

      Just sayin'.

      October 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Mike

      As a mormon, I can tell you any and everybody is welcome to join us in our church services at any Ward or Branch meeting house. As for our Temples, which we view as sacred, not just anyone can enter. There are requirements that must be met.The first requirement is you must be a member of our church and even then some of our members live in such a way that they can not met the other requirements to go. Going to a temple is a privilege, not a right.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • nepawoods

      "a scholar of comparative religions" ... For a sufficiently loose notion of 'scholar'.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • yatsee

      Mike sort of proves his/her point, if us lay folk aren't allowed in the secret temple, then it's pretty cult like.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • JamesofFaith

      Regarding the LDS undergarment, from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:


      See this page in the original 1992 publication.

      Author: Marshall, Evelyn T.

      The word "garment" has distinctive meanings to Latter-day Saints. The white undergarment worn by those members who have received the ordinance of the temple Endowment is a ceremonial one. All adults who enter the temple are required to wear it. In LDS temples, men and women who receive priesthood ordinances wear this undergarment and other priestly robes. The garment is worn at all times, but the robes are worn only in the temple. Having made covenants of righteousness, the members wear the garment under their regular clothing for the rest of their lives, day and night, partially to remind them of the sacred covenants they have made with God.

      The white garment symbolizes purity and helps assure modesty, respect for the attributes of God, and, to the degree it is honored, a token of what Paul regarded as taking upon one the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13; cf. D&C 27:15). It is an outward expression of an inward covenant, and symbolizes Christlike attributes in one's mission in life. Garments bear several simple marks of orientation toward the gospel principles of obedience, truth, life, and discipleship in Christ.

      An agency of the Church manufactures these garments in contemporary, comfortable, and lightweight fabrics. They are available for purchase through Church distribution centers.

      Scripture, as well as legends from many lands and cultures, points toward the significance of sacral clothing. A biblical tradition teaches that Adam and Eve, prior to their expulsion from Eden, wore sacred clothing. "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21). These were given in a context of repentance and forgiveness, and of offering sacrifice and making covenants.

      In antiquity, priestly vestments were part of widespread tradition. The Targums (Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament) teach that these garments were "precious garments" or "glorious garments" or "garments of honor." Rabbi Eleazer called them "coats of glory." A rabbinic source asks: "And what were those garments?" The answer is, "The vestments of the High Priesthood, with which the Almighty clothed them because Adam was the world's first-born" (Kasher, Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation, Vol. 1, p. 137). In Moses' time those who officiated in the Tabernacle wore a certain kind of garment: "And [Moses] put upon [Aaron] the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith" (Lev. 8:7; see Testament of Levi 8). Latter-day Saints similarly wear temple garments in connection with their priesthood functions.

      The clergy and many of the committed in almost all major faiths wear special clothing. For Latter-day Saints, among whom there is no professional ministry, men and women from all walks of life share in the callings, responsibilities, and blessings of the priesthood. Their sacred clothing, representing covenants with God, is worn under rather than outside their street clothes.

      In a Messianic passage Isaiah declared: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Isa. 61:10). In the current dispensation, the principle has been reaffirmed in prophetic idiom: "Zion must increase in beauty,…and put on her beautiful garments" (D&C 82:14). Latter-day Saints believe that all such clothing is symbolic of the submission, sanctification, and spotless purity of those who desire to serve God and Christ and ultimately regain their eternal presence (D&C 61:34;135:5).

      October 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  18. hmmm

    would love to have any Mormon poster describe the signifcance of the cross in their "Christian" faith?

    October 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Dan

      good one! they have a moron angel on top of their buildings, right? they are deceivers, and it is funny reading how they insist on being very true christians... hahaha

      October 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Garret Pawlaczyk

      mormons choose to focus on a living Christ rather than one nailed to a cross. Though they do know the importance of what Christ did especially the last day of His mortal life.

      October 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Jim

      I am a mormon. We do not use the symbol of the cross in our faith because we worship the living Christ. The living, resurrected Christ who was not left hanging in Golgotha on a cross but was gloriously resurrected as the Savior of the World.

      October 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • JamesofFaith

      The following comes from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:


      See this page in the original 1992 publication.

      Author: Keller, Roger R.

      The cross, a traditional symbol of Christianity, is displayed extensively in Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. In each tradition, the symbol of the cross focuses the worshiper's attention on central elements of the Christian faith. However, different theological points may be emphasized. For example, in Catholicism the crucifix (the cross with the dead Christ hanging on it) symbolizes the crucifixion of Christ and invites meditation on the Atonement. In contrast, the plain cross used by Protestants symbolizes not only the crucifixion but also the resurrection of Christ, for the cross is empty. The Eastern Orthodox crucifix is a symbolic concept somewhere between those of Catholicism and Protestantism: Christ hangs on the cross, but as the living Lord, his head not bowed in death but raised in triumph. Thus, the crucifixion, the Atonement, the resurrection, and the Lordship of Christ are all graphically presented in the Orthodox crucifix.

      Latter-day Saints do not use the symbol of the cross in their architecture or in their chapels. They, like the earliest Christians, are reluctant to display the cross because they view the "good news" of the gospel as Christ's resurrection more than his crucifixion.

      The LDS conception of the Plan of Salvation is comprehensive. It encompasses a Council in Heaven; Jehovah's (Jesus') acceptance of his role as Savior; the virgin birth; Jesus' life and ministry; his saving suffering, beginning in Gethsemane and ending with his death at Golgotha; his burial; his preaching to the spirits of the righteous dead; his physical resurrection; and his exaltation to the right hand of the Father. No one symbol is sufficient to convey all this. Moreover, the cross, with its focus on the death of Christ, does not symbolize the message of a living, risen, exalted Lord who changes the lives of his followers. Thus, President Gordon B. Hinckley, counselor in the First Presidency, stated that the lives of people must become a "meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship" (p. 92).

      While the symbol of the cross is not visually displayed among the Latter-day Saints, the centrality of the Atonement is ever present in their observance of baptism, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and the temple ordinances, and in their hymns and testimonies. Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ, there is no hope for the human family. Scripture is replete with the admonition that disciples of Christ must "take up their cross," yielding themselves in humility to their Heavenly Father (D&C 56:2, 14-16;112:14-15), releasing themselves from the ties of worldliness (3 Ne. 12:20), and submitting themselves to persecution and even martyrdom for the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Ne. 9:18; Jacob 1:8).

      October 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Alan

      Im LDS and love the cross. If there is anything that will help people remember what the Savior did for us I'm all for it. Having said that, I don't think its an absolute necessity to have a cross hanging from the rearview mirror to be a Christian. No where in the bible does it say you need to have a cross on a building in order to worship the Savior there. I know people who have tatoos of crosses on their arms but their acts are anything but Christian. Mormons are taught that to be a true Christian we must strive to be as Christlike as we can .

      October 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • AG

      The cross is for Mormons, like other Christians, an important and defining symbol of the crucifixion of Christ. We ponder regularly on the suffering of Christ and the blessings He and His suffering brings to those who have faith on and seek forgiveness through the Atonement of Jesus. Mormons don't, however, display the crucifix or wear them because we choose rather to focus on His life and miraculous resurrection, which is the axiom of hope in the story. The suffering and death of Christ is a crucial and emotional element to the story, but the restoration of all things — freedom from sin and physical death through resurrection — is where the hope and optimism originate.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  19. Dan

    a True MORON is a true MORMON, actually they are just the same 🙂 Morons are nice people, though, a bit retarded, but nice.

    October 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Silly Religions

      Christian – Muslim, all the same.. Mormon, just more silly religions. When will people ever evolve? When they stop the cycle and stop brainwashing their children with silly god beliefs.

      October 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  20. Greg

    I've had many peaceful conversations with Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses on my porch, and occasionally in my home. As a Christ-follower, I have no desire to insult anyone. But I do desire honesty and clarity. We should all be willing to clearly state what we believe and why, honestly identifying where we agree and where we differ. We should humbly listen with the purpose of understanding, and possibly learning something new. We may even persuade one another to discard or adopt certain beliefs. This is all part of healthy human dialogue. When evangelicals say that Mormons are not Christians, for most of us this is not intended as an insult, but simply as clarification. Historic biblical Christianity has always had as its bedrock the belief that there is only one God. Period. And that one God is uncreated. And He exists eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And salvation is only found by God's grace through our faith in God the Son, the Lord Jesus, apart from any works. These are not minor denominational distinctions. These are the tenets of essential Christianity. Every Mormon missionary I talk with eventually admits to polytheism (the belief in many gods). Mormons believe that Jesus was created by God the Father and God the Mother. You even sing about this in your hymnal. And where did the Father and the Mother come from? Mormons believe they were created by other gods who were created by other gods and on and on. Mormonism and biblical Christianity are as different as Islam and Buddhism. We may argue which of these is true, or whether any of them are. But let's not run away from clarity into the fog of ignorance. And let's not sacrifice kindness and humility on the altar of our insecurities.

    October 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Dan

      Greg, nice. But morons are morons. If they say things so clearly as you say, people would run away, so they have to be a bit sneaky, don't you agree? I am not christian, but the fables of the morons about those lost tribes are absolutely laughable. There is not ONE single verifiable proof of their existence...

      October 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Silly Religions

      All religions are laughable.. Why single out these delusionalist?

      October 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Mormonism=Brainwashing=BEWARE!

      Greg says "Mormonism and biblical Christianity are as different as Islam and Buddhism" and he is exactly correct. Thanks for your insightful comments, Greg!

      Mormons are not true Christians. It's only been in the last 2 decades or so that a Mormon would even say that! Their quest to blend into mainstream Christianity has caused them to backpedal on many of their so-called beliefs. Remember the "no caffeine" rule–now it's just no "hot caffeinated drinks." So...um....it's OK to have a Mountain Dew full of caffeine but a sin to sip a cup of hot tea? Absurd.

      No one's saying Mormons aren't nice...hard-working....patriotic... But they are not Biblical Christians and their church seeks to deceive ones into thinking otherwise. The 20-something "Elders" they send out door-to-door will repeatedly insist "We're Christians, too" because their church desperately wants converts. It's only after you convert that they share all the crazy theology with you and by then it's too late. You'll be shunned by family and friends if you leave.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • product503

      I appreciate your civil approach to understanding. With that in mind I'd like to explain why Mormons are offended when they are said not to be Christians.

      Christ is the central figure in the religion. Saying otherwise is simply not true. Now, I've heard all the arguments before. What Mormons believe and what other Christians believe who Jesus is/was is different. Therefore, the assumption is that Mormons are not Christian because they do not believe in the "Biblical Jesus." Well, we see our religion everywhere in the bible. We believe in and worship the Jesus in the Bible. What I think what Catholics and Protestants are saying is that Mormons don't believe in the traditional Jesus. In some ways that's true and in other ways it really isn't. But what everyone seems to be missing is that an actively participating Mormon spends their entire life trying to be like Jesus. To act and give and love as he did. So, to say they aren't Christians is really hurtful because is discredits all they they are trying to do...A life's ambition in other words. They believe that they are developing a personal relationship with their Savior and to say they aren't really does hurt. Also, until you can see if from their perspective you may not quite understand. Yes, Mormons act stupidly at times and make mistakes which might lead others to think differently about a Mormon's or the Church's intentions, but remember we never claimed to be perfect. Here again is why we believe we need a Savior. Namely Jesus Christ. Repentance is very real to us and again a sign of our Christian belief.

      Now, many will say that Mormons believe work their way to heaven. This is again is simply not true. Mormons believe the only way to Salvation is by the grace of Jesus. We do however, believe that we should do good things during our lives and make certain commitments to God. If we do things against the will of God and do not repent then we will be damned. This is not different from traditional Christianity. If you feel as a Christian that this is wrong I'd refer you to the book of James in the Bible.

      If anyone has a sincere question about the religion I'd be happy to answer a question for you so you can make an informed opinion. You'll find that as you honestly inquire you'll discover that, yes, we may think differently about some things but if you understand some basic principles you'll find that we aren't as crazy as others would like to make us out to be.

      Lastly, I'll admit that I'm not very good at math. But that does not mean that I don't believe it doesn't work. I'd like to encourage everyone as they look at various religions in much the same way. Just because you don't get it does not mean that it does not work. Learn more. Ask your Mormon friends. I'm pretty sure you'll see/meet some great people and you might just understand that we aren't a cult, cultish, crazy, or whatever.

      Hope to meet you soon.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Greg

      Dan, you are correct in saying that Mormons tend to hide most of their more embarrassing beliefs from potential converts. But this is true of most religions. And I've found that if you press them with good, honest questions, many of them will end up admitting some of the bizarre things they believe. As for you, I'm sorry you're not a Christian. Maybe you were raised in a Christian home and church and have become disillusioned (there's a lot to be disillusioned about!). Or maybe you're like me and just weren't exposed to biblical Christianity growing up. I didn't read the Bible or come to faith in Christ until I was in college. But the more I study the reasonableness of the faith and the more I see of the beauty of Jesus, the more I praise God for the great grace of knowing Him and being loved by Him as the ultimate Father. I pray this for you. You might check out http://www.FindingLifeInJesus.com.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Tee

      Why do we care about religion? Because we know there is something beyond us: something that tells us this is right or that is wrong. Searching for the who or what is an important endeavor. Early Christianity encouraged liberty in the sciences to explore our world. Whatever your belief system , you should be able to defend it.
      I would offer Mormons have difficulty with the defense of their faith. I would also add atheists are running out of arguments.

      October 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Tee, what argument is needed beyond the truth that there is no proof whatsoever of the existence of any god?

      October 9, 2011 at 3:04 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
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.