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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. jasper

    As soon as they show me the secret golden tablets from Gawd I'll start believing in their folly

    October 9, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Veritas

      Don't hold your breath 😉 and you would still need "Urim and Thummim" spectacles with magical "seer" stones instead of lenses to be able to read the "reformed Egyptian" texts. How can anyone be so outrageously stupid as to believe this crap???

      October 9, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  2. dollydocker

    didnt see in the article that smith was a convicted fraudster from upstate NY , what about those gold tablets that he dictated from and wouldnt let anyone see , clearly mormanism is a cult but then again so are all other religions , outlandish claims and predictions non of which have any rational basis

    October 9, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Veritas

      It should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, yes, but that is what is so sad about humanity; that after having gone through the enlightenment and with education available to all of us, some still fall for this stupid sh!t.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  3. Malice

    As a Current Utah Resident, i have a very good idea of Mormons, having lived in Salt Lake my whole life, with short spans spent elsewhere ( Chicago, Florida, California )

    Utah as a location, due to the mormons, is wonderful, our streets are fairly safe and clean, Yes, getting a bottle of rum at 2 am is impossible in SLC, but its that way elsewhere.

    The Mormons, as a people, are generally nice, giving, and caring people, yes, there is some " segregation " seen on some of their parts, but like with all groups of people there are bad apples in the bunch. What the Church itself does, should not specifically be used to judge its members, im a very strong anti religion person, and i count a good number of Mormons as close friends, not because they are mormon, but because they are good people, I'll sooner raise my two kids in the sphere of " Mormonism " then i would any other major city in the nation.

    Mormons are not too bad, yes, they can be judgemental, snooty, holier then thou, and a whole huge list of other things, but ive seen the same if not worse rejection for MY Views, From " Christians " of most other sects and of nearly all other religious people ive talked to.

    Everyone has faults, i thought one of the points of religion was to learn to accept and change those faults through living a good life...

    October 9, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  4. Unchi Pantsu

    Anyone that believes in any religion is a moron. Why are we concerned with which version of a stupid Santa Clause Story these rich corrupt politicians believe in? Why don't we ask them what they think of the Tooth Faerie? How about Goblins and Ghosts?

    October 9, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Veritas

      I often doubt that these rich educated men really believe in the particular religion they associate themselves with. It may be that they too understand that it is just a bunch of baloney but it can get them the power and votes they need. After all, that was exactly what Joseph Smith was all about, creating a religion so that he could have the power to do as he wished, such as coming up with the idea (after a while) that he should have several wives to bang. They had to drop this practice in the late 1800s due to pressure from the US government, but the FLDS kept it going. The FLDS is the original, full bat sh!t crazy, version of mormonism.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  5. Steve Keohane

    Most important, however, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is their personal Savior.

    Some say Mormons present a "gendered, married and procreating god" with "a body of flesh and bones." This despite Jesus telling us God is Spirit.

    Mormons reject the Triune God.
    The Jesus of Mormonism is not co-eternal with the Father and of one substance with the Father, which most Christians believe.
    The three persons of the Godhead are, noted in such Scriptures as Isaiah 48:16:

    "I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, there am I; and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me."

    The New Testament doctrine of the Trinity is evident in such a verse as John 15:26, where the Lord Jesus said:

    "But when the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, He shall testify of me."

    "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19)

    Mormonism also teaches that Jesus was the physical son of God the Father and Mary, and that there is nothing in His life more than what is attainable by anyone else.

    Mormons believe that God the Father is completely separate from Jesus Christ; that God the Father is the father of us all, and of his son, Jesus Christ, and of all the evil spirits, including Satan.

    Mormons won't tell you that all their so-called scriptures such as the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, and even their official 'Mormon Doctrine' statements contradict each other…"

    "Mormons won't tell you that the reason the Book of Mormon has no maps is because there is not one scrap of archaeological evidence to support it!"

    "Mormons won't tell you that their prophet Joseph Smith was an ex-Mason who was heavily involved in the occult when he founded Mormonism."

    "Mormons won't tell you that that "Mormons won't tell you that they encourage visitations from dead relatives from the "spirit world". This is clearly a practice forbidden by God". See Deuteronomy 18:10-12

    "Mormons won't tell you that they think "familiar spirits" are good, and that their Book of Mormon has a "familiar spirit".

    Leviticus 19:31 says: Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

    Leviticus 20:6
    And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

    "Mormons won't tell you that those Mormons who have been through their temples are wearing secret underwear to protect themselves from "evil". This "evil" includes non-Mormons like you and me".

    "Mormons won't tell about their secret temple rites at all. If they did, you would spot them as non-Christians immediately."

    Why would Joseph Smith pull off the Mormon charade? Let's listen to what another opportunist/cult leader wrote:

    Scientology's L. Ron Hubbard declared in the late 1940s: “Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”

    Mormons want you to believe their "prophet", Joseph Smith was martyred:

    In 1838, when Oliver Cowdery accused Joseph Smith of adulterous affairs, Joseph had Oliver excommunicated. The controversy over polygamy was the underlying reason for the death of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. William Law's wife had confessed that she had an affair with Joseph. William Law left the Church and started a publication called "Nauvoo Expositor." One issue was published and the second one was going to print when Joseph found out that William Law was going to print his wife's confession in that issue. Joseph had the press destroyed and the building burned. That caused his arrest and, consequently, his death

    Writing about Joseph Smith, the Mormon church "Prophet" and founder –John Taylor, third president of the Church of Latter Day Saints wrote in the "Gospel Kingdom," page 360: "Joseph opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times... afterwards (I) understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died."

    The same account is also in the History of the Church, vol. 6, p. XLI and pages 617-618.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Jody

      I like the responce, backed by scripture. Mormonism is a cult but as Christians we are in an age where we have to tolerate it so we don't 'Offend' anyone. Unfortunately we end up but accepting the lies in our society and not standing up for the truth. Way to stand up for the truth.
      One other note...how many of you believe you are a God or can become one? Become a mormon and that's what they teach you.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Jon

      Check you facts, friend. You have been misled. Many facts in your post are inaccurate. The biggest misstep is your statement that "that Jesus was the physical son of God the Father and Mary, and that there is nothing in His life more than what is attainable by anyone else." Mormons believe in and worship Jesus Christ as our personal savior, His role in the plan of salvation is just as central and important to that plan as God the Father. Jesus Christ suffered the atonement, something no mortal human could have done, and lived a life free from sin, also something no mortal human has or will ever do.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  6. Veritas

    Anyone can of course believe whatever they want, but it is mind boggling to me how people can believe a religion that is so clearly made up by a con man named Joseph Smith. I can understand why poor uneducated immigrants in his time, the 1800s, would fall for it, but not in 2011. Man's capacity for divine delusion is curious. I mean, the guy purportedly was shown by "angel" where a bunch of golden plates, written by an ancient prophet called Mormon in "reformed Egyptian", were buried on a hill in New York state. He translated them while looking at magical "seer stones" in a hat, after which the plates were returned to "god" and never seen again. It is actually pretty funny, but not when you realize that many people actually believe this to be true! A good read is Jon Krakauer's "Under the banner of heaven", a book no mormon wants you to read.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Silly Religions

      Not different from all other religions.. All man made creations. Worse is the proof they brainwash children or otherwise who would support an organization that;

      destroyed lives in during the inquisition
      supported themselves first over small children rap-ed and so-d-omize-ed
      are customers to religion since none can vote others in to running the religion
      watch as the mega-millions live in luxury

      All religions are successful because they thrive off greed. Everlasting life = greed, others are destroyed.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Veritas

      @Silly Religions: Yes, you are correct, but it just seems so painfully more obvious in the case of Mor(m)onism that it boggles the mind why anyone with a healthy mind would believe any of it to be true. Sad really...

      October 9, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Mark

      magic "seer stones" in a hat...Nice! Next thing we'll see Hobbits, and elves telling the next religious nut-ball that faith should be found in a McDonald's Happy Meal. I bet money on it that Joseph Smith was high on drugs when he wrote his version of the bible. lol

      October 9, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  7. xeno

    Mormons certainly do walk the walk, and I respect that, as religion goes. The people are good people, and I would have a hard time feeling bad about any religion that helped people be good people. However, having lived in a few heavily LDS areas, I would be very nervous about this church gaining any more political power than it already has. There is no separation of church and state in this religion, and the church is run more like a business than a church. We were treated differently when it became known that we were not Mormon. We had college degrees, so people locked their doors when they saw us coming (seriously) and our son was made the kindergarten punching bag as he was seen as less worthy than the other children. I wish I was making this up, but I'm not. When it comes to the LDS church asking for tolerance, they need to show it to others in a big way.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • BYUEastCoast

      I am mormon and have commented on other sections, but I admit, there are stupid people out there who are very close minded and can be hurtful to others not of their faith or culture. I am very sorry that it happens. But it is not all of us and I apologize that it happened to you. I hate it when a few people give the rest of a group a bad name by their actions.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  8. Dzerres

    Boy those 10 points skip over some important stuff. One is that Joseph Smith couldn't reproduce his original "translations" when a portion was lost – another words he just made it up and couldn't remember what he had said. The special underwear requires several chapters to explain if you can keep from laughing. The original tablets were left by supposed ancient American tribes which no archeologist anywhere has ever found any evidence that such tribes ever existed, period. The temple rituals are strangely similar to existing Masonic rituals to which Joe Smith aspired and have nothing to do with Jesus, God, or the real Bible. And that's only the beginning.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Veritas

      Those who cannot see that this mormon stuff is completely made up by an, at the time, convincing con man must be blind.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  9. jay a.

    Rev. 22:18 "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book."

    The book of mormon is not just a few words added to the Bible but a whole book. This is the greatest heresy about the religion and equaled by the fact that they teach their people Salvation is by works & faith.

    The Bible is clear that Salvation is by Faith alone, not of works.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  10. Mark

    oh, don't forget about the Mormon practice of death and converting people to join. It's a fact, that if you are not Mormon and you pass away in Utah, especially in Salt lake City. Baptism of the Dead – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains the largest geneaological database in the world. People often use it to trace their roots, but the information is kept for religious reasons. The goal of the church is to give every person who lived on Earth the chance to accept the gospel. This can be accomplished only if the ancestry of all humanity is traced back to Adam and Eve.

    When a Mormon does his genealogy he submits the list of names to the nearest temple. Temple workers give a person going through the temple a name when he goes through the baptismal font. The person who goes through the ceremony gets baptized by proxy.

    Talk about a very poor and sad practice by the Mormons The Roman Catholic church opposes this practice, as well as the Jewish faiths.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • BYUEastCoast

      How is that poor? If it is true that we all need to be baptized to get to heaven, but some people haven't heard of Christ in this life, then how do they get to heaven? If you don't believe that part of the faith, then it doesn't matter. If you do, then your ancestors have a chance to accept the gospel when they didn't have the chance in this life.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Mark

      But having the dead baptized without consent or prior approval, hmmm, I have a problem with that. It doesn't matter what faith a person has, baptizing someone as a Mormon even after death is not right. Who gave the Mormon's the right to do that and be the one to judge others and step in and act like gate keepers to heaven? All souls have a path, but it's not up to the Mormons to help someone if they are not wanting the help.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Jon

      I agree with you Mark. It would be messed up if the church forced people to be batized against their will, but this is not the case. Mormons peform these proxy baptisms so that persons who never had the opportunity to be baptized, yet lived good lives will have the opportunity to accept the proxy baptisms performed on their behalf after this life. Mormons believe that they may accept or not accept the ordinance consistent with their free will. My Dad converted to the Mormon faith for this very reason because his minister told him that God would condem to hell a person not baptized even if they never had the opportunity in this life. The principle of batism for people such as this is a principle that shows the fairness and love of God.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • BYUEastCoast

      I agree with you as well Mark that if we performed baptisms for people who have passed away and then shouted to everyone that that person was now declared Mormon it would be rude and inconsiderate. Emphasizing what Jon said above, it is an option that we give them so that all can have the choice if they did not have it in this life. But I again, I can understand your veiwpoint, I just hope the clarification can help.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  11. leo Prez

    There is a separation of state and church in the US and this is an example of why. Anyone who disqualifies Rommey or any other candidate because their religious belief's is a MORON. The Sr Pastor who went on public TV and said that is an IDIOT. We are a country that was founded for the whole purpose of accepting and allowing people to practice their own religion.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Mark

      You obviously have not lived in Utah or specifically Salt Lake City. There is no separation of church and state. I lived there from 1975-1987 then again from 1992-1994. Utah is run by the Mormons. If it's not a LDS view or opinion, your voice is not heard.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Dzerres

      Anyone who has ever lived in Utah, myself included, quickly find that there is no separation of church and state in Utah. Every piece of legislation, before it is voted on in the legislature, is bounced off the Mormon elders first. Nothing is ever offered that hasn't been approved by the church before hand.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Lee P

      That actualy proves my point. Dont you think Utah residents also need such separation so others can be also be treated equally? Your logic is to continue to do exactly what those Mormons do in Utah. My logic is to fix the problem so people can do what they please with their religious beliefs without fear of persecution

      October 9, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • ELB

      Dzerres: When the US repealed Prohabition, Utah's ledgislature cast the last vote needed. The Mormon prophet at the time had publically encouraged the ledgislature to vote against repeal. So, yes the leaders of the Church do have some influence, and are public about it when the proposal involves something directly opposed to Mormon belief. But that does not mean that they are followed blindly.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  12. albert

    Here is just some of what the Bible says about this:

    Mathew 7:20-23
    Mathew 15:7-9

    October 9, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  13. alpg49

    I believe you've understated the differences between Mormonism and other Christian denominations. Never mind the underwear. They deny Original Sin – the doctrine that man is inherently sinful. While many of their beliefs are considered blasphemy by some Christians, my view of Mormons are that they lead exemplary lives. They walk the walk.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • BYUEastCoast

      We do believe that "the natural man is an enemy to God," but no, we do not believe that we were all born with sins based on what Adam and Eve did. We sin ourselves and need Christ in order to repent. One difference this makes is that we believe that children under 8 are not accountable for their actions and so can't sin. Thus if they pass away then they go straight to heaven, because they are not held accountable for anyones sins but their own. They are innocent before God.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  14. Mark

    Being a former Utah resident, and non-Mormon, I can attest to how the Mormon culture really is. Joseph Smith re-writes his own version of the bible. Brigham Young brings all those across the mountains to the Salt Lake valley, etc etc. However, the Mormon culture is one of bigotry, segregation and literally no separation of church and state. They control government, and have their hands in many practices which Mormons publicly decry, such as gambling and other activities. If you are not Mormon, they know who you are and your life is made even more challenging because of your different views or religious beliefs.

    I have traveled the world and have experienced other cultures and religions first hand. I am very open to them, so don't shout at me about being close-minded. I see how the Mormon culture is. It's selfish, focused on power, greed, money and yes, they isolate, segregate you if you are not Mormon and don't follow or are not willing to join their brand of faith. Everyone knows the Mormons are in Las Vegas and other areas of Nevada. Just look at the Olympics which was held in Salt Lake City..it was a debacle when the liquor issue surfaced due to complaints from visitors. Showed you how the Mormons are in every public office, driving their way of thinking on others. It took nationwide exposure and laughter at them to force them to ease up on their liquor laws just for the Olympics.

    It's a cult, by all sense of the term. Mormonism is lucky enough to have grown too large, so large that it's now become it's own beast. Like anything, history will repeat itself and this house of cards will fall.

    I relocated out of Utah, after living their since i was a child till I graduated from high school. I do not hate or dislike the people, just their culture.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • Dzerres

      All true and it's too bad because Utah and Salt Lake City are truly beautiful and have a great climate and fantastic mountains. I loved to ski there while living in SLC but since I left I make it a point to avoid going back to spend any time or money in that oppressive regime. The people are nice enough; it's that lemming-like mentality as far as government and control that gets to be overwhelming.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  15. Jefferson

    Most people who know a mormon or two personally, as I do, would describe them as kind and helpful people. That is because they try to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ in how they live their lives.

    Evangelicals and mormons both play in the arena of missionary religions and compete directly for converts (many other religions do not play in this space so it is important to have some perspective) – one calling the other "non-christian" is like a Pepsi executive calling CocaCola a non- cola.

    October 9, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Alfredo

      agreed

      October 9, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  16. P.M.

    Great article. You might want to find out more about:
    How much the LDS Church invested in rebuidling commercial Salt lake City vs SLC's lack of shelters for homeless, etc. or hospitals for kids (40 billion)
    How women are put in a second category and denied career opportunities. I am one of them.
    How much real estate they own.
    How they pushed their members into corporate America getting rid of qualified professionals. I know many cases of professionals that have been a victim of this.
    If Romney gets elected African Americans will loose opportunities; women will loose opportunities; the Mormon church will gain strength; government fund will be assigned to church expansion and financing Mormon missions.
    By the way, there are also records of abuse among ex mormon peoiple.

    It will be good to investigate and talked to ex-mormons. These things must be brought ti light. The LDS Church does plenty of good things, but at a very high price.
    A friend of mine in Utah was a victim of domestic violence. She finally had the courage to talk to the bishop . He told her that they cannot allow her leave Tony (husband) that she needed to stay with him and be obedient to the husband. I can provide names if you need, I leaved in Utah for 10 years. I was part of th church for about three until I could not take it anymore.

    October 9, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • BYUEastCoast

      I'm sorry that you have had a bad experience with church members, but I just wanted throw out my two cents as well

      The church doesn't run SLC, the mayor and city council does (though some of them may be LDS, they are not acting under church authority or councel. The church has a very successful wellfare program and puts tons of money into helping people not just in Utah or America but all of the world and of all faiths.

      My wife has a bachelors degree and worked before we had our first baby. The church recommends that mothers should be there for their children, but in my brothers case he was the stay at home dad for two years. BYU has tons of women looking for degrees and careers and recent talks by church leaders are very encouraging of it. But yes, they do place more emphasis on mothers being their for their children

      While abuse does happen it is a serious problem that happens in more than just LDS households. But it is really sad when people back it up by trying to attach it to their religion. The church actually has scripture condemning actions like that. I'm sorry for those who have experienced it. When people aren't perfect though, we shouldn't use them to stereotype everyone else.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Amy

      I am an LDS woman and am afforded every opportunity – not once have I felt "second class." I wonder what you mean by women and African Americans "loosing" (sic) opportunities? The LDS church contributes enormous resources to disaster relief, philanthropic pursuits, and aiding those in need. Maintaining or investing in real estate assets isn't done at the expense of these goals, it is done to support them. Finally, there are many Mormons in prominent government positions and their ability to separate faith from political duty has been unquestionable. I'm not sure whether you have evidence otherwise? I'm very sorry about your experiences with individual Church members, but an objective view of what the Church stands for and who its members are should paint a picture of a generous people who live their faith and strive to live by Jesus Christ's teachings.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • KJ

      I have known a few mormons. They are a cult. I knew a lady who was dirt poor. She would neglect her kids and live in a filthy house. She was ordered to pay 10% of her money. They never said a word they took her money even though they knew she was very poor. I knew another lady who appeared to have pschy issues. She also gave all her money and that is all they knew was to give give give or they would die in hell. It is a very odd religion and I would tend to not go to Utah.. crazy people..

      October 9, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  17. SCAtheist

    Joseph Smith was nothing more than a con man with a magic stone.

    October 9, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • P.M.

      I believe he suffered from either grandiosity or schizophrenia. He was certainly delusional. When you ask Mormons about historical background of 'their stories' they dont have answers.

      October 9, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Dzerres

      People need to Google "Urmin and Thummin" before they consider Mormonism and therefore Romney or Huntsman acceptable and logical.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  18. DiscipleofElijah

    In my opinion the big mistake the LDS Church made was the concerted effort to be accepted as mainstream Christian.

    They could have made statements such as in their beliefs the Mormon God is different than the mainstream Christian God, the Mormon Jesus is a different Jesus than the one described in the Bible, the LDS "after life" is a different "after life" than the one believed by mainstream Christians, etc.

    People accept Jews as Jews and know their beliefs are not mainstream Christian. The people accept Muslims as Muslims and know their beliefs are not the same as mainstream Christians. The LDS Church insisted that their religion be "tagged" as mainstream Christian which it is not, and that is where the problem began.

    Jews, Muslims and LDS Church members have been elected to Congress, however those elected have never attempted to attach the mainstream Christian "tag" to their religion.

    Romney made the mistake of wanting to apply the mainstream Christian "tag" to his LDS church affiliation in an attempt to be more attractive as a candidate to Evangelical Christians. Evangelical Christians know their is a great difference in LDS beliefs and Evangelical Christian beliefs and are never going to accept the LDS Church as a mainstream Christian Church.

    Campaign on what you are and what you believe. Don't attempt to apply a "tag" to your religion because you want people to believe you are something that you are not.

    October 9, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Aron Katz

      As a non-christian, I see Jesus worshipers as Christian. Mainstream or not doesn't really matter just so long as they respect the church/state line.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  19. Thad

    I don't think this was a very good article, especially since it was called Mormonism 101 and dealth mostly with arcane or esoteric facets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a convert of over 25 years, I can tell you that the first things that I was taught, and the basis of my current religious experience still today is:

    1. God is our Heavenly Father, who loves us and wants us to be happy. His desire is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of us, his children. (John 3:16)

    2. Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh. He came to mortality to: (1) teach us how to live so that we can have peace and happiness - both in this life and in the life to come; (2) to resurrect himself after his mortal death, thereby breaking the bands of death and making resurrection possible for all humanity; and (3) complete an Atonement, whereby we can be saved from the effects of our sins, thereby making possible that eternal happiness that the Father wants for all of his children. (Matt. 22:16) The Atonement allows us not to be damned by our mistakes, but to be able to learn from them and continue trying each day to more perfectly follow Christ's example by keeping his commandments. (Heb. 10-20)

    3. The Holy Ghost is the third member of this Godhead. His mission is to "bear witness to the truthfulness of all things." This witness from the Holy Ghost is what we refer to as "personal revelation." It frees us from having to depend on another person to tell us what is true. (1 Cor. 2:13) We can instead learn directly from the Source of all Truth.
    I know that God IS our loving, Heavenly Father; and that (2) Jesus HAS laid out the path that we can follow to "inherit all that the Father hath." I know this independent of any man, book, or worldly teaching, because it has been borne to me of the Holy Ghost.

    I’m glad that these conversations are going on in the public square but, ultimately the questions asked there cannot be answered there. But, you CAN know for yourself if these things are true. The Bible has within it this clue: "If any of your lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." (James 1:5) I took James at his word, prayed to know, and the Holy Ghost bored witness to me that these things are true. If you will ask in prayer, with a sincere desire to know, and a commitment to act on the answer you are given, the Holy Ghost will bear witness of these things to you, too. I promise you this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

    October 9, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  20. freetime1

    All religion by definition is a cult.

    1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.

    2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
    3. the object of such devotion.
    4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
    5. Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.

    But many religious people get mad when you tell them this. By definition of the word "cult" he is correct in saying that he was/is a member of a cult group. What he left out was that he is too lol!

    October 9, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Veritas

      So true.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:32 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.