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. Lisa

    There are a couple of concerns about Mormon beliefs. First of all, they believe that Lucifer and Jesus are brothers. Jesus is the good one, and Satan of course is the bad one. They believe that people who have died need to be prayed into heaven or they live in some sort of limbo. They think you have to earn this. Christians know that you can't earn salvation, it's a gift. There are no more battles to be fought. The battle was won when Christ died on the cross. Period. The Mormon church has a hierarchy, and you have to earn your way to get to go to the bigger better churches – temple. Also, they have a President. It's about as far from what Christ taught as you can get and fundamentally nullifies Christ's sacrifice at Calvary – the atonement. It was never the atonement plus works. There is nothing in the bible about getting people out of some pseudo-hell and posthumously baptizing them into heaven.

    October 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • jacque

      There is too much wrong in your statement to address. I will address this hirearchy though that you claim you have to move up tot go to a better church . What are you talking about? I have been LDS 37 years and no one has ever told me this, maybe I just havent been good enought to tell. Ridiculous.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • steve

      Lisa you have a distorted perception of salvation. The Bible clearly tells us NOT ALL will be able to enter God's kingdom. Some will even go to hell. You are right about salvation is a gift, but it is a gift that requires assembly to be effective for us.
      If you do not keep the Lord's commandments, the gift will not be effective, hence the message of repentance. The book of revelation teaches there was a war in heaven; Satan was once a good angel and there he rebelled and was cast out. If he was in heaven to begin with, how difficult is it to accept he was a brother to all in heaven? The Lord organised his church and the LDS church reflects that organization exactly.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Michael

      I'm a Mormon. I've never voted republican, not sure who I will vote for this time around. Please read the book of James before you discount the importance of works. Mormons do believe that it is in and through Jesus Christ that we may return to the presence of God. Christ taught of apostles, temples, etc. I get that much of what we believe can seem strange...I totally get that. A simple reply like this won't change anyone's mind, but I do hope you will follow Christ and love your neighbor as he commands...even if that neighbor is just a Mormon. We are all in it together...

      October 9, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Lisa

      Salvation is in Jesus Christ and his atonement for our sins. He already did that. It's a gift to be accepted, and if you do accept Him, then you give your life to Him. Satan is a fallen angel. Not Christ's spiritual brother. Jacque, you could be President then? How exactly is it that some get to go to Temple and some don't. How do you work your way up in the church? Why exactly didn't you address the other things I mentioned? Why not talk about the reason behind the huge geneology database you have? Why not be honest about that, and that you believe you have to find all of your dead relatives to "save" with living people standing in for them for baptisms? I'm not saying it's not sweet, I'm saying it's not your job. Steve, I have no distorted belief about salvation. I just don't believe that you can earn it. Ever. If you walk away from your faith and don't do what you know to do, God will not give up on you. Ever.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • steve

      You should know that all people do not get to hear of Christ in this life before they die. They do not get to live the gospel in this life since they never heard it here, but the NT tells us (1 Peter 4:6) that the gospel is taught also in the spirit world. People get to hear about Christ after this life if they did not in this life. They can choose there to live the gospel or not. The proxy baptisms the LDS church does on behalf of the deceased, is to give them that choice to make in the spirit world because ALL must have accepted baptism before judgement day or they cannot enter his kingdom. see Mark 16:16

      October 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Lisa

      How unfair and lame would God have to be to limit the potential for people in the spirit world to be able to get to a better place by way of our posthumous ceremonies knowing that we don't have records going back far enough to include them? It's just not His style to leave anyone out because of US. Who do Mormons think they are anyway to believe they have that kind of power?

      October 9, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Magic


      So, you don't think that your "God" has any water?... or any power to educate those folks? You have to get involved as a Nosy Parker to get this stuff accomplished? Ludicrous+

      October 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • steve

      Lisa- the Lord has provided a way for all to hear and accept the gospel if they choose. As far as your contention about not enough records, do you doubt the power of the Lord? During the millenial reign of Christ on earth (1,000 years) all records will be available for all people who have ever lived on earth and I am sure God's angels have records. The Lord himself, the very Son of God, submitted himself to baptism and he was without sin, how much more do the rest of us. No one can enter his kingdom until they accept this ordinance as the Lord has commanded.

      October 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • steve

      @ Magic- Baptism is a physical ordinance and cannot be accomplished in the spirit realm where there is no water or physical bodies to be baptised. Baptism can only be accomplished in the physical world and there can be no exceptions to the commandment when Christ himself was not even exempt.

      October 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Lisa

      Steve, I absolutely do NOT doubt the power of the Lord, and sure he has records. So why does he need YOU? The entire idea just nullifies Christ's death on the cross for our sins. The idea that after we die if someone figures out that we lived and believes that we "missed" something, that our privilege to live in Heaven depended on someone on earth is just insulting to what Christ did for us and who He is. If he died once for our sins, there is no need for ceremonial baptisms posthumously, no need for stand-ins or records – and certainly no need for further "battles."

      October 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Lisa

      You wrote: "@ Magic- Baptism is a physical ordinance and cannot be accomplished in the spirit realm where there is no water or physical bodies to be baptised. Baptism can only be accomplished in the physical world and there can be no exceptions to the commandment when Christ himself was not even exempt."

      The problem with that statement is that occurred before Christ's crucifiction. Christ is himself the atonement. Baptism btw is not now and never was a "commandment."

      October 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • steve

      @ Lisa- Christ did not die for our sins. Christ suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. Your understanding of the atonement is way off base. Christ died on the cross that ALL mankind will resurrect and live again (see 1 Cor 15:22) The Lord suffered for all sins true, but the condition for us to NOT suffer was to repent of our sins and NOT return to them or else as he said we would then become "like a dog to his vomit." The Apostle Paul also said that "After coming to a knowledge of the truth we willfully sin, there remains NO MORE SACRIFICE" see Hebrews 10:26

      October 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Tim Nichols

      I know it may be difficult to believe, but Paul the Apostle discussed the concept of Baptizing the dead in Corinthians. It is not a Mormon creation. Also, as for the article in general, what does it mean to be a Christian? I would think it means believing in Jesus Christ as your Savior. That through the grace of Christ you can and will be saved from your personal sins. Mormons believe this. So how exactly are they not Christians? Peter said that "the way of truth would be evil spoken of." perhaps this means more than just Jesus Christ, who is the Way, being evil spoken of, perhaps it means his church too? Finally to your point of Salvation being free. As far as I know Jesus didn't say that. He said among other things that a man must be born of water and the spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven. Those two things, along with believing in Christ, make at least three things that Jesus required for Salvation. So, at least a few things are required, by HIM to receive salvation. So not entirely free to be forgiven and saved from sins. Though no amount of works will Save a man without Christ, Christ does require a few things at least, according to the Bible. Though resurrection is free to all mankind, regardless of works, that is to say everyone will be resurrected. Where they go at that point, will be, and should be, up to God.

      October 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • steve

      @ Lisa YES indeed baptism is a commandment from the Lord. You should flee with haste whoever has taught you that lie!
      Here are the bible scriptures that show baptism is indeed a requirement of the Lord: Matt 28:19 "...teach all nations, baptising them.." Mark 16:16 "He that believeth and is BAPTISED shall BE SAVED" Luke 7:30 "...rejected the counsel of God being NOT baptised." Then the big scripture from the Lord -->> John 3:5 Except a man be born of water...he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" also Acts 2:38 "Repent and be baptised every one of you" What part of that message do you not get??

      October 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Lisa

      Tim and Steve – Christ did indeed die for our sins.
      John 3:16
      Regarding baptism: 1st Corinthians 1:10-17. It couldn't be clearer. Baptism will not save you and it is not a requirement of salvation.

      October 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Tim

      If you are saying baptism is not required for salvation, you are dismissing the words of Jesus Himself. You are either misinformed on mormon beliefs, or blatantly lying about them. But frankly your misunderstanding/misrepresetnation of Mormon theology is not your biggest problem, it is your misunderstanding of the the teachings of Jesus that will be infinitely more damaging. If, however you are an honest seeker of truth, and not just someone who wants to feel good about your spiritual standing, then seek. Seek and ye shall find. Unfortunately, most people look for a religion that tells them the way they currently live is just peachy so as to not require any sacrifice on their parts. A no works just belief concept is not in keeping with logic. As if Jesus tells the liar, as long as you lip confess me, go on lying. No problem, you are locked and loaded for Heaven. Please, I truly hope you are smarter than that Lisa. That is not I repeat not to say that a person can earn salvation thru works. It means that God has commanded for us to seek perfection. His requirement, if you have a problem with it, pray to Him and complain about his commandments, and spend less time, arguing points of doctrine in an online chat room. One thing I will tell you, dismissing truth that is inconvenient doesn't exempt you from the consequenses.

      October 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  2. in a heavily mormon area

    I've been around a lot of mormon folk in the area I live. Take it from me, they are not Christian, they have hidden agendas and they will only socially and politically support other mormons. They spread like a cancer.

    October 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • jacque

      I was raised Lds, part of the time in good old SLC, we dont only support Mormons socially or politically. Our prophet tells us to prayerfully decide who we ourselves are willing to support. If you had ever been in an LDS church around voting time you would know that. We have people voting for everyone including a guy who voted for Mickey Mouse. Is Mickey Mouse Mormon?

      October 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • rick

      heh heh ....and you think we want to be like you? Comparing other people as "cancer" makes you a horrible judge of what and who is a "christian"

      October 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Matt

      I'm Mormon and have no intention of voting for Mitt or John. But I guess since you obviously know more than I do about being Mormon, I must just be deluding myself. Thanks for setting me straight!

      October 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • jacque

      I agree with Matt, I wont vote for them either. Just as there are mormons that I dont agree with in real life there are mormons I dont agree with in politics. If anyone doubts this they should attend a planning meeting at church. They would get a kick otu of seing how many of us have differing views on how to run an activity let alone a country. Ps if you dont know what thsi means then chances are your nto educated enough on our religion to make an educated opinion.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  3. SkepticPride

    All I know for sure is that the drivers in Salt Lake City are among the worst in the country.

    October 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • jacque

      Well then they must be an evil cult then since no where else are there ever bad drivers?

      October 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Matt

      Definitely have to agree with this. 90mph in the snow, 22mph in the rain, and no concept of what a blinker is.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Dustin

      They are just exercising their faith in divine protection and/or the after life. LOL

      October 10, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  4. lyn

    The bigotry and closed-mindedness of so many of these posts shocks me. Whether or not you agree that Mormons are Christian depends on your definition of Christianity. If you define Christianity as believing in Jesus of Nazareth as the Savior of the world and as striving to follow His example of kindness, unselfishness, and charity, them Mormons would classify as Christians. If you define Christianity as believing specifically in how the Nicene Creed defines "God" then Mormons would not be Christian. But Mormons do believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. That he suffered for the sins of all men, died for us, and rose on the third day as a perfect resurrected being.

    So many of these posts describe Mormon beliefs incompletely, if not utterly incorrectly. If you want a credible source for Mormon beliefs, go straight to the source: mormon.org. For a quick explanation of LDS beliefs go to: http://mormon.org/articles-of-faith/. This site gives the primary points of the LDS faith.

    You don't have to convert, but at least give their beliefs a fair shot, instead of demonstrating blatant intolerance based merely on misunderstanding and miseducation. You can remain respectful and open-minded of others' religious beliefs without adopting those beliefs as part of your own faith.

    October 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  5. Dan

    Muslims are not offended when we say that they are not Christians when in fact there are more similarities between Islam and Mormonism than there is between Christians and Mormons. Islams also calms extra Biblical scriptures and that they are the most recent revelation from God. This is not a issue of bigotry its an issue of facts.

    As to the statement that Christians are not to judge that is not true. We are most certainly called to judge between truth & error.

    Now all that said, I am a Christian but would not have any trouble voting for a capable Mormon politician if I agreed with his political views and platform.

    October 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • SacreCouer

      Sikhs wear special under garments as part of their faith. I wonder if Mormons borrowed practices from other organized religions?

      October 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Matt

      There are more similarities between Mormonism and Islam than between Mormonism and Christianity, yet you only quote one similarity? The defining difference between Islamic and Christian religion is who they profess as their Savior. Personally, I think that difference would rank just a tad higher in the "how do I characterize Mormonism" scale. Might want to re-think that.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  6. jacque

    herbet, whos accepted Christian churches do you refer to. Who gives them the authority to say who is christian and who is not. It seems to me only Christ can make that judgement. Didnt he say judge not that ye not be judged. If you are judging are you truly a christain?

    October 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Excellent note, but you should not expect a reply. Herbie's track record in replying to critical posts is pretty poor. He might attack you personally, or have one of his agents (sidebar is the latest) speak for him, but I wouldn't expect a rational response.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • sidebar

      Given the opportunity and a reasonably decent person herbert juarez will reply to anyone he is aware of.Herbert will never reply to hot air as he has found him to be beneath contempt and as always herbert is correct.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      2000 years of scriptural founded churches following the Lordship of Jesus Christ.It is not that "judgement" to discern the false from the true. 1 Corinthians 6:2,3.There have been false Christians since the beginning, it is essential that all of Gods people be warned of the false,the liar, the atheist , the deceiver and the destructive, all of whom have no place in the Kingdom of God.God bless

      October 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Herbie! Once again you dodge simple questions!! Which churches? Which one of the 30,000+ christian cults do you claim to be the one true one? And it appears that you do not understand the difference between being warned (by The Babble) and being judgemental (as you do so often). I look forward to your next non-response, from whichever of your personalities you choose to use.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  7. Ryan


    When Jesus was baptized by John how is it that the voice of God was heard saying "this is my beloved SON, in whom I am well-pleased". We can certainly agree that God, the father, Jesus, his divine son, and the Holy Spirit are one in purpose. They are, however, clearly and distinctly three separate beings. Was the father in the above example speaking to HIMSELF?

    October 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Jeff

      Yes, he was speaking to himself, if you want to look at it that way. Jesus is the son of God, he is a physical human being, and he is God in human form. The same God as the God Father, just different form.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Matt


      It's amazing the extent to which people like you will go to to try and explain something that makes no sense, is in no way supported by anything in the scriptures, and created by a group of people that hardly anyone believes were inspired by God over 300 years after the birth of Christ. OR, you could accept the very simple and easy to explain fact that they are individual beings united in purpose. I mean seriously, if we are to be one with them, which would make more sense? All of us merging together with them into on "uber" God, or us uniting ourselves in purpose with them, while still being distinct individuals?

      I realize the importance of faith, but at some point in time you have to accept the simple logic behind your argument and realize you are way off base.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Jeff


      If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:7-10 KJV)

      I and my Father are one. (John 10:30 KJV)

      Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. (John 10:31-33 KJV)

      October 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  8. Junebug

    My grandmother was born in 1920 to a polygamous father that had 3 wives. He was the Bishop of his mormon congregation at the time. Mormonism did NOT ban polygamy in 1890...it took many more years to accomplish that.

    As a former mormon that has been through the temple, I can tell you it IS indeed a cult. When you go to the temple, the first thing that you are told is to take off all your clothes. You are then taken into a booth where an old man rubs oil all over your body (yes even very close to your genitals).

    October 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Kristina

      Your lies about the polygamy and what goes on in Mormon temples are ridiculous.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Ryan

      You do realize you are disputing facts right? Way to fabricate a story about grandma. You clearly have a vendetta but that does not justify false claims about another faith. I have many friends of this faith and your claims are offensive and bigoted. I just hope you do not claim to be Christian!

      October 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • jacque

      Lady you are on crack, I am Lds or mormon as you say and am a regular temple goer and that is a huge lie

      October 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • JamesofFaith

      That is not what happens. Why be intent on distortion and deception?

      October 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Kelly

      Not a Mormon, but your statement about what happens when you go the temple just doesn't seem possible from a time perspective. The clergy would never have time to minister a congregation in this way. I'm calling B.S. on your statement.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Brian

      Lying about other people's beliefs are not going to help anyone. If you don't believe in Mormonism, that's fine. If the religion is not true, then you shouldn't have to lie about it anyways.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • jacque

      Kelly, Good Call. Glad to see a free thinker

      October 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • steve

      June what a ridiculous claim about LDS temple practice. June you must think people are idiots to believe your nonsense.
      The church President in 1890 declared polygamy no longer to be practiced in the United States. Polygamy had become illegal and the church wanted to observe the legal laws. Mexico on the other hand allowed it. You have obviously never been to the temple and only reflect your perversion.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Jeff


      Come on, no need for hateful lies and bs.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  9. Josh

    I am a mormon. I believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That we are his children and he loves us. That is why he sent his only begotten Son to atone for our sins. That is why he has called prophets since the beginning with Adam, Enoch, Noah down through the Apostles and continues to do so today. He called them to teach his children that we may return to live with him someday. It only makes sense that God is no respecter of persons, that is why he also called prophets here in the ancient Americas. By your fruits ye shall know them, all of the ancient prohphets have fruits, Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, his fruit is the Book of Mormon, he translated the book by the power of God. The prohpet Amos in the Old Testament said that surely the Lord God will do nothing except he revealeth his secrets to his servents the prophets. We can see today that there are many doctrinal confusions in the world, that is why our Loving Heavenly Father has called prohphets in the beginning, to dispell such confusions. From Ephesians 4: 11 – 14 (paraphrased) Heavenly Father has given us apostles and prophets that we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine...

    October 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  10. Ryan

    Definition of Christian: a person who professes belief in Jesus Christ and is baptized in his name. By any definition of the word Mormons are absolutely Christians. In fact, if any "Christian" on here says otherwise they are judging which is against what Christ himself taught. I too have studied the mormon religion and some here are trying to put their own spin on things. The bible teaches "by their fruits ye shall know them". Look at the fruits of a majority of members of the church and you will see the values and teachings espoused by the church.

    October 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  11. K Kammeyer

    Okay, all you Trinitarians out there, explain this if you can:
    Acts 1:9-11
    9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

    10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

    11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

    Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ was physically resurrected, that he ascended to heaven in physical form, and that he will return in the same form (as Acts teaches). How can you reconcile this with the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity, of three incorporeal beings in one? Jesus was physically taken up to heaven, in the presence of witnesses. Not to be irreverent, but did he somehow lose his body at 50,000 feet? I take these verses at face value. It seems to me that on this doctrine at least, the Bible and the Latter-day Saints are in agreement, while those who subscribe to the Nicene Creed and its offspring are the ones preaching false doctrine.

    October 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Jeff

      I'm confused on your point. Jesus physically ascended to heaven where he sits now at the right hand of the Father. Both he and the Father are God. The Holy spirit is also God. Three forms, existing at the same time, but all three are God at the same time. How does this part of acts contradict that?

      October 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Matt


      I think you should consider the following.

      1 Cor. 12:12-14
      12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

      13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

      14 For the body is not one member, but many.

      Now, add that together with John 17:21
      That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

      After considering those two passages which clearly define the relationship between God and Christ, the idea of a trinity is ludicrous. Unless of course you believe that every human being on the Earth will somehow be merged together, with God and Christ, into on big "super being". If so, I'd like a scripture reference for that. Otherwise, the concept that they are anything other than two separate being, unified in purpose, is completely unfounded by the scriptures.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • steve

      @ Jeff your comment ->> Jesus physically ascended to heaven where he sits now at the right hand of the Father. Both he and the Father are God. The Holy spirit is also God. Three forms, existing at the same time, but all three are God at the same time. How does this part of acts contradict that? GODS...NOT GOD ...three GODS "Both he and the Father are GODS." This makes more sense Try it and your mind will become enlightened

      October 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Jeff

      1 Corr 12-14, Paul is talking about the church, and describing it as a body, many parts with specific functions, one body. He's describing the importance of church unity, and if you read further, how one part can not live on its own. He is not talking about Christ and God the Father being separate beings. You are picking and choosing scripture and manipulating it to fit your own agenda. Open your eyes man. I'll be praying for you.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  12. JiminTX

    Magic underwear, gold tablets, polygamy: that's a cult. While they may consider themselves Christians, Christians do not recognize Mormonism as Christian. They are a cult.

    October 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      You are correct – christianity is a cut.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Go Hoos

      This message endorsed by Rick Perry.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • jacque

      To say mormonism- which doesnt exist since no churhc goes by that name is a cult is ludicrous. It is no more a cult than any other. Every religion has a deity, every religion believes in sacred objects, and scriptures ie catholics where crosses, pray to little mary staues in their rooms, jews wear beards and head coverins, muslims wear headcoverings, etc. etc. every branch of christianity has their own take on it. Catholics have a trinity never discusses in the bible, baptists go on faith alone, protestants revel in self explorative worhip, Jehova witnesses believe that all of society is evil. They all worship differently and yet all are christian as they name christ as their figure head

      October 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Kelly

      The thing I like about LDS folks is they put their money (and time) where their mouths are. The two years of missionary work that Mormon males (and many females) do is not just about recruiting members–Most of their time is spent helping people and communities in need. Many continue this heritage of giving and help as part of their faiths for the rest of their lives. I wish more people believed in this approach to life.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Brian

      Christianity, in the first couple hundred years after its founding, was considered a cult. They had practices that were very strange to everyone else. They believed in sets of "new" scriptures that nobody else did. Their views of the world and theology differed in nearly every aspect from every other society.
      People throw the word "cult" around and point out how the Mormon church's beliefs are so "strange". But none of that has anything to do with the validity of the Church, or even the enormously positive effect it has and can have on the world.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • steve

      Jimmin the Mormons do not teach that their temple garments are magic. Mormons do not believe in magic. Golden metal plates is nothing to laugh at when among the dead sea scrolls were copper scrolls and yes, there have been metal plates discovered with ancient writing in the middle east. The LDS church stopped polygamy in 1890 when it became a federal law. The LDS church is the 4th largest denomination in the US currently and continues to grow.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • K Kammeyer

      "Judge not, that ye be not judged". I consider myself a Christian, and a Latter-day Saint, and I see no contradiction in that. Just because I don't fit your preconceived notions of what Christianity is, doesn't invalidate my beliefs. There are many different flavors of Christianity, and who are you to say that one is right, and another is wrong? Who put you in charge?

      October 9, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  13. Send in the Clowns

    Isn't is rich, isn't it que.er...

    ... that Christians are on the same side as agnostics and atheists whenever there is an article about Mormons, Catholics, or Muslims???

    October 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  14. shawn

    Mormons are to be commended for there major effort in there world wide ministry. The ones i have come into contact with are polite and kind. However They are not Christians and do not believe and or live by the Holy bible. The bible is complete and needs no additional books. In the bible God has explained in great detail the future for faithful mankind. There religion in no different than Muslims who follow the teachings of a man who wrote a book. Many Humans have written books that have started religions. Only the Holy Bible is inspired of God and there is no other. sorry mormons.

    October 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      My Japanese friends indicate that mormons are less than honest. For example, one of the ways mormon missionaries suck Japanese into the mormon cult is to offer free English lessons. Once the unsuspecting Japanese start taking English lessons, the recruiting into the mormon cult begins. How christian is that?

      October 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Steve

      Shawn, please read Deuteronomy 4:2. Does this mean that everything after what Moses had said is not suppose to be written? Is everything after Deuteronomy false?

      October 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Kelly

      So the newness of the Mormon texts makes them suspect? So, do we stop with the Old Testament, and call the New Testament suspect? Oops, wait a minute, this is going to be hard to explain Sunday morning. Hmm. Also, what do we do about the differences between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles (the Catholic bibles include a number of extra texts)? Is one version false, and the other true? Hmm. Who should decide? My guess is that its God's call, not yours.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Brian

      If Mormons don't believe in the Bible, please explain to everyone why they profess belief in Bible. And why they consistently use the Bible to teach their own religious concepts. And why Mormon children are taught the Bible stories and scriptures from the time they are born.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • steve

      Shawn sorry dude to tell you...but when Christ was on earth there was NO NT. They only had the OT and then after Christ left was added the NT. The warning to not add to this book was writtten at thened of the Book of Revelation and was about adding to the Book of Revelation. Jesus himself stated he would send prophets (see Matt 23:34) and never does the bible say "No more prophets." The Bible warns of false prophets and this would mean there would be true prophets if there are to be false ones.

      October 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  15. frealson

    Mormonism: The Masonic Deception

    w w w . youtube . c o m/watch?v=5Z19_tbkSjA

    October 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  16. Simon

    The fact that this "church" was founded in New York proves how phony it is! The true Christian Church was founded by Jesus himself and you can't get more authentic than that!

    October 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Kelly

      I thought that the CHURCH was founded by Paul...

      October 9, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  17. EZBoston

    I don't see any explanation. I love your point#2 or how to be socially and politically correct! Get deeper into "the sacred texts outside the Bible" next time. That's where things get insane!

    October 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • RGeneration

      Exactly...this is not a 101. This is a 1.01

      October 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Most people seem to focus on the trivial differences between Mormonism and Christianity. Clothes, missionaries, temples, what they won't drink, etc.  The key difference between Mormons and Christians is that mormons do not worship the same God as Christians.

    Christians worship the eternal God, creator of heaven and earth.  They believe in the holy trinity of the Father, Son, And Holy Spirit.  They believe all three are the same God,the same being. They believe Jesus, the Son,is actually God in human form.  They believe God has always existed, and is the first and only God. Christians believe when you die, you either go to heaven or hell. christians believe you get to heaven by faith in Jesus alone.

    Mormons believe that if you follow all the rules and practices of their church, you will become a god of your own universe when you die.  You and your wife will be able to rule over said universe, and populate it with spirit children.  They believe the God of this universe is not eternal, but was once a mortal man like us. He used to live in an alternate universe, but by living a good Mormon life, he was able to create our universe and we are his spirit children.  They believe Jesus is not God in human form, but the first of his spirit children.  He is also the brother of Satan.  

    Bottom line is that Christians worship a Devine eternal God. Mormons worship a god that is not eternal, and a Jesus that is not God in human form.  Therefor they do not worship the same God Christians do, and are not Christians, even if they use the same terms.

    October 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Robert

      Wow. Your summary is like Wikipedia: spoken with authority, but no substance and only partly factual (less so in your case). If you want to put some substance behind your words, do some research first. Start at http://mormon.org.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Gisela

      Jeff, you're right on the money in describing Mormonism. And, yes, according to Mormonism each man has the opportunity to work his way through the many levels of heaven to become a god in his own planet and/or universe. I studied Mormonism and ran for my life (or soul?) when the studies reached a point when all these beliefs were revealed – they don't tell you all the details at once: it's all sugar-coated at first to draw in the potential convert. Mormons are not Christians, no matter how much they try to present themselves as such. Read their literature, it's right there for anybody to see for themselves.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Jeff

      Robert, please tell me where I am incorrect. I'm just trying to state facts. Mormon beliefs are crazy different from Christians. They just publicly present their beliefs in a way so that the above differences are not spoken of or emphasized, so as to not scare people away.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • K Kammeyer

      Christians (for the most part) worship a God who fills the universe, who is everywhere but nowhere, "completely other" than humans, and unapproachable (since He's everywhere, remember?) This is NOT what the Bible teaches. Please reconcile for me your doctrine of the Trinity with these verses from Acts 1:1-9

      9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

      10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

      11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

      If Jesus is coming again, will he somehow coalesce out of the celestial ether of the Trinity, or what? He ascended in physical form, he will return in physical form, so please explain to me what happened to him in the intervening 2,000 years?

      October 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Michael

      O.K. Jeff, you want to know where you're wrong? Let's dissect this. On your first point (that the holy trinity is really one being): if this were the case, how and why would Jesus Christ pray to his father during his earthly ministry? Why would he pray to himself? Concerning the Holy Spirit, the Bible recounts how it descended in the form of a dove when Jesus was baptized by immersion (a practice abandoned by many Christian religions), also a clearly separate manifestation. If this were also just the same God, how would it not already have been there, with, or as, Jesus Christ?
      Concerning the second point, as to where we go after we die; The heaven or hell concept is neither fair nor logical. Mormonism teaches that there are many degrees of glory (or heaven) to which all people will go based upon how they live their lives. The highest 'heaven' one can attain is to live in the presence of God, there to receive all that he has. The only 'hell' exceptions are for people who deny God with a perfect knowledge of him.
      Thirdly, Jesus is the only begotten of the father. Nonetheless, we were all created by God and are therefore termed "brothers and sisters." This pertains to Satan as well as Christ. They are indeed both our brothers – that comes directly from the Bible.
      Anymore questions, ask somebody informed, not rumors or hateful anti-Mormon literature. Honestly, the religion makes a whole lot of sense.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Ryan

      When Jesus was baptized by John how is it that the voice of God was heard saying "this is my beloved SON, in whom I am well-pleased". We can certainly agree that God, the father, Jesus, his divine son, and the Holy Spirit are one in purpose. They are, however, clearly and distinctly three separate beings. Was the father in the above example speaking to HIMSELF?

      October 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Hearing voices and/or talking to one's self is not unusual for people with mental health or drug issues.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Jeff

      Um, K Kammeyer, I'm not disputing that Jesus is a physical being. That's kind of the point. Jesus is God in human physical form. I agree he will come back physically, because he is God in human form. Meaning he is in heaven right now, in physical human form. He is with God the Father, the same God as Jesus, but God the Father is in a non physical form. Jesus is our physical mediator between us physical, sinful humans and a perfect God the Father.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Dave Jones

      All good points...they also believe that God was once a man who became a "god" and that Jesus and Satan are brothers, but that after that fall in the Garden of Eden Jesus' "plan of salvation" was accepted by the "father" and Satan revolted and a celestial war ensued. Within that war, Jesus won and that Mormon doctrine, until the 1960's, when blacks were NOT invited to be a latter day saint, were burned up in the war, and this is how they became "black." This also fits in with their doctrine of souls existing in eternity and are looking for a body, and take one on when conceived. Mormons have large families to bring these waiting souls into this sphere to become mormons, and start populating their own promised planet. Yep, its some weird, unbiblical stuff. Additionally, the ancient American Indians spoken of in the book of Mormon can't be found anywhere in archeology, science, or history. This fact alone is driving many people out of the Mormom church because it is such a cornerstone to their teachings and is seen as false. Finally, the book of Mormon has undergone over 1200 revisions in its short history, with key doctrines like polygamy and racism against blacks removed due to political and cultural pressures.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Jeff


      Jesus and God the Father are the same being, yet exist in seperate forms as well. Jesus in esense, was praying to himself, God the Father, in heaven.

      In regards to holy spirit, it is also God, and is a seperate form of existense than the Son or Father. It also exists at the same time as the Son and the Father, hense, how it could be there with Jesus.

      In regards to heaven, you are not being completely truthful. Christians beleive when you go to heaven, you are in the presence of God. You may beleive that, but your faith differs in the fact that in your highest level of heaven, you are given your own world to populate with spirit babies, and rule over as their god. Christians do not believe that, as that would be blasphemous.

      Where in the Bible does is say that Jesus is our brother? You are again incorrect. Satan is a fallen angel, a different type of being than a human. Where does it say in the Bible Satan is our brother? It does not.

      I apologize if my comments may be coming off as rude. I do not hate Mormons, in fact, most are good moral people. I do believe they are misinformed of the truth, and do not practice Christianity.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • steve

      @Jeff You are correct that trinitarian christians and Mormons do not define the nature of God in the same manner. The Mormons interpret the scriptures more logically than trinitarians do. If you accept the bible then you should recognise that Jesus resurrected physically to die no more, to never become a spirit again. (see Luke 24:39) If Jesus ascended to be on the right hand of his father, then how easy is it to understand that 1. the Father has a right hand 2. Jesus was express image of his father, having now a perfect resurrected and immortal physical body like his father. They are "one" in purpose like a team is one in unison. You should consider abandoning the dark age theology

      October 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Jeff

      Steve, I'm sorry man but you are wrong. If you want the truth, you need to read and follow the bible as the sole basis of your faith. Additional works done by man, like the book of mormon and the other mormon scriptures, have corrupted your interpretation of the bible. I will be praying for you. God bless.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  19. Stephanie S

    Actually this is a very watered down version of Mormonism. It is actually much more complex. Mormons believe not only in baptism of the dead by proxy but marriage of dead women by proxy – which means celestial polygamy. The Also believe "As man is God once was. As God is, man can become." Mormon men believe they will receive their own planet to rule as a god and have multiple wives.
    Joseph Smith received many of his revelations by looking into a black top hat.
    Most religions are pretty freaky. I claim no church but the church of humankind. However, don't sugarcoat Mormonism – it is a very odd religion that does not adhere to basic Christian tenents.

    October 9, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Don

      Mormon doctrine does NOT teach a person gets his or her own planet in the here after; that is NOT LDS doctrine.
      "Christian" tenets are interpretative in light that the Roman empire morphed the residue of the early church into the RCC and then the protestants were spawned from that.

      October 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Jeff

      Don, if you do a little research and read some Mormon scripture, you will find you are wrong.

      October 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • jacque

      I here so many people talking about what they think Mormons believe. Instead of claiming to know what they believe why dont you just let them tell you what they believe.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Jeff

      Jacque, Mormons have told me they believe this.ntell meander I'm wrong.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • watergirl

      Don Mormons teach "As Man is, God was. As God is, Man may become." So they believe God was once a man and that a man can become a god. So either way you look at it their is either a bunch of gods over seeing just this one planet or their gods on their own planet. Mormons believe they can become a god.
      So not only is Mitt Romney hoping to become president, he is hoping that by being a good Mormon he will be a god to someday.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  20. theXmormon

    Mormons are just as christian as any other christ believing religion. They are also just as false as all other religions.

    October 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • saraha

      I couldn't agree more.

      October 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Mormons are not Christians ,they were founded in opposition to accepted Christian churches and teachings.The whole foundation of mormonism is anti Christ.This is not hard to find out,there are multiple sites that describe in great detail the frauds of mormon founder joseph smith.I am not saying that mormons as people are better or worse than any other people,just that they are not Christians.God bless

      October 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Mormons are not Christians ,they were founded in opposition to accepted Christian churches and teachings.The whole foundation of mormonism is anti Christ.This is not hard to discover,there are multiple sites that describe in great detail the frauds of mormon founder joseph smith.I am not saying that mormons as people are better or worse than any other people,just that they are not Christians.God bless

      October 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Herbie! There are many (MANY!) websites that describe in great detail the fraud of religion. By your logic, you should be agreeing that what you believe is fraud. Which way is it – you can't have it both ways. Web sites are authoritative or they are not.

      If you do not have the guts to reply directly, please use "sidebar" – I don't mind playing your little game.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • sidebar

      herbert juarez,considers with good cause, that hot air is beneath contempt and will not engage him in any way.As always herbert is correct in his assessment.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Allow me to translate: HotAirAce amd many others have caught herbie is numerous logic errors and herbie does not have the guts to admit same, or the inteligence and/or evidence to make his case. sidebar is yet another one of herbie's imaginary friends and no one is fooled, except herbie.

      October 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Kelly

      Herbert Juarez–Oh, Jeez, if there are "multiple sites" out there saying this, it MUST be true! Good grief.

      October 9, 2011 at 6:54 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.