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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. mike smith

    Well , at least now I understand Glen Beck's weird behavior. That mormon underwear must cause some serious discomfort.

    October 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Erin

      That is so disrespectful. That is something so sacred to some people. You don't mess with those things just to try to be funny. Not cool.

      And Glenn Beck is Glenn Beck because he just is and he has problems he hasn't worked through yet.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Hoovervilles

      Mitt Romney could make government smaller! How? Well with magical under garments to protect him from the outside world, he could down size the secret service. Mitt won't need them for protection. Neither would Huntsman.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  2. jbce

    Where is the golden tablets?

    October 9, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • BOB (burnt out bad)

      In the golden shower

      October 9, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  3. Daws

    Ironically CNN probably doesn't post their stranger beliefs because the LDS church keeps them from their own members, until they're oh so far in it, (just like most typical cults) and so may threaten legal action against CNN for using "copyrighted material". For a comparison this would be like starting with the new testament and how jesus wants to save the world, and then only later to tell you to believe the world was created in 6 days, in a specific order, and the world was flooded and etc etc.

    October 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Dustin

      When you consider that most Christians believe that some guy dieing 2000k years ago results in their having eternal happiness. What "Mormon's" believe is not that strange and most of the "strange" stuff it is taught up front. Yes there are a few things that are not talked about much, but I rarely hear the average Christian talking about a man being ordered to kill his son on Gods orders, yet they believe it.

      October 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  4. john

    The problem with the term "Christian" is that it has a narrow and a wide scope. Under the wide scope it simply means one who is a follower of Jesus Christ. It seems relatively unctorversial that members of the LDS faith are Christians in this sence (even if they have a different understanding of Christ's teachings). On the narrow scope you are a Christian if you ascent to traditional Christian dogma as laid out in the Nicene creed. Such dogmatic claims include the incarnation, the virgin birth, and the trinity. The LDS church does not accept most of these points and so on a more narrow reading of what it means to be Christian it seems they miss the mark.

    October 9, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  5. South Park

    I still like South Park's revision of the Mormon Church better......

    October 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Erin

      How many victims of tragedy had food and water brought to them by Southparks version? How many 3rd world children got vaccines from Southparks version? How many mothers in those same countries received training that would save their babies from Southpark's version? How many sick and lonely were visited by Southpark's version?

      October 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  6. Samuel Selby

    I have been many things in my life. I've been a Baptist, a Lutheran, a Pagan and an Agnostic. I am now a Mormon and I have this to say to those who attempt to discredit the LDS Church. In all my various travels, the LDS church is the only group of Christians I have met, who strive daily to walk the walk. They follow the teachings of Christ. They help one another and support one another. They give to the poor and needy. They support their members. They CARE about one another.

    I came to the Church because I needed help. I was going to be a Father and MY childhood only taught me what NOT to do. The only thing I knew about the Church was they were known for having very strong family values. I investigated them, knew all the 'stories' told about them by people w/o a clue and took those stories with a grain of salt.

    What I learned is this. Many Churches claim to follow the teachings of Christ. The LDS Church is the only one that i've been a member of that actually works daily to LIVE those teachings in everything they do. They are comprised of individuals who, daily fall short of those teachings but who work hard at living UP to those teachings, and every day strive to come closer to Christs example.

    I'm not a very good Mormon. I struggle daily with myself and my beliefs but If anyone were to ask me if I truly think the LDS Church is Christian, I'll be happy to tell them not only do I believe they are Christians, but the rest of "Christianity" could learn from their example.

    October 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  7. MN man

    It never ceases to amaze me how CNN and other media outlets treat religion with kid gloves. How about some more interesting facts about Mormonism such as Joseph Smith being convicted of felony fraud in the years before he "translated" the Book of Mormon. He dictated much of the book while staring at a stone in the bottom of a hat. The Book of Mormon and Mormonism is demonstrably false. It makes claims that have been proven, through science, to be false. Such as the idea that Native Americans are descended from an ancient Israeli tribe. DNA evidence refutes that. The Book speaks of horses, pigs and other livestock in North America centuries before the Europeans introduced those animals. There is no archeological evidence to support the claims of great cities being in North America pre-Columbus. Americans (and I suppose most other people) like to think of themselves as rational and reasonable, but they will swallow up any bunk you feed them provided it is in the guise of religion! It does not surprise me that evangelicals would try to rally around Mormons to some extent. Christian evangelicals have been peddling their own snake oil for centuries longer than the Mormons, and the Bible is as reliable a text as anything Joe Smith dreamed up, it's just that the Bible is shrouded in centuries more history. Some people take their mythology so seriously!

    October 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Daniel

      Read my comment below. I'm a Bible believing Christian and I would never support a Mormon any more than I would support a Satanist! I have very good reason for making this statement! See my comment below. That said, it is unfortunate that many professing Christians support Mormon nominees. It shows either their ignorance in these matters or the extent of their unwise compromise.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Brian

      Actually, Israeli-pattern DNA (haplogroup X) was found by non-Mormon geneticists in Native American groups near the Great Lakes. (See Science journal, 1998, Virginia Morell). There is also clear evidence of thousands of ancient settlements in the same area, some with populations in the tens of thousands. Sadly, they, whom archaeologists call the Hopewell Mound-Builders, suddenly disappeared around 400 AD. (Hmmmm. . .interesting) I would be careful about making claims based on a lack of scientific evidence. Scientific and historical theories are proven right or wrong based on evidence gathered, not evidence ungathered. Science is progressive; more discoveries are made every day, which are constantly debunking so-called "facts" previously thought of as truth. That is where science is flawed. We are in a constant state of trying to discover our universe, making human mistakes the entire time. I'm not saying this because I'm religious, I'm saying this because I am a scientist. There are certain things that, through science, are unknowable. I'm glad that God communicates with man so that we can know what this universe is really all about.

      October 9, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  8. Daniel

    I notice that this article leave out one very important doctrine of Mormonism. Mormons have a belief that they sum up with their quip "As God once was man now is. As God now is man may become". Mormons believe that God was once a man and that he became God through perfecting himself. They believe that anyone can become a God by perfecting themselves. The only times in the Bible that remotely speaks of someone trying to become God came with severe punishment from God for doing so....there is a reference to Satan trying to take over God's throne as a traitor for which he was cast out of heaven and hell was created for his doom,... there is a reference to Satan tricking Eve into eating the forbidden fruit to become like God for which she was cast out of the Garden and God's presence and for which she would have to be redeemed, ...there is the reference of Herod declaring that he is a god and then punish with being then immediately eaten alive of worms. It is clear that Mormonism is worse than the typical cult, their unwitting allegiance with Satan and his agenda to become God places them squarely in the Occult. No surprise since Joseph Smith claimed that many of his revelations came from a seeing stone.

    October 9, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Michael

      We believe that through the atonement of Christ we can become like him (i.e. God). We also believe that a part of his atonement was to become like us and undergo the mortal experience (i.e. man). Both of these beliefs are supported by the Bible. As to the use of the word "god", please refer to the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verses 32-37. Cheers.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • Daniel

      Michael,
      Do you admit that you believe "As God once was man now is. As God now is man may become"?

      October 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Dustin

      Paul and Christ for they both taught this doctrine what is the big deal? .

      October 9, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Lisa

      Michael,
      In John 10:34, the reference to "gods" is also translated as "princes." Big difference. Read Psalm 82:6 and keep it in context.

      October 9, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Dustin

      Context ,like why else would Christ quote that to people wanting to kill him for saying his is the Son of God?

      October 10, 2011 at 12:16 am |
  9. James

    Next Time Go More in depth

    October 9, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  10. Truth

    These are word spoken by Joseph Smith:

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

    Mormons do not believe other religions are stupid or anything like that. (i've read many comments which say that) They do not force anything on anyone. Anyone who does is going against the belief of the LDS church.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  11. Tonya

    http://carm.org/teachings-of-mormonism

    mormon scriptures are referenced.

    Mormonism is way way way different than the Holy Bible!

    October 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Thisisweird

      I don't know. This website doesn't offer many citations and references compared to the actual mormon websites and BYU university material. This website seems pretty biased and not peer reviewed at all.

      From my research the Book of Mormon is very similar to the Bible. I even bothered to read it once, it's not too bad of a read. There are many references in footnotes made in the Book of Mormon to the Bible. You will find that some books closely mirror teachings in Isaiah and Matthew. It's very similar to Biblical teaching. Not literal Biblical teaching, I mean theologically understood teachings of the Bible. The Mormon book seems to condense Biblical doctrines in a less confusing manner.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Dustin

      Kind of hit and miss. I noted that they did not quote the biblical verses that fit the doctrines (baptism of the dead, being a son our daughter of God etc.)

      October 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  12. Tonya

    The Holy Bible is the only true word of God. Nuff said.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • K Kammeyer

      Which one?
      If it was the "only" word of God, he would have said so, but he didn't – and those verses that people argue support this claim, were written long before the Bible as we know it was assembled into a single book by St. Jerome. He went through a huge pile of manuscripts and threw some of them in the "keep" pile, and the others in the "discard" pile. Generally speaking, he did a pretty good job of weeding out the apocrypha and the pseudepigrapha, but there are a lot of his "discards" like the Gospel of Thomas that still have merit. Mormons also believe the Bible to be the word of God, insofar as it is translated correctly.
      The "coming forth" of the Bible out of obscurity is just as miraculous as the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. For centuries, the only Bibles were chained to pulpits and could only be read and interpreted by priests, on pain of punishment. William Tyndale changed all that with his English translation of much of the OT and NT, which became the core of the King James Bible. He was an inspired man, and his translations were truly magnificent. There are many words in the KJV that were actually coined by William Tyndale to express Greek or Hebrew concepts that had no equivalent in English, such as the word "atonement". Like Joseph Smith, Tyndale was a martyr to his cause. King Henry VIII had him put to death just a very few years before the tide turned and it became acceptable to read the Bible in English. This may suggest why the Mormon Church uses the King James Version, despite its archaic language – it is inspired, and it is beautiful to read.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Daws

      I personally like the first Star Trek better... oh wait I got confused, were we not comparing work of fiction with another?

      October 9, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • Blake Jensen

      The word of God is revelation spoken through prophets. I believe that God has always called prophets and that He always will call prophets. God loves His children so He gives them prophets. The bible is the word of God, because it is revelation to true prophets. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, because it is revelation to true prophets. What living prophets say even in these days is scripture, because it is revelation from God. The Book of Mormon and Bible do not contradict each other, because they both testify of the divinity of Jesus Christ and that He is the Son of God, and that only through Him can we live with God again. Visit http://www.mormon.org for more information on why Mormons are Christians.

      October 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  13. Truth

    The real name of the mormon church is: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And they say mormons don't believe in Christ.
    Also, these are words spoken by an LDS apostle, and are included as a song in the LDS hymn book. (by the way, if you ever look in the hymn book, the vast majority of those songs are about Christ)

    I believe in Christ - my Lord, my God! My feet he plants on gospel sod. I'll worship him with all my might; He is the source of truth and light. I believe in Christ; he ransoms me. From Satan's grasp he sets me free, And I shall live with joy and love in his eternal courts above. I believe in Christ; he stands supreme! From him I'll gain my fondest dream; And while I strive through grief and pain, His voice is heard: "Ye shall obtain." I believe in Christ; so come what may, With him I'll stand in that great day when on this earth he comes again to rule among the sons of men.

    If that isn't Christian, what is?

    October 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  14. Tonya

    This is a great site to learn the many ins and outs of mormonism.

    http://carm.org/mormonism

    October 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Truth

      Also, if you want to know what mormons are really about, visit these websites: lds.org and mormon.org

      October 9, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Jim

      If you want to see how Joseph Smith was just a con man who found he could bottle and brand his own opiate of the masses read this: http://www.religioustolerance.org/ldsbom.htm. Cult? No more so than most religions, but, if you think religion should be a search for TRUTH you should see more evidence than what you will find on their own websites.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  15. Tonya

    I took a few weeks of their lessons just out of curiosity. I knew that I would never convert, but I listened and learned. I learned that they don't believe in the Trinity. They believe Father, Son, and Holy Spirit area not one in the same. They do baptisms for the dead, Alcohol is completely forbidden as is coffee and tea. They believe in classes of heaven and that there is no hell. We all make it to heaven but in different classes of heaven. I went to a service and Joseph Smith was what they talked about 95 percent of the time. A couple people went to the front of the congregation and had to tell everyone that Joseph Smith is a Prophet. Nothing about Jesus Christ during the 3 hour service. Only the Mormons considered to be perfect are allowed to be temple members and they carry a card. I could go on and on. I could never convert. It goes against every teaching of Jesus Christ that I ever learned.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • LDS

      As mormons, we know that nobody can be perfect in this life, aside from Christ. Temple recommends are given to those who strive to follow the commandments and are clean enough to enter into God's House.
      Also, you shouldn't judge what mormons are about by one meeting, one set of members. Just as I couldn't learn everything about biology from going to one class. It just doesn't work that way.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Jason

      Good points Tonya, may I clarify some things you said. We do share the belief that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are one is purpose, but not physically. We believe that we'll be rewarded based on our faith and works. If they are good they we'll return to live with Heavenly Father, but if we reject his truth and don't follow his commandments. Hell in the scriptures is 2 different things depending on how they are used either 1- its the place some bad people stay before they are judged and 2- after the judgment their are different kingdoms. The Celestial kingdom is the highest, but the lower ones have sometimes been referred to as hell (eternal torment) etc.. See we actually have a lot in common.

      Depending on the year we also study the modern prophets and what they taught about Christ and his teachings as well as how those teachings influenced their lives. You probably went to a meeting with that focus, but we study the New Testament, Old Testament and the Book of Mormon.

      I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I'm happy to share my Christian beliefs with anyone who has interest to know more too. Thanks,

      Jason

      October 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Brian

      Tonya, I'm sorry if you didn't enjoy your experience at a Mormon congregation. However, for those who might feel confused about it, Jesus Christ is the CENTRAL focus of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mormons believe that Christ is at the Head of the Church. Every Mormon prayer ends in the name of Jesus Christ, just as he taught in the Bible. Every 3-hour Sunday meeting includes the administration of the Sacrament, just as Christ taught in the Bible. So anyone who claims that Jesus Christ is not taught or referenced to in Mormon churches is misinformed. That is plain to see to anyone who has done any amount of legitimate research.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Erin

      Tonya- How did you miss the Sacrament, which is the whole point of the Sacrament meeting- the most important of the 3 meetings? The entire focus of the Sacrament is Jesus Christ and nothing else. If you forgot about that- the main purpose in the Sunday meetings and definitely different than the rest of the 3 hours- then I wonder what else you probably forgot about.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  16. K Kammeyer

    I have to ask, if Joseph Smith and his successors were charlatans why would they set up a church with no paid clergy, where no one profits from the enterprise, where for all practical purposes the only perceived benefits are spiritual, not tangible? Why would Joseph Smith submit to persecution and ultimately martyrdom, in defense of the Book of Mormon, if he just made it up? Why did all of the Three Witnesses, who saw the Gold Plates, stick to their stories through persecution and ridicule to the ends of their lives? There was nothing in it for them – on the contrary, they paid a terrible price for their testimonies. Why would the early members of the Church waste and wear out their lives (some 20,000 of them died crossing the plains) if they did not believe in their souls that this new religion was true? They felt it "as a fire in their bones" and never, ever wavered in their faith. What motivated them? The same faith that motivates believing Latter-day Saints to this day: a conviction that Joseph Smith really was a prophet, and that the doctrines that God revealed to him are the foundation of the true and living Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. What other motivation is there? As the Prophet Alma said to the apostate Korihor in the Book of Mormon, "Do you think that we deceive this people, that causes such great joy in their hearts?" It's not easy to be a believing Latter-day Saint, but the eternal benefits are incalculable.

    October 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Tonya

      Doing some research on my own, I also found out that black people were not allowed to be members until pressure was put on them during the civil rights era.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Thisisweird

      Can you cite references? From my research through the Mormon website and wikipedia, blacks were certainly allowed to be members throughout Mormon history. What are you talking about?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mormons

      October 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  17. geojus1

    Why is there no discussion on ludicrous Mormon texts:

    1) Native Americans are descendants of Jews.
    2) The Garden of Eden is in the American South.

    October 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Dustin

      1 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/losttribes2.html

      2. Given that the Bible teaches that people used to live for nearly 1000 years the red sea was divided and donkeys can talk this seems to be a small issue

      October 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • David T.

      Simple DNA tests show that American Natives are not anywhere related to lost Jewish tribes. Arguing the the contrary (as the Mormon Church continues to do) is typical of what religions do: keep making false claims rather than follow the scientific evidence.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • Dustin

      DNA tests look for common genetic markers, yet anyone who has read the BofM knows that the people came from a small number of males (Lehi Zoram and Ishmael) so the probability that they did not have a given genetic marker (which are not 100%) is rather high vs a population composed of a large cross section of people and genetics.

      But still the question why is there evidence of Jews in S America?

      October 10, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  18. Truth

    Actually, mormons believe that the Bible is the sacred word of God. The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price are not meant to replace the Bible, but to act as its companions. Furthermore, mormons do believe that Mary conceived and bare Jesus as a virgin, just like other Christians. Mormons also believe that all people are children of God, therefore brothers and sisters, and that includes Jesus and Lucifer (Satan). As for the multiple heavens, we all know that there is not just good people and bad people. There are all different levels of righteousness, therefore we cannot place all humanity into two groups, so there are different levels of Heaven.
    In Romans 8:16-17 in the Bible, it states: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children ofo God.
    And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
    Joint-heirs with Christ. What could that possibly mean? That we can inherit what God has. And it says so in the Bible.

    October 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Billie the Mormon

      Hey "Truth," way to be a member missionary! The general authorities stressed this last week in conference and it's cool to see others spreading the gospel-and in a way that is kind and without contention 🙂

      October 9, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • sp

      There is none righteous. We are made righteous by the blood of Christ. This free gift we can choose to accept or reject. It is a yes or no question. Not a bunch of levels

      October 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  19. Moldy Melkesidic

    I was a Mormon who left the church because their true doctrine is different from their public doctrine. When I went to the temple I was given a temple name and I was told my wife's temple name, and admonished to never reveal my wife's name to her because as long as i was a "worthy priesthood holder" I would be able to call her forth from the grave. I also married other dead women to take as my spiritual wives.

    Mormon doctrine says that as god is we can become, as man is god once was. In other words" Men become gods and create worlds, and then populate the worlds with spirit children created with my many wives. I could not believe in a doctrine that makes women second class. This is the truth. In the Temple those who participate in these ' Ordinances" take a blood Oath, raise their hand to the Square and vow to have their throats slit and their bowels scattered to the four corners of the earth for revealing these so called sacred ordinances. So" lady's, if you want to be a queen and rule over your husbands other spirit wives" then this is the church for you.

    October 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Lisa

      Wow. wow. I knew they like to sidestep their real doctrine but this is really amazing. Steve who has been posting has been saying emphatically that Jesus did not die for our sins either according to the Mormons, but rather he only suffered prior to his crucifixion. If the crucifixion wasn't for us, then why did he do it? Why did He do ANY of it? Why bother?

      October 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • Jeffrey Root

      I am an ex Mormon, served a mission and I now hate the church as well as all organized religion. I'm going to clear something up for you. You were never married to dead women to take as spiritual wives. You and your wife used your bodies to perform an eternal wedding ceremony for an already dead, married couple. I may hate the church but I will stand up for what is fact from fiction. Don't be an idiot and don't be deceiving. Mormons have enough screwed up practices to criticize than for you to have to make up one.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Lisa

      Jeffrey,
      Thanks for clearing that up. It's still....NUTS. NUTS!

      October 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Thisisweird

      From what I've researched about Mormonism (thanks to BYU's free access to many of their college courses in theology online, BYU being the premier Mormon University)....

      1.) Christ paid for all the sins of the world at Gesthemene by bleeding from every pore due to the extreme spiritual and physical pain, since he felt all the pain every suffered by man kind whether due to sin or physical/mental injury.
      2.) After paying this price he had to still die, so he could be resurrected. He died so God could give Christ a resurrected super body of sorts with divine properties. This was apparently so that God could then send the now immortal Christ to his disciples in the Old World (Judea and such) to show the apostles that he lives, etc etc....then to go to the America's and teach the Native peoples there. The Natives (called Lamanites and Nephites by Mormons) seemed to live in peace thanks to Christ's presence and teachings but many years after Christ's departure the natives slowly grew prideful and complacent due to their wealthy lives (brought about by living honest and productive Christian lives) and eventually threw away their teachings from Christ (most of them) and started to kill each other. Their remnants became the Mayan civilization (some how the Book of Mormon chronology matches up with archaeological data on the beginning of Mayans). How Joesph Smith knew about the Mayans in the early 1800's (being just a uneducated farm boy) is odd.
      3.) It's spelled Melchizedek, not Melkesidic (are you sure you were once part of the Mormon Church?). Also your portrayal of what appears to be the Mormon ordinance of "Endowment" is terribly flawed and out right wrong. Your view appears to come from anti-Mormon propaganda videos posted on youtube that I just watched. They were weird, silly, 80's style animations that really had no proof and no reference to evidence. You can double check my statements through the Church website and Brigham Young University.
      4.) The Mormon stance on equality between men and women is strange. They appear to say "equal but different." As in a women's role is different but equally as important and powerful. Maybe it's a cultural thing that makes us think that because women do something different in the Mormon religion they must be inferior. I think we need to stop being so close minded and think about what it actually means to be equal. From what I can gather, Mormon doctrine treats women as very sacred beings and just as important and powerful as men, just designed to do different things. It appears that Mormon doctrine treats both the wife and husband as subservient to each other and yet individual. They need each other and can't exist without the other as divine beings. Odd, this is a novel idea to me. Interesting indeed. Why should different ideas immediately be labeled as "NUTS" as Lisa so eloquently described?
      5.) Jeffrey Root, what crazy practices are you talking about? I'd like to know. From my research it doesn't seem as crazy as anything else anyone does. Just look at our modern culture, we do crazy things all the time. If you have every watched a Romantic Comedy you can see how crazy all humans are regardless of religion.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Lisa

      Thisiweird: I am eloquent aren't I – but only when it's appropriate:) It is indeed NUTs to think you can do a posthumous "eternal" marriage ceremony. In fact Jesus stated that there was NO marriage in heavern, but that we would be "as the angels." That also contradicts the notion that we are all going to be Gods etc. etc.... Jesus said we would be "like" him, but no where is there anything about any of the strange doctrine that's been disclosed about Mormonism unless you really put a twist on things and make the gospel cryptic and conditional – contrary to Christ's teachings and character. Nothing you said about Gethsemane is supported in the bible. Please, if I'm wrong, show me.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Jason

      Lisa,

      I can understand the confusion of having some of the deeper teaching thrown around on a comment thread as a way to learn about the LDS faith. Milk before Meat.

      Milk – We believe in a just Heavenly Father who loves and wants to give all his Children equal opportunities for salvation. That is why we do in the temples ordinances for the dead. These proxy services offer members of the church a chance to baptized and sealed (married) for those who died in this life who didn't have those opportunities. This is a sacred way of serving deceased family members and other loved ones.

      Meat – To receive the highest degree of God's glory you have to have lived a righteous life of faith and works, and be sealed (married) in his house (the temples).

      If you had two twin children and both were going to school and one of them had a bad accident and couldn't attend school for a couple months but the other did, and the teacher gave the attending one a good grade and the injured on a bad grade, it just wouldn't be fair. But if the healthy one taught the injured one and took in the his/her homework as a proxy for the injured then the teacher could justly give out fair grades.

      I know Heavenly Father loves each of his children and wants to bless them equally. He has started a work in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and offer those saving ordinances to anyone who may choose to follow, and offer the opportunities of those who may not have heard the gospel the possibilities of learning and receiving those same blessing even after death. He is fair, just and true and loves each of us. (1 Corinthians 15:29)

      I know it is the work of Christ and I've felt his loving forgiveness as I've sought to live my life according to his teachings that I've learned in prayer, from the Bible, and the Book of Mormon.

      Jason

      October 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • K Kammeyer

      Lisa,
      Actually, Jesus' words were that in heaven there is "no marrying, nor giving in marriage", which could just as easily be interpreted to mean that there are no wedding CEREMONIES performed there – they must be performed here on earth (which agrees with Mormon doctrine, both for the living and the dead). Scary as it may seem to non-Mormons, the fact that a doctrine does not appear in the Bible does not preclude it from being true – if God revealed it, that is. There are an awful lot of loose ends and cryptic passages in the Bible that make no sense at all, except in the light of modern "revealed doctrine" as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ. For example, what did Paul mean when he said, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead?" There is considerable evidence that someone did a scissors-and-paste job on the OT and the NT, removing many "plain and precious" doctrines. What is still there is essentially correct, but there are a lot of holes. And no amount of Bible analysis and exegesis can fill in those holes – only revelation from God. That is where the Book of Mormon and other LDS scriptures come in. They help us interpret and understand the Bible better, while adding their own "plain and precious" doctrines that still agree with the Bible. Try looking up the "Stick of Judah" and the "Stick of Joseph" in Ezekiel and explain what these verses mean, if you can. You can't, without the Book of Mormon to explain it to you. I hope this helps.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Lisa

      Jason,
      Why would God lean on human beings and our limited records to help Him to save them? it makes zero sense. What you described is a God who has limitations. This is more like "The English Patient" who left his girl in a cave with a candle to wait and die while he tried to go bring back help. It's really sweet though – IF you are not GOD and completely capable of doing your OWN JOB. We are NOT as He is and he is not that sloppy. Jason, I think you're a sweet person who has been fed a doctrine and has never questioned it. Would God love you if you questioned it? Would you still be saved? Think about that. My God loves me anyway. He is not going to throw me away because I use the brain He gave me to think it through and ask Him questions fully expecting an answer. Jesus is kind. He is the Creator. He does not need us to save those he loves posthumously. I'm confident He is able and would never leave his children in some sort of limbo because of the year they were born in relation to human technology and communications. That would be like leaving a 3 year old to babysit a 3 year old. Not very loving or responsible. .....

      October 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • Lisa

      K Kammeyer: You didn't disclose the entire scripture which is Matthew 22:29-30. You also disregarded the scripture that came right before it which put it into context – Matthew 22:24-28. Jesus said there will be NO marriage in Heaven, but are like angels in Heaven. Don't you think Jesus would have said plainly if posthumous ceremonies needed to be conducted? Nothing of what is being said here about these posthumous ceremonies is biblical at all. Not in any way. Show me some scripture where it shows plainly that we need to do these posthumous baptisms and marriages with stand-ins. If it were so, He would have said so. He didn't mince words and neither was He cryptic on any other point. In short, it's a religious, unscriptural doctrine and for what who knows...I guess for those who can't bear the thought of not having complete control of what they can't see. I have to trust Jesus Christ to know me, take care of me and my loved ones and to be able and strong enough to be more than one step ahead of me. And He has never let me down.

      October 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • K Kammeyer

      Lisa,
      John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
      I don't see any exceptions to that verse. One must be baptized in order to enter the kingdom of God. Yet, how many millions of people have never had that chance? Was Jesus lying? What is to become of these people? Mormon doctrine offers a way out: All those who never had the chance to be baptized on earth (most of humanity, in fact) will have the opportunity to accept baptism posthumously, just as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:29:
      "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"
      It is apparent that Paul believed in this doctrine, else he never would have used it as a supporting argument for the resurrection. How else can you explain these verses?
      1 Peter 4:6 "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."
      The general Christian world has no explanation for these verses. We do.

      October 9, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Lisa

      K Kammeyer:
      You need to read all of Chapter 3 before it! (1 Peter 4:6). Read 3:18 through 4: 11. And Jesus has dominion forever and ever.

      October 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Lisa

      Even better context:

      http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-r001.html

      October 9, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • K Kammeyer

      Lisa,
      I did read them, and they just reinforce my position that those who died without the Gospel will have the chance to accept it in the hereafter – but that does not negate in any way Jesus' declaration that "except a man be borne of the water and of the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven."

      "18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
      19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
      20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."

      Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison (Hades), who had been disobedient in the time of Noah. How is this possible? When did he do this? These people lived on earth thousands of years before the birth of Jesus. Explain it if you can.
      Sorry, time's up.
      According to Mormon doctrine (and I have no problem with extra-Biblical doctrine, as long as it's true) Jesus visited the Spirit World during the three days his body was in the tomb (before his resurrection). There, he preached to those who never had a chance to accept the gospel on earth, but would have accepted it if they could.
      What about all those millions who lived before the time of Jesus? Would you condemn them to perdition, just because they were unlucky enough to live before Jesus' time? God is fair, and the gift of salvation is available to all, but "strait is the gate, and narrow the way".
      There's just no way around that requirement for baptism, that I see. Jesus did not say, "Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit, he just might possibly not enter the kingdom of heaven, perhaps."

      October 10, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Erin

      "I also married other dead women to take as my spiritual wives. " WHAT??? That is so completely absurd I don't know where in the world you could have come up with that from. I've been through the temple and done a lot of work for the dead and I know that living people do not marry dead people to have as their spiritual wives. Unless it was already their wife and they are simply being sealed to them after their wife passed away.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  20. clwyd

    What about the Strang Movement and his Have 50 some wives and later killed by the lumber men in Lake Superior when he put on a crown and a purple robe?????

    October 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.