Fascinating Facts About Mormons That Set Them Apart
Joseph Smith, a simple farmer in New York, initiated the religion called Mormonism. The religion of the latter-day saint movement was founded after the farmer received a revelation from God after praying for which sect of Christianity was the right one.
Members of the latter-day saints can be found in every aspect of society – from business, education, entertainment, political parties, etc. However, one thing people associate with the Mormon church is its rules.
The Book of Mormon
The word Mormon originates from the Book of Mormon, a religious text of the Latter-Day Saint Movement published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith. Most Latter-day Saints believe the book to be a record of real-life history.
The book has doctrinal discussions on the nature of Christian atonement, baptism, and priesthood authority and was written to testify that Jesus is Christ. The book also criticizes and condemns Western society, immorality, social injustice, etc.
Scripture Written on Gold Plates
The Book of Mormon is a holy scripture comparable to the Bible. The Latter-Day Saints denominations view it as a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It was originally written in a reformed Egyptian language and engraved on gold plates. According to Joseph, an angel revealed the location of the plates and instructed the book to be translated into English.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The religion of Mormonism began when the founder Joseph Smith, a farmer from New York, received a revelation from God. The divine revelation came after Smith had prayed fervently to God, asking which doctrine of Christianity was the right one.
During that time, Smith was visited by an Angel called “Moroni,” who revealed that none of the sects of Christianity was the right one. Following that revelation, Smith began his religion called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Per the founding prophet — Joseph, Mormons are a religious group that embraces Christianity. Their doctrines and beliefs are centered on Jesus Christ and God’s plans for his children.
Smith stated, “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that he died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
Relationship with Judaism
While Mormons categorize themselves within Christianity and claim not to be part of Judaism, history shows they have soft spots for Jews. For one, their beliefs have certain elements of Jewish culture, and this is expressed by Judaism references in the Mormon liturgy.
For example, the church teaches that the Jewish people are God’s chosen people. Their doctrine also believes that God is punishing the Jewish people for their role in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
The larger denomination of the church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the LDS. LDS has its headquarters in Salt Lake City, with over 16 million worshippers worldwide.
The second largest denomination of the church is the Community of Christ, an American-based international church centered in Independence, Missouri. With over 250,000 recorded worshippers worldwide, the church considers itself as non-creedal and accepting of people with a diverse range of beliefs.
Mormon Famous Rules
Although Mormons embrace vast Christian beliefs, they have their values, rules, and practices, some of which have been considered bizarre. Mormons refer to their rules as “commandments.” The church’s beliefs and traditions have cultural impacts that distinguish their religion and members from others.
Their doctrines emphasize the rules of tithing, chastity, clothing rituals, ministrations, lifestyle, family home evenings, alcohol, etc. They also emphasize moral standards like honesty, fidelity within marriage, and integrity, amongst others.
For other religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc., their vestments are usually out for public displays. For example, the priest’s cassock, the nun’s habit, or the Muslim’s skull cap. On the other hand, Mormons practice clothing rituals, including wearing special undergarments that have spiritual significance.
These undergarments are known as “Temple Garments” and are worn by adult members who make sacred promises of fidelity to God’s commandments and are seen only in places of worship.
Mormon Rules on Caffeinated Beverages
As part of the Mormon doctrine, hot drinks like coffee or tea are prohibited. The same rule applies to alcohol, tobacco, and drinks warmer than room temperature. The church believes that the body is a gift from God and must be treated with respect.
Latter-Day Saints have found other ways to quench their needs by drinking chilled coffee, Pepsi, and other concoction recipes handed down by their ancestors, while others consume them sparingly.
No Abortion and Birth Control
The Latter-Day Saints strongly oppose elective abortion for personal or social convenience. However, it may be an option in the extreme case of rape, incest, danger to the health or life of the mother, or if the fetus has severe defects that could hinder survival at birth.
On birth control, the church believes children are a blessing from God, so couples are encouraged to have as many children as possible. Elective abortion as a method of birth control is against God’s commandments.
Passing the Chastity Test
Like other faiths, Mormons have strict rules regarding chastity. The church believes that sexual relations are only permitted with one’s spouse. A Mormon who engages in sexual activities outside marriage can lose their membership in the church.
A Mormon girl is expected to be pure and chaste to get a suitable partner. Parents are required to teach chastity and modesty in dress, language, and behavior to their children from a young age.
Eat Meat Sparingly
Mormons believe what they eat affects their spiritual well-being, and so when it comes to meat, they prefer vegetarian foods. They are told to consume fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. While it is acceptable to eat meat, they must only eat it sparingly.
The church’s doctrines suggest reserving meat consumption during a famine, winter, or cold weather. This restriction is to help them stay healthy and avoid what can harm their bodies.
Missionaries’ Restrictions on Seeing Family
Each year, Mormon missionaries go out to win converts to their faith. While on their mission, Mormon missionaries are restricted from personal visits from family and friends. They are only encouraged to contact family members on special occasions like Mother’s Day, Christmas, parents’ birthdays, or other significant holidays.
However, the communication is limited to a maximum of 30 mins. They must be with their missionary companion for 24 hours, and any activities apart from work are considered a distraction to their service.
Lying for the Lord
One weird belief the Mormons have is that it is okay to lie. Many insist that their church leaders believe that lying and deceiving for a good cause or the sake of the church is not a sin.
While Mormons share the Ten Commandments with Christians, Muslims, and Jews, the commandment of giving false testimony does not hold ground in this religion. Throughout the church’s history, it has been okay to lie to outsiders as long as it protects the church.
All Mormon men aged 19 to 26 are eligible to go on a missionary journey and devote two years of their lives, while women devote 18 months to this sacred service. When pitching to a potential convert, the missionaries stress their belief in their founder Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
Missionaries view non-Mormon Christian denominations as misdirected from the teaching of God and will work to convert them to the Mormon religion.
Mormon Missionaries Cannot Swim
Missionaries are discouraged from swimming and engaging in other activities like horseback riding, rock climbing, etc., during their mission. The rule serves as a general safety requirement to prevent any water-related accidents.
This idea of no swimming is often misunderstood to apply to the entire Mormon population, but it’s untrue. However, non-missionaries going swimming must wear swimsuits with sufficient coverage that uphold the church’s general standard of modesty.
Guide on Kissing
When it comes to kissing, hugging, or holding hands, Mormons have their set guidelines to follow if participants are not married. The church allows Mormon teenagers and kids to kiss as long as it is void of passion. It mustn’t last long, and there should be no tongue involved.
In terms of hugging and holding hands, it should be kept innocent. There must be no excess touching that could invoke passion between the participants.
Divorce is Tolerated
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints considers divorce a necessary evil, and they believe in annulment. Mormons have two weddings — a normal wedding with merriment and a temple wedding.
Mormons believe once their marriage is sealed in the temple, no ties can break the marriage – even in the afterlife. This means when a person wants to divorce and re-marry, they will have two sealed marriages, which invariably leads to polygamy.
Don’t Criticize Leadership
Mormons are expected to keep quiet and not criticize Mormon church leaders. The Strengthening Church Members Committee is set up to keep a record of what members say against the church. If a member of the church is caught criticizing, the committee informs the Bishop, who in turn confronts the person.
This bizarre rule sets leaders above reproach and gives them a sense of being incapable of error. Unfortunately, no one is above mistakes and reproach.
You Can’t Play Full-Court Basketball
LDS missionaries can only play half-court basketball and not full-court. This weird rule is set to avoid any basketball mishaps. The missionaries are put on health insurance by the church and are likely to get injured when playing full-court basketball.
This way, the church can keep the cost down and keep the missionaries safe from injuries. Additionally, they are prohibited from playing in tournaments, leagues, or on regulated basketball courts.
Dating as a Mormon
Dating helps youth to develop friendships and find their life partner. According to the church, you are old enough to date once you are sixteen. Although when dating, there are a few rules to abide by.
Dates must have a chaperone or date in groups; the church forbids sex before marriage; the church encourages only to date people with high moral standards and to avoid regular dates with the same person.
Stock Up Your Pantry
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe strongly in self-reliance. They are encouraged to prepare for natural disasters or times of financial hardship. Their strategic approach is to have emergency shelters ready and stock up their pantry with three months’ food supplies.
They also encourage storing water in breakage-resistant containers and having financial reserves no matter the amount. That way, families are fed and cared for if hard times come.
Tattoos? Not a Chance
While body art can be a source of expressing oneself and personality, it is frowned upon in the LDS. The Mormons’ unwavering value of modesty and cleanliness discourages tattooing and piercing their bodies.
Again, they believe that the human body is a gift from God, and must be respected and cared for. While the church emphasizes this rule, many people with visual body arts have remained active members of the church.
Cancel Leisure Sundays
For most religions, Sunday is a historic sabbath day, and worshippers believe in keeping the Sabbath day holy. For others, it means a rest day to do other leisure activities. However, it’s not the case for the Latter-Day Saints families.
Members cannot go anywhere, watch television, engage in recreational activities, or shop on Sundays. For them, the sabbath is a day of spiritual rejuvenation and must be spent praying and attending church meetings.
Mormonism, the Fast-Growing Religion
In truth, the rules and beliefs of the Mormons do not stop the church from growing. Mormonism currently has over 16 million members worldwide and still growing. The church boasts of adding almost 1 million members every three years.
Experts say that if the trend continues this way, there could be 265 million Mormons worldwide by 2080.