Why is this “cult” thing all over the news?

A small bit of perspective

When “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” was formed in April of 1830,  we were far removed from the “information age.” There was little understanding about our church, and many fears and misconceptions. We had our share of “persecution,” which was largely the result of misunderstanding concerning our beliefs. One misunderstanding was that we were not Christians, but a “cult.” Luckily, those misunderstandings are all but evaporated in today’s information and fact-driven world.

Still, even with the facts of our faith readily available for all, and despite our own Christian proclamations, some individuals continue to drag out the century-old insult of “cult” and “un-Christian.”  When called to answer on these insults, the offenders generally shy away or hide behind technical definitions of their speech, rather than address the facts of our faith directly.

We as a Church adopt the following approach: let people look at the facts for themselves, and decide for themselves whether we are followers of Christ, a cult, or anything else. Like many Christians, we make every effort to follow Christ’s teachings. Those efforts, along with any sort of investigation into our teachings and beliefs, speak for themselves.

Wait, “Church of Jesus Christ…” I thought you were “The Mormons?”

“Mormons” is a nickname that was first used pejoratively, then stuck as a common reference to members of our faith. Today, it’s how people know us, and no one that I know is offended by the nickname. However, the full and official name of our church is, and always has been, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” It’s a mouthful, so it’s no wonder people welcome the shorter alternative!

When people start to question our belief in Christ, it helps to point out that the full name of our church, the one that “LDS” actually stands for, is first and foremost the Church of Jesus Christ.

So why the media uproar?

If you’re wondering why the media is up in arms about the recent “cult” insult, you need look no further than the elections forthcoming in 2012. With a “Mormon” potentially on the ballot, the question of religion comes in to play, especially with a large base of Christians in our country as possible voters. Each candidate wants to get their share of the action, and often it comes at the expense of the other candidate’s personal beliefs.

Still, it is important to remember that “Mormons” have a long history of being involved with civil matters in the USA and elsewhere. In some sense, we feel it our duty to be involved personally with the countries in which we live. We are encouraged to be active participants, but never told how to vote, think or act. This is evidenced very clearly by a variety of different Mormon politicians and leaders over time. You can learn about a few of them on this website that I found.

Mormons: Christians, Politicians…. People.

Regardless of the hype, the reality of all this is that Mormons are just average folks: Christians, Politicians, Mechanics, Sportsmen, Inventors, Teachers, Farmers, Police… People. We, like any other group of people, have our share of members in all walks of life. But in an election year, you can bet your lunch that since people don’t necessarily know much about us, any Mormon candidate will have to introduce the public to our Church, and it won’t be made easy by the competition.

More questions?

If you have more questions about Mormonism, please feel free to ask them here!

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Hi, I’m Joe, and I’m a Mormon

For all those in Phoenix AZ, my hometown

If you live in Phoenix Arizona, you may have noticed something interesting starting October 3rd. On TV, billboards, and generally everywhere you look, ads about Mormonism are taking over. Don’t adjust your dial, it’s just our church’s way of getting the message out and letting people know who we are.

So, what is this ad campaign all about?

If you’ve seen any of the ads, it is immediately evident that the Mormon Ads are about showing people that Mormon people are just like everyone else. We do a variety of things, and live a variety of lives. In essence, we’re just like you. Fair enough, many people don’t know what Mormon’s are all about – this gives us a chance to set the record straight. In case you’re curious, I myself have a profile on the church website that is being advertised (all members of our church are encouraged to make a profile). You can view my profile here:

I’m Joe, and I’m a Mormon

Ok, Mormon’s are normal people. But what do you believe?

So, with this ad campaign to show you just how normal a Mormon really is, the question remains: what makes Mormon’s different? What do you believe that makes you Mormon vs. some other religion? Let me present my own version of Mormonism 101:

  1. We believe in God, Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. We believe they are three separate and distinct individual beings, that they are perfect, and that they love us.
  2. We believe that we lived with God, our spirit Father, before this life. We believe that we have come here to be tested, to see if we will be faithful, and that after this life we will return to Him.
  3. We believe that everyone will be judged for their own lives, and that we will be judged based on our own personal knowledge and opportunities. Everyone will have an opportunity, in this life or the next, to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accept it if they choose to.
  4. We believe that the power and authority that existed in the Bible, namely the Priesthood, was restored to the earth in our time. We believe that through this authority, the power of God is manifest on the earth.
  5. We believe that through the authority of the Priesthood, we can be baptized just as Christ was (he also went to one with the proper authority, John) and be cleansed of our sins.
  6. We believe that through the authority of the Priesthood, Christ leads His church today through revelation, just as He did in biblical times.
  7. We believe the Bible to be the word of God; we also believe the Book of Mormon (a translated ancient text covering about 1000 years of religious history, starting in 600BC) to be the word of God.
  8. We believe that all people can know the truth of all things, through the Spirit of God. We won’t ever ask you to take our word for anything; we’ll only ask you to ask God in prayer.
What will I find on Mormon.org, where these ads are sending me?
One thing you’ll find is an amazing collection of videos showcasing some Mormon people from around the world. These videos truly cover a wide range of people, and are extremely interesting to watch. If you’ve ever wondered “what’s a mormon like?” then you’ll want to watch these short video clips online.
Another thing you’ll find are member profiles. People like me who have gone online, filled in some info and answered some questions that folks might have about Mormonism. You’ll get my own views and experiences on things, and you’ll be able to search for profiles of people more like you, in your area, or that might have things in common with you. You’ll find a wealth of insights into how a Mormon thinks and feels.
If  you’ve ever been curious about the Mormon church, now is the time to find out more! Visit Mormon.org
As always, if you have any questions you’d like to ask, feel free to ask them here. Please do note though, that you can also do a live chat on Mormon.org and ask questions there as well! If there’s one thing that Mormon’s don’t mind doing, it’s answering questions!