Election season is upon us, and with the politickin’ in full swing, you’re liable to hear some references to Mormonism in the news, which might lead you to some questions. This website is dedicated to answering your questions about Mormons, in the simplest and most straight-forward way possible. Read, search, and feel free to ask questions of your own! But first…
You’ve heard of Mormon’s, you’ve probably known a few, but here are a few things you might not already know about us. Call it Mormonism 101, or Mormonism in a nutshell, from my personal perspective:
1. Can you give a quick summary of your beliefs?
You bet. In fact, from the beginning people have had such a curiosity about Mormonism that early on we espoused thirteen “Articles of Faith” that briefly describe our beliefs. You can read them online here. I will post the first one, to get you started:
We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
You will find by reading this declaration of faith that we are a Christian people, determined to do our best in following the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.
2. Why are you called “Mormons?”
This is a good one. “Mormons” was in fact a nickname that early detractors gave to members of our faith (taken from the name of an ancient prophet, Mormon, who lived several hundred years after the death of Christ.) The name stuck, and so today we are known by it commonly. Even so, the actual name of our church is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” We abbreviate that “LDS,” which many people have heard as well.
While the full name of our church is very significant to us (as it denotes the fact that we are the Church of Christ, established by His authority but in these Last Days), we accept the simpler and shorter nicknames as well!
3. Are you a Christian church?
Yes. We follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the New Testament. We believe that Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected on the third day. We pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and to no one else. We strive to pattern our lives after Jesus Christ. We are encouraged to read from the Bible daily.
4. Does your church get involved in politics?
The church itself stays disconnected from political party affiliations, and prohibits voting advice from the pulpit. Here is an official statement from the church on our political position:
Principles compatible with the gospel are found in the platforms of all major political parties. While the Church does not endorse political candidates, platforms, or parties, members are urged to be full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs.
Some individual members of our faith can be highly political. Harry Reid, Democratic senate majority leader, is Mormon. Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate, is also Mormon. In fact, you’ll find politically active Mormons throughout our church’s history. You’ll also find members of our faith that have little interest in politics.
5. What is your culture like?
With over 14 million members around the world, our culture is a global one. In the US, we celebrate Christmas, Easter, and all the other major holidays. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant events. Mormons in other countries celebrate their local and regional holidays, and take part in their own culture. Mormonism is not a separate “culture” on its own, but a faith that fits into any wholesome lifestyle.
6. I heard you don’t drink coffee, tea, alcohol, or smoke cigarettes. What is that about?
Interestingly, the advice to not drink coffee, tea, alcohol, or smoke, was given in the mid-1800’s, at a time when society did not realize the health risks associated with these substances. Cigarettes only recently became recognized as harmful (in the 1960’s). The verdict, at least as far as society is concerned, is still out on coffee and the tea plant (not to be confused with “herbal tea” which is actually not “tea” at all.) Yet Mormons have been avoiding all of these for more than a hundred years.
We call it “The Word of Wisdom,” and you can read more about it here. What used to be uniquely Mormon spiritual revelation is now considered science. Not only does it recommend the avoidance of smoking and drinking, it also recommends eating grains, fruits, vegetables; all recommendations that dietitians today understand to be entirely beneficial. By following this “word of wisdom,” we believe that we can be more in-tune with God, and have a healthier and happier life.
7. What is the Mormon view on marriage?
We believe that Marriage is ordained of God, and not a societal establishment or invention. Here is a quote from the Church’s official website on the subject:
Family relationships can last forever—not just for this life.
Just as some of life’s sweetest joys can come through family associations, the loss of a beloved family member can be a source of our deepest sorrows.
Jesus Christ gave power to His disciples to seal families together forever when He said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
Death does not need to be the end of our relationships with cherished loved ones. The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that the “same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there [in eternity], only it will be coupled with eternal glory” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:2).
Family members who accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ and follow His example can be together forever through sacred ordinances performed in God’s holy temples. These ordinances seal a husband and wife together for all eternity and children to their parents as an eternal family. (See: “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”)
You may have more questions than I’ve posted above. Please feel free to ask me! If you email me from this website’s question page, it will go directly to my inbox and won’t get posted on this website. I can answer your question personally, and without posting it here, so ask away!