Sunday Discussion Stuff

Sunday Discussion: The Mormon Church


As you know; Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee for president.  And people also know he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I decided for this Sunday Discussion to dive into the Mormon debate.  The LDS Church considers itself to be a restoration of the church founded by Jesus Christ.  The church uses the Holy Bible and uses The Book of Mormon for its teachings.  I found this cartoon online explaining many things about the Mormon faith and how the church got its roots.

From http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/mormon.htm

The Mormon Church believes The Holy Ghost is a person, a spirit, the third member of the Godhead.  Mormonism teaches that there are three degrees of glory:  Celestial (for good Mormons able to cease sinning in this lifetime — see endnote #6 below), Terrestrial (for good people who do not comply with all the teachings of Mormonism), and Telestial (for those who have lived unclean earthly lives).   Mormonism teaches that there is a hell, but only for the “sons of perdition,” a very small number of souls that cannot be redeemed. According to Mormonism, then, the vast majority of mankind will be “saved,” though it should be obvious that no one will make it to the Celestial Kingdom.

Mormonism teaches that the canon of Scripture was not closed when the Bible was completed. They have three sources in addition to the Bible, all of which they believe contain God’s revelations — the Book of Mormon (changed in more than 4,000 places since 1830), Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  And In Mormon theology, it is not quite clear how the first humans, Adam and Eve, came to live on this earth and received bodies, but somehow they did and began the process of human procreation, whereby bodies are produced for their spirit children.

Mormonism teaches polytheism, believing that the universe is inhabited by many gods who produce spirit children.   In Mormon theology, the god of our planet is believed to have once been a man on another planet, who through self-effort and the help of his own father-god, was appointed by a council of gods in the heavens to his high position as the god of planet Earth, and now has a physical, resurrected, glorified body.  Mormonism teaches that through the atonement of Christ and by their good deeds and “holy” living, men can one day become gods, and with their multiplicity of “goddess wives,” populate their own planets.  Plus Mormon theology teaches that the atonement of Christ was essential to our salvation and eternal life with God, but that it is not sufficient.

Mormons have daily routines that they follow.  For example they follow The Word of Wisdom.  Which prohibits the drinking of alcohol, coffee and tea, and the use of tobacco. It also implies that they don’t use illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs.  Mormons are also encouraged to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are in season, plenty of grains and a moderate amount of meat.  Plus getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and avoiding extreme diets.  Mormons also observe The Law of Fast.  Once a month, God asks them to fast, or forego food and water for two meals.  They are encouraged to make a fast offering on these days, which is a monetary donation (at least equal to the value of the two meals) that goes to help the poor who need food or shelter.

The LDS Church is also very business savvy.  Members are encouraged to tithe ten percent of their income to the church.  A recent investigation by Reuters in collaboration with sociology professor Cragun estimates that the LDS Church is likely worth $40 billion today and collects up to $8 billion in tithing each year.  The church has assets in companies and land around the country.  And many companies have been run at one time by a Mormon.  The church also encourages its members to volunteer in their communities and to forgo government assistance.  The LDS Church has something called “Welfare Square”; which has ways to help the less fortunate.  Welfare Square is a modern facility composed of a towering, 178-foot-tall grain elevator, a large storehouse, a bakery, a cannery, a milk-processing operation, a thrift store, and an employment center—all designed to help people help themselves.

I went to a service one Sunday morning and I really did not notice anything different from your normal Sunday morning service at any church.  During the service several songs are done, and you hear a sermon.  But there are a few differences you will notice if you go.  One; a tithe plate is not passed around at the service.  You instead send your tithe in the mail to Salt Lake City.  Two; during the communion you get bread and instead of wine you get water.  And three; there is no pastor at each church.  Instead leaders and members from the LDS Church speak at the service.  The LDS Church in the Anniston/Oxford area is located of Lenlock Lane in the Saks area.  The outside of the building looks great!

This church has around 750 members and the people here wish there were more members down here.  There are many Mormon churches like this around the world.  But the most sacred building for the Mormon’s is the temple.  I found this video from CNN where cameras were allowed inside the temple before it was dedicated.  The pictures of the rooms inside the temple look very expensive.

The Mormon Temple is very sacred.  Weddings are taken place at a temple in a sealing ceremony.  Only Mormons who are close family members or friends are allowed inside.  If you are a family member and you do not have a temple recommend card you are not allowed inside!  And this description of a temple ritual is interesting.

 “The ritual began in a small cubicle where we had to strip completely. We then put on ‘the shield,’ a poncho with a hole for the head, but open on the sides (similar to a hospital gown). We went through a series of ‘washings and anointings,’ as various parts of our bodies were touched by elderly temple workers who mumbled appropriate incantations over them. Our Mormon underwear, ‘the garments,’ are said to have powers to protect us from ‘the evil one.’ It had occult markings, which were so ‘sacred’ that we were instructed to burn them when the garments wore out.”

I am sure you have heard about the LDS Church and polygamy.  It was true back then that the LDS Church did practice polygamy.  But the practice has been banned inside the church.  The Fundamentalist Latter Days Saints which split off from the LDS Church still practices polygamy today.

You might know about what people in the Mormon Church wear under their clothes.  Mormons call these “temple garments,” but some people know these as “magic underwear.”  After they have taken part in the Endowment ceremony;  adherents of the Latter Day Saint movement have to wear these and they are required to enter a temple.  According to the LDS Church, the temple garments serve a number of purposes.  First, the garment provides the member “a constant reminder” of the covenants they made in the temple.  Second, the garment “when properly worn…provides protection against temptation and evil”.  Wearing the garment is also “an outward expression of an inward commitment” to follow Jesus Christ.  General authority Carlos E. Asay adds that the garment “strengthens the wearer to resist temptation, fend off evil influences, and stand firmly for the right.”  Here is a picture of what the temple garments looks like.

After reading up on the LDS Church; I found one possible problem that the church is facing.  A declining membership.  This video from Elder Joseph on YouTube shows a TV news story about the church losing members.  And Elder Joseph explained in his opinion about what is causing the church to lose members.

No surprises there. I once investigated and attended the church for two years. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the church leadership manipulates and deceives its membership and the public alike with its teaching manuals. I have a lot of their manuals and they are whitewashed with a deceptive history of events and omission of facts which would change dramatically how we perceive those early LDS leaders. For instance Joseph Smith was always portrayed as some ideal faithful wonderful monogamous husband and family man? The real Joseph Smith was more like a husband from hell in my opinion and not like I was taught in church.

Yes, many of the ordinary members are just sincere people and I feel sorry for them and feel they deserve better than they are getting. A minority of them are dangerous deluded religious Idiots though.

So after all of this; should this affect your vote for Mitt Romney in November?  You should vote for Mitt Romney based on his policies and not on his church.  But you do have to wonder; could Mitt Romney lose in November because of his church?

6 replies »

  1. Hi there! As a mormon, I;ve come to realize that people have a very strange idea of what we believe. You do have a lot of correct information, but some of it just isn’t true. The cartoon, for example, is really terrible, and was made by someone (i forget the name) who really hated the church. Also, I’ve never heard about polytheism before at any worships, or missionary lesson. Other than that, this article is perfect! I’m really happy you wrote this, it sums it up very well!

    Like

  2. Thanks for commenting! I really did not find anything that some people describe as a cult inside the Mormon religion. I thought this was a good time to write the article since Mitt Romney’s faith is being talked about by people.

    Like

  3. Hey Nathan! Each congregation is led by a Bishop (similar to a pastor or minister). He and his counselors oversee the needs of the ward (congregation) as well as directs the local programs and budget. Here’s an infographic describing how the volunteer leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Saints is organized. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormon-lay-ministry

    Here are a few other helpful links –
    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-101
    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/style-guide
    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-statistics/

    Like

  4. Thanks for the links. I wanted to make this post so people are not afraid and scared of the Mormon faith. Every faith has something different but they all believe in the same thing; believe in God and Jesus Christ.

    Like

  5. Haha, yeah, never understood that either. It seems having the option or even a slight possibility that a Mormon will be in office scares people. (By the way, I looked into it, and we do not believe in polytheism. We believe in one God. People get confused, because we believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are all separate beings, rather than one.)

    Like

  6. Having a Mormon in office should scare no one! I only put in the polytheism part because many people outside the Mormon faith still has the belief that Mormons practice polytheism which is not true! Even some pastors where I live still believe that! Very sad!

    Like