The Life of Bon: The 411 on the Mormons

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The 411 on the Mormons



There's a lot of stuff out there about Mormons.  Quite frankly, there's a lot of weird stuff.  I have read some of the craziest, wildest stuff that Mormons do and it has come as quite a shock to me, being that I've been Mormon my whole life and never remember half the stuff the world says we do.  I wrote this post last July about some common Mormon misconceptions. But I feel like that post was very spotty, jumping from subject to subject and not covering any one thing very clearly.  So today I want to give you in its purest and simplest form what Mormons believe. My goal is to simplify it completely so that it's easy enough for a child to understand.

I write this with some hesitancy.  Mormons have a history of persecution, like any minority group, I suppose. It is scary and vulnerable to put things out on the world wide web that are sacred and special to me.  I know some people don't like to talk religion on blogs, but I believe strongly in education, awareness, and an open mind.  It is with that attitude that I hope you will read this post.

Onward!

CHRIST'S CHURCH AND APOSTASY.  Mormons believe that when Christ was on the Earth he established a church with his power and authority.  After He and His apostles died, no one was left with Christ's authority to run that church.  There were a lot of great people trying to follow Christ and live his teachings the best they could, but Christ's authority to have the church wasn't any longer on the Earth.  This period of time is known as apostasy.

JOSEPH SMITH.  Mormons believe that in 1820 Jesus Christ brought the authority to have his church back.  He appeared with God and gave the power and authority to have his church to Joseph Smith.  Mormons don't worship Joseph Smith, but we see him as a prophet and a tool used by God to bring Christ's original church back to the Earth.

PROPHETS AND APOSTLES.  Mormons believe that this power and authority that was given to Joseph Smith was transferred down prophet to prophet until today.  Thomas S. Monson is the current prophet and he holds that power and authority to direct God's church.  We believe in having the same organization that existed when Christ lived- that's why we have one prophet and twelve apostles.

BOOK OF MORMON.  Mormons believe that when Christ lived there were people living in the Americas.  They were inspired by God and wrote down many great truths. They buried all their records and when Joseph Smith was prophet, he was led by God to these records. These records are known as the Book of Mormon.  We study this book just like we study the Bible and we believe that both books are the word of God.

NICKNAMES.  Mormon is a nickname for church members Mormon was the last man to write in the Book of Mormon, so he named it after himself. (Well, wouldn't you?!) People started calling us Mormons because they know we read the Book of Mormon.  The official church name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and we sometimes call ourselves LDS for short, but let's face it, "Mormon" is the easiest of all to remember.

REVELATION.  Just like God talked to Noah and Moses, God talks to our prophets today.  We don't believe that God will only help out his children who lived 10,000 years ago. Some may hear that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ  and immediately question it because it seems too far fetched, but accept with no problem that Moses saw God on a mountain.  The only difference is how long ago these two men lived.  If God will talk to His children in one time period, why not talk to them in all time periods?  The belief that God leads and directs this church is a source of great strength and comfort to me.

TEMPLES.  Temples are different from regular churches.  In temples we make sacred promises to God and are given promised blessings in return.  We believe that God holds us accountable for these promises, so we only make these promises when we fully understand all the doctrine in the gospel and are living accordingly.  One of the most important temple promises that God makes to us is that we can be with our family forever- even after this life.  Since my dad's death, this is one of the doctrines of the church I have clung most desperately to.

ALCOHOL, COFFEE, DRUGS, ETC.  Through modern day revelation, we believe that God has asked us to not use any of these substances because they are not healthy.   We say, "Alright. Fair enough."

SEX.  We have sex.  Just not before marriage, and not with anyone besides our spouse.  We believe that this brings happiness and confidence along with strong, concrete families that can provide the kind of support and love that children need.

MISSIONARIES.  We believe that we have a message that makes us supremely happy.  It brings us tremendous comfort and joy and peace and gives our lives a great sense of purpose.  That's why sometimes Mormons can be a bit over anxious about talking about their religion.  I know some people have had bad experiences with Mormons trying to "push" their religion on them, but the fact is we've just found a source of great happiness and want others to have it.  If you don't want it, that's fine too, and we respect that.  Young men and women can choose to dedicate two years when they are 18-25 years old to sharing about the church full time.  They usually go far from home and don't see family during that time.

ATONEMENT, PRAYER, AND OTHER CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES.  We believe we can talk to God and receive inspiration from Him, just like other Christian religions.  We believe that Christ paid for our sins and we are forever indebted to Him.  We play in repentance, overcoming weaknesses, and becoming better people. We believe in love and charity and bettering the world around us.  We believe that God loves us more than we can ever understand and that we have incredible potential to be happy in and after this life.

See now, that ain't so weird, is it?

P.S.  If you want to know more, this is the Mormon official website.  Of course, I can have a free Book of Mormon or a strapping pair of young missionaries at your door in no time.  Just say the word, my friends.

P.S.  If you're Mormon (or even if you're not!) I would love you to share this post in any way possible.  Knowledge is power!
  

111 comments:

  1. I'm trying so hard to refrain from asking you how magnets work....though I WOULD like to know how that whole meme started to begin with.

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    1. The whole meme thing? I don't even know what that's referring to. Please elaborate!

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    2. Hi! Here you go, this will start you on your journey into the magnets meme:

      http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/fucking-magnets-how-do-they-work

      And because I think you might appreciate it, you should check out the origin of the term meme, and subsequently memetics as a whole, because it's truly fascinating:

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

      Hope the day finds you well 8^)

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  2. Thanks for this post! I've seen bits here and there but this was a great summary.

    As a Recovering Catholic I don't dig institutions of religion, but I have faith and I think the way you speak of yours is beautiful. If I didn't have my own very strong thoughts about and opposition to the whole organizational aspect, I would be inclined to consider such a Church.

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    1. Thank you, I take it as a high compliment that you would say that.

      "I don't dig institutions of religion." That's a nice way of saying that :)

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  3. Love this post Bonnie. Short and sweet. Covers it all without being too wordy or too confusing. Clears up a lot of misconceptions. It's so true that knowledge is power and lots of times I love to read blogs from other faiths because it's nice to a). learn and b). find areas of common ground

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  4. This is a great post! I am a Roman Catholic but my mom's side of the family are all LDS. I have always had questions but I didn't want to insult anyone by asking the wrong thing. Thanks for all the information :)

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    1. You betcha! I totally understand about not wanting to insult. It's hard to know exactly what/how to ask.

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  5. I love this! You did a great job breaking it all down and making it easy to understand.

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  6. Beau, my atheist boyfriend who was raised in a Catholic household, wants me to ask you some questions.

    "I'm a bit confused. Matthew 16:19 says Peter was given the keys to the kingdom by Jesus. Why is it that Joseph Smith is able to pass on his authority, but Peter was not? Is there somethng in the Book of Mormon that explains why the succession of the early Church isn't valid?"

    And I have some thoughts/questions too, but they require me to look up some scripture first since I don't have the benefit of a Catholic high school education.

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    1. Beau, your atheist boyfriend, is so smart! Peter not being able to pass on the doctrine and the doctrine being corrupted was largely a result of the difficulty of the times. With 12 apostles all preaching in different areas to different people, the doctrine got misinterpreted and misconstrued. Peter was given that authority as were the other apostles, but after their deaths, unauthorized changes were made in Church organization and priesthood ordinances (like baptism) and that authority was taken from the Earth.

      Email me if you have more questions about it!

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    2. Hi Belle, I'm not Bonnie (obviously) but I'm Mormon and I thought I would elaborate a little about your question about why Joseph Smith is able to pass on his authority.
      Basically, the answer to that is that Joseph Smith was visited by Heavenly Father and Christ (another thing about us, we believe int he God Head: that God, Jesus Christ & The Holy Spirit are separate, not one)and Joseph Smith was chosen to establish Christ's Church and restore the priesthood, or the authority to act in God's name
      It can be nicely summed up by reading this page: http://mormon.org/joseph-smith

      Sorry didn't mean to butt in on this but just wanted to share.

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    3. Thanks Bonnie & Jonna for your replies. My own religious beliefs don't really fit in with any one denomination--more like a general feminist Protestantism. But I think it's important to learn about different faiths and discover common ground. We're all worshipping the same Greater Being, just in different ways.

      http://www.findingmyvirginity.com/2013/03/confessions-of-christian-feminist.html

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  7. I, like many others, am not Mormon but so many bloggers are and I have questioned so many things but felt like I would be insulting to ask. I am so glad you spelled out many of these things for me. For some reason I though the Mormon viewers were much further from my views (I don't necessarily identify with a denomination currently) but they are very, very similar. I love learning about other faiths and branches of Christianity so I am so glad you had the heart and courage to share all of this!

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  8. Thank you for sharing your views. It is always interesting to learn how other religions work. So from a Jew to you the Mormon thanks!!!

    Andrea
    alookatlifefromadifferentangle.blogspot.com

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    1. Now you need to share more about Judaism! My knowledge is seriously lacking and I would love to know more!

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    2. Anything you want to know I will share. Here is some tid bits...we have CRAZY laws!!! Laws rank as just as important at faith. There are many different movements (groups) from Orthodox, Conservative, to Reform (thats me). We also go to temple. We are in year 5772 according to our calendar. We follow the Torah. There are 2 languages Yiddish and Hebrew. If you want to know anything else let me know.

      Andrea
      alookatlifefromadifferentangle.blogspot.com

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this!! Too many people are afraid to open up, and I completely understand why. I'm a little scared myself honestly. But I will most definitely be sharing this!!

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  10. Thanks for writing this! I've always been interested in the LDS church & its beliefs, but couldn't really understand it when I would go & look it up. Your explanation really helps! I've always loved the "forever family" concept. I wish more religions would adopt that.

    But I don't know how you survive without coffee :)

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    1. HA! I guess since I've never had it I don't know what I'm missing. A little diet coke in the morning never hurt anyone, though!

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  11. I love this!! You touched on everything and described it very well! Awesome job girl! I'm tweeting this! A+ work! (:

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  12. Great post! I was raised in the church but haven't attended in almost ten years. I've recently thought about going back. It makes me a little sad that my daughter will be 8 this year and doesn't even know what a baptism is.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that! I hope some day you find your way back.

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  13. My husband and I had a Mormon roommate, and I was always so intrigued by his faith, but too afraid to ask questions. I didn't want to offend him (or sound totally ignorant - sadly, we Catholics often tend to have tunnel vision when it comes to religion). You did an awesome job explaining and educating. Thank you so much for this post.

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    1. Don't worry, you're not the only one! I am always afraid to ask questions. It's totally normal.

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  14. love that its so straight forward. i have a lot of Mormon friends + even lived with a Mormon in college for a little while. such wonderful people! I do have a couple of questions, though. I, too, believe in abstinence before marriage and having one and only one partner... but this is something that is taught in the Bible, so what do you mean by saying it is a "modern day revelation"? Also, the "modern day revelation" about alcohol + coffee... do you think God was revealing to you to not do harmful things to your bodies and used these as examples? Because alcohol + coffee can be harmful, but so can diet coke, sugary candies, and french fries (you see where I'm going?). I guess my question is why these three specific things? Thanks for opening it up to questions :) I am really curious! XO, Caroline

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    1. As far as the abstinence before marriage... you are right. several other religions teach this so I don't know that I can claim it is revelation that we have been given. That is what has always been taught. As far as the alcohol and coffee, you could not be more dead on. There are so many things that are harmful to our bodies, and the whole revelation is much more than just "no coffee or alcohol". It includes exercise, eating healthy, sleeping well, taking care of our bodies, avoiding excessive use of things like french fries and diet coke. I bring up the coffee and alcohol because that it usually what people remember about Mormons or want to ask Mormons.

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    2. Exactly what I thought, thanks for the reply! Maybe the revelation was to show that staying with one person and keeping sex sacred for marriage is a key part in families staying together.. just a thought! Hope you have a great week!

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    3. We (us Mormon folk) believe that Families are the most important social unit on this earth and through eternity (that whole Families being together forever) and I think you are exactly right about your thought on the revelation of abstinence and being faithful to your spouse.
      :) I love all the discussion Bonnie's post has started!

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  15. Love this post! I'm a Mormon and will be sure to share this! Such a great simple explanantion. I'm always looking to try and explain things the best way possible and not confuse people more (:

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  16. Love this! I'm not mormon but I have lots of friends who are so it really annoys me that so many people are so judgmental without really understanding at all. I guess that is what pretty much all crazy judgements come from though...lack of understanding.
    xxoo
    Jordyn

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    1. I agree! It's always about a lack of understanding. I guess it's just confusing to me because I feel like our country has progressed so much with tolerance and understanding but then I sometimes see the exact same types of judgments and intolerance. I guess it's a long road.

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  17. Thank you for this! My best friend and I always talk about LDS women and want to know more. You guys are so profound in the blogging world it seems like! I have a question, or two, do Mormon women marry young? And is it a part of the LDS belief that a woman must stay healthy/beautiful for their husbands? I have heard these two things and figured I might as well go straight to the source! : )

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    1. Such a great question! A lot of LDS women do tend to get married young, but it is definitely not a commandment or to stay beautiful for their husbands. Most people get married young because the church has such a strong emphasis on families and so many have this desire to start their own family. And we wait for sex. Let's be honest, a lot of that plays in to the young ages of marriages. People can't wait forever, you know :)

      I was a couple months shy of 25 when I got married, but I wasn't the norm. Most girls get married in their early 20s.

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  18. Awesome Bonnie!!! I think this is great!!!

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  19. Very interesting and informative explanation. I have a question--especially in Utah, and I think in Texas, we hear about polygamy marriages. Is that part of the LDS history? Is it another religion? Is it still part of the Mormon religion? just curious... thanks for the info

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    1. Very common question. I'm sure many others were thinking the same thing so I'm glad you asked it. There was a brief period of time where Mormons practiced polygamy. This practice was abolished 122 years ago. Since then there are groups that have broken off from the mormon church who still practice polygamy (and from what I understand there are many in Texas), but these are not of the mainstream Mormon branch. No Mormons are practicing polygamy now.

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    2. I am a Mormon, as well as a Utah History teacher in Utah. That is a question my 7th graders always bring up (mainly being because most of them ARE Mormon and realize that the Church no longer accepts polygamy, nor is it legal anywhere in the U.S.) Bonnie is correct in saying that we abolished the practice in the 1890s, as it was required for Utah to do so to become a state. Wilford Woodruff was the prophet at the time. However, since the Mormon exodus of Nauvoo in 1847-48, there have been many groups who have branched off the Church. One main group is the Reorganized Latter-Day Saints (who are now called the Community of Christ and are centered in Missouri) and they (I don't think) practice polygamy. Another big one is the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints who are the ones that practice polygamy. Since it is illegal in all 50 states, they are legally married to their first wife and are technically/legally just co-habitating with the rest of their wives, although through their religion, they believe they are properly married to all. So the U.S. doesn't consider second/third/fourth,etc wives a real marriage. So, long story short, those who practice polygamy are branches that broke of the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

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  20. Bonnie,

    Love your blog (I too am an English teacher), but I have to say that the beliefs you outlined here are "weirder" than I had thought. I never knew that Mormons believed that the church didn't really exist between Christ and 1820. What about all the miracles? The way Christianity spread through the entire world and changed everything? No historian could deny that something very special happened with the apostles, or it would've died out with all the persecution it underwent. I just find it hard to believe that Mormons discount all of that and think that somebody came along 1800 years later and got it "right". Sounds fishy.

    For me, I was born a Protestant Christian, but grew weary of everyone "changing" the doctrine whenever someone knew came along who claimed he knew better than everyone else. My husband and I became Orthodox Christians in college, simply because we wanted to get back to the "original" church and the way everyone worshipped thousands of years ago.

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    1. It's not to say that the Christian church didn't exist, but that it wasn't authorized by God. Nobody is denying the power of Christianity, the miracles, how quickly it spread, etc. The spirit was still on the Earth and people could still be inspired by God. What we believe is that it didn't have the proper authority from God so that when there was a question of how to do something it was "men" making the decisions and not God. That's why you get, how you mentioned, so many people changing the doctrine because they claimed they knew more. Without the proper authority from God, men interpreted and changed and even corrupted doctrines. We believe God brought the truth in its fullness, uncorrputed, back to us in 1820.

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  21. Hi,

    I'm interested in what (if anything) you dislike about the practices of your faith. Ie wearing garments- known to some under the derogatory term "Mormon magic underwear"! Are there things you find restricting or struggle with? I know that you have addressed your views on homosexual relationships in light of what the church teaches which I really appreciate.

    Thanks!

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    1. HA! Love this question. I think many people are curious about "Mormon underwear." I wouldn't say I dislike practices in my faith, more that I dislike some aspects of the culture. The doctrine itself is pure. We wear garments after we have made promises in the temple and we believe that the garments serve as a reminder of what we've promised and an extra protector against sin, temptation, weakness, etc. Mostly it's just a way to constantly have a reminder of our promises.

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  22. I love reading your posts, and I appreciate how passionate you are about your faith. I saw an animated video about what Mormons believe when I was much younger, and I was wondering how much of it is true, or perhaps if there are some outdated beliefs in there. The examples that rise to mind are that all humans are "spirit children," literal children of God the Father (and I assume his wife?) who existed before Earth did, but we don't remember that existence. We were born onto Earth as humans. One day after death, those of us who are married in the temple and have a family, will be able to populate our own planet with our children. I also remember that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers in the video, and that they argued about how to "save" the humans from their sins.

    I am an evangelical Christian, and I don't want to start an argument at all with you or anyone else, but I'm just curious if those are true beliefs of the LDS church, and if so, are they found purely in LDS scripture or are there any verses in the Bible that speak to it as well?

    Again, I really appreciate how bold you are with your faith. Too many people (especially Christians) are scared to talk about religion in the United States for fear of offending someone, and I've seen that Muslims (the ones I've met IRL) and LDS (at least, those in the blogging realm) tend to be more open about it (which is what it should be - your religion ought to be the most important thing to you, since it affects both life now and what happens after death).

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    1. Oh wow! You're getting to the deep doctrine here, aren't you? We do believe that we are children of God- that He created our spirit and so he is our literal father in heaven. We believe our relationship with him should be like that of a father- trusting, merciful, loving, etc. and we believe He treats us like his children. Because we believe God created all, it would make sense that Jesus and Lucifer were "brothers" in the sense that we are all brothers because God created us all. And yes, we believe that we will be able to be with family after this death if we keep the promises we have made in the temple, show kindness, charity, love, etc. Great question!

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    2. I was wondering about this too! What about the whole getting-and-populating-your-own-planet thing?

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    3. So that is very deep doctrine that really isn't a part of the basic Mormon teachings, but prophets have taught that if we live righteously on this Earth there would be the possibility for us to progress so much after this life that we can reach the same level of God. Exactly what that entails, I don't know.

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  23. I'll be sharing your post! Because I'm Mormon... and I think I would even if I weren't Mormon.
    I just posted about Temples on Monday (since I'm going for my first time this Saturday) and I got some GREAT discussions from it - on Facebook, not on my blog.. which was what I was hoping for but whatever. Anyway, if you're interested in my LDS Temples 101 post please feel free to jump over there!
    http://southernfriedlove.blogspot.com/2013/04/lds-temples-101-or-around-about-guide.html

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  24. Thanks for writing and sharing this Bon! My husband and I are moving to Utah at the end of this month. We'll be staying there for at least 3 years for his job. So it's nice to know a little about the people and their culture. It's so nice and a comfort to have a strong community to raise a family in.

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    1. How great for you to be coming to Utah! You will be immersed in the Mormon culture! :)

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  25. Everything I knew about Mormoms I learned from Big Love (I was ob-sessed with that show). Thank you for clearing so many things up. You're so brave to put yourself and your religion out there and to be so kind and honest about who you are and what you believe. And you do it without being pushy. The world could use more people like you.

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    1. So Big Love isn't actually about Mormons... it's about a group of people who broke off from the mainstream Mormon church. That is a common misconception, though. Part of the problem with media is they don't always get things correct. The people on "Sister Wives" are also not Mormon. Mainstream Mormons do not practice polygamy.

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    2. And thank you for your sweet words! I don't think I'm too brave, but trying harder to be. People like you make it easy :)

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  26. Bonnie, Thank you for sharing your beliefs and the reasons you choose mormon! This was a very interesting post for me to read. I grew up Southern Baptist and I've attended a Methodist church pretty regularly too and even though we don't agree on everything and I believe I've found happiness and peace through Jesus Christ, doesn't mean I'm not interested in what others think and believe and why they believe it. I've also had a lot of questions about Mormons and I've never quite understood where they stand with their beliefs, so this was great to read! :) Thanks again!

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    1. You bet! Thanks for your comment! I love what you said about finding happiness and peace through Christ- that is the main purpose and the focus of our religion.

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  27. Awesome post, Bonnie!

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  28. I have always been fascinated with the Mormon religion and was lucky enough to tour the Temple in San Diego before it was "blessed?". It was amazing!

    Why do woman wear undergarments? What is the meaning behind this?

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    1. Any Mormon who has made promises in the temple wears garments, not just the women. I explained it in my reply to Ms. George... mostly it serves as a reminder of the promises we have made and a protector against weakness and temptation.

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  29. How do you determine who are the 12 apostles?

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    1. Apostles are called by the prophet and the current apostles. When one apostle dies, the other 11 apostles and prophet gather together, pray, fast and choose the next apostle. It's actually a fascinating process. They have to agree 100% before a new apostle is called- if one person disagrees or does not feel that the decision is right they don't call the apostle. One of the things I love about the process- it requires complete unity.

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    2. So they are determined by man, not God? This is a really informative post!

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    3. I guess it would depend on the way you look at it. Because we believe that our prophets and apostles are called of God, then we believe that it is God speaking through them when they choose new apostles. We don't believe it's the "man" choosing it, but God speaking through the man. We believe that when the prophet speaks, he is speaking the will of God because God has chosen Him to lead the church.

      Great questions! Keep them coming! I am happy to answer anything you are confused on!

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  30. Excellent post Bonnie! You've got some great questions being asked too. Good luck with those because I'd have to spend hours in the scriptures to provide answers (because i have the worst memory when it comes to remembering what is talked about and where), good thing you've got your missionary experiences to help you.

    Aub

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    1. HAHA! Thanks Aubry! Yes, some of them are tough questions but I love it! It reminds me of all the questions I got on my mission. I love to try to explain and clarify and just make it as simple as possible because I believe the gospel is supposed to be pure and simple. And I've definitely had to look some things to make sure I am backed up by scripture!

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    3. Love your responses so far!

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  31. Thanks for sharing! This is very informative and I'm glad you are able to talk about it. I've always been fascinated with the religion (I've read a lot of books about it, more of the extreme cases) but it is very interesting.

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    1. Yes, unfortunately there are always the "extreme" cases and books. That's why I want to give a simple explanation from a Mormon so that it can be told how current Mormons see it.

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  32. I love Mormons. They're the nicest people. My little sister is Mormon (she converted when she was 18) and it's a great lifestyle for her. I'm a bit jealous of the community she has available!

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    1. Yes the community is fantastic. In some ways, it actually reminds me of the blogger community. Anywhere you go there is a community of Mormons to welcome you, understand you, and make you feel at home. It is a blessing!

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  33. I'm glad I read this, I feel a lot more informed and some questions have been answered. I grew up Catholic but haven't been to church since I was 18 or so other than for the occasional wedding or funeral (I'm 26 now). I feel like I've had my period of 'whatever, don't care' about religion and now I'm circling back around into believing again. Long story short, I might do some more research into LDS and being Mormon :)

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    1. This makes my heart happy. The simple truth of it is there is happiness and joy and peace out there to be had and we all deserve to have that. Feel free to email me if you have any questions :)

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  34. Okay, I'm going to comment. One of the things I don't understand is if you believe in Jesus Christ, why have a separate type of church/Religion. I'm a born again christian and I attend a bible believing church. Why aren't you just Christians and not a religion. Christianity is about a relationship with Christ and not religion or following a particular person. We should all follow Jesus
    Just wondering.

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    1. I would also love yo hear your thoughts on this! Thanks again for being open!

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    2. I guess I don't fully understand the question but I am going to try to answer it to the best of my understanding and let me know if this is not what you are asking. I agree that Christianity is about following Christ and not a particular person. But what happens when everyone thinks baptism should be done a different way? That's why you need a prophet, to tell us what God wants us to be doing. Being a part of a "religion" and going to church instead of just following Christ's teachings on our own is crucial because 1. We can remember the promises we made to God every week and 2. We receive great strength from other Christians at church with us. There are always moments of weakness and hardship and it is vital to have a support group, a network, to always help each other to be the best people possible. When we are totally fine and have no problems it's still important to be involved in religion and attend church so that we can help others who are struggling. We all have moments in our lives where we will have to take and moments where we will have to give. When my dad passed away the strength from the church was tremendous. There was such an outpouring of love, comfort and support that helped us through those dark days. Let me know if this isn't what you were asking.

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  35. I'm agnostic and have always been super fascinated by Mormons, just because every Mormon I've met or come across has been insanely nice and really good looking. As the blogosphere can attest, you're all a good looking group of people! My only question is about alcohol/coffee/etc.. (and maybe you already answered this, I didn't see it but I apologize if I'm being repetitive), things like Diet Coke are just as harmful, if not more so, than coffee, so why is that allowed but other things are not? Also, what happens if you're Mormon and you just decide that you like coffee? Or a really good glass of red wine? Are you still able to be a practicing Mormon but openly enjoy things like that? I only ask that because in my experience, it seems like there is a really strong line when it comes to that kind of stuff, and I've never understand why.

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    1. Great questions! For the first part, we do recognize that there are lots of things that are harmful to your body. We believe that God has specifically told us to not drink alcohol, coffee, etc. but we also believe that he expects us to take care of and nourish our bodies. The truth is I probably do drink too much diet coke. A lot of Mormons don't drink caffeine at all. As for the second part of your question, you can still be Mormon and drink coffee or red wine. There are certain things you can't do, for example, make important promises in the temple. The promises are pretty big so we believe church members should be able to show their willingness and obedience to gospel principles before making those promises. Mormons who drink, smoke, etc are still more than welcome at any church meeting, church function, activity, etc.

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  36. I love this post. While I am Methodist, I think we still share a lot of the same beliefs and values. It is great to learn more about your religion!

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  37. Hi Bon! Love this post, it's all laid out so well and is so well balanced!

    I grew up with Mormon friends and always found their focus on family to be so interesting! And as an only child, it's SUPER interesting when anyone has more than two siblings! ;)

    What I've wondered in the past few years about LDS is: why are non-LDS members not able to attend the temple portion of a wedding? I've tried reading up on it, but there isn't much out there. I assume it has to do with the promises made and I think it's called being sealed? Or something?

    But thank you for writing such a great post! I hope this helps dispel some of the judgements that are made about the LDS church :)

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    1. Love these questions! You are right on- it has to do with the promises made. We believe they are sacred and important and we don't share them openly because of their personal and sacred nature. People who are not LDS don't see the temple portion of the wedding so that those promises are not mocked or made light of.

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  38. Hey B... Is it alright if I call you that? Anywaysssss... This is what I am going to say. I LOVE that you explained it so people can understand some of the vocabulary. I hope that one day things like this won't get some people's panties in such a wad. Why can't we just accept each other for our own beliefs and everything else people like to be judgy about. Simple enough, right?

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    1. Thank you sweetie! Can I call you that? :)

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  39. I am Mormon and a history teacher in Utah. I teach Utah history to 7th graders and although the majority of my class is Mormon, it is always hard to make sure I am not being biased toward the Mormon view of Utah history. Historians always try to be as objective as possible, and I feel that I have allowed my Mormon students (who live in the Mormon bubble) to see from the other point of view, and same goes for my non-Mormon students. The main theme we have in Utah History is culture and cultural clashes. We always mention that there are always TWO sides to a story and that for the most part, BOTH sides caused good as well as bad events. I have also been lucky in my history studies to get to know other religions. (I'm also a currently reading an esoteric history of the world book) What people don't realize is that many religions, Christian or not, are very, very, very similar in belief. That is my dream: to have people realize they are similar, but be accepting of small, unimportant differences.

    morrellfairytale.blogspot.com

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    1. Terrific point, Tayler!

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  40. Love this post bonnie! You did a fabulous job of explaining the basics of our beliefs :)

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  41. I can say this with assurity: every Mormon who has come to my door has been a hell of a lot more respectful of my religious choice than every Jehovah's Witness who comes to my door. It'd be nice if nobody talked to me about their religion in that manner, as it always sounds like a sales pitch, but then I'm in a minority religion myself (not like Mormonism, which as I understand it is still a branch of Christianity, but the kind of thing that can and has led to being fired, dumped, harassed, etc).

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  42. love love love this post and all the questions and discussions. i have committed to doing a religious post the first sunday of the month, and i am just going to link to this post for this month...it's that good:) seriously though, thank you for having the words that so many of us want to say but haven't.

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  43. Thank you for sharing this information. Up until now, my main information about "all things Mormon" had come from the HBO series Big Love. I'm glad to have some real info now.

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    1. Ha! Unfortunately a lot of my information also comes from TV when I don't know much about a subject. As I mentioned earlier, though, Big Love isn't about Mormons- they are a different religion that broke off from the main mormon religion. :)

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  44. Thank you so much for sharing. You are very brave and you explained it in such a smart manner. I knew pretty much nothing about Mormons before and I feel like I have some more insight now. Thanks!

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  45. This is a great summary! Thanks for sharing!

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  46. Hi Bon! Thanks for writing this, it's so clear and helpful. I have a few questions. According to the Mormon church, what happens to people who are not LDS (and their families) when they die? How about people who are Christian but not LDS?

    Thanks for being willing to be the answer-woman!

    Farrell

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    1. We believe there are certain promises you have to make before you can live with God in heaven. One of these is baptisms. Another is marriage. We believe that everyone will have the chance to accept these promises if they wish- either here on Earth or after this life. If they choose not to make these promises then they can't attain the highest level of heaven, but they will still live in a state of happiness and peace.

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    2. Hi Bonnie! So glad you are so willing and open to answer questions on this subject. I've recently become very interested in the Mormon faith, because all the Mormons I know of are so extremely peaceful and happy... you can't say that about a lot of religions. But my questions are this: are you saying that the LDS church teaches that you can't obtain the highest level of Heaven if you don't get married? What if you never fall in love, or prefer not to marry?

      Also, as far as the prophet goes- how do you trust that whomever is chosen is making decisions based on God's will, and not their own? What if the prophet is corrupt somehow? I guess what I'm asking is, if the prophet starts making proclamations that go against the past teachings, is there a system of accountability for his actions? For example, my understanding is Brigham Young was a proponent of polygamy, until pressure came from the US to make it illegal, and then the new prophet said that polygamy was no longer part of the Mormon church... I guess I'm just confused as to how a man can be made accountable in such a position of power?

      I recently read a book called The 19th Wife, which was very interesting and sparked a lot of my questions! Thanks for being so open about something so close to your heart!

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  47. Hi Bonnie! I so much appreciate 1. Your blog in general and 2. Your openness with your faith. Like so many of the above commenters, I've always had questions about LDS, but never knew who to ask (I live in the south, where Mormon neighbors are more rare, I guess) or didn't want to be insensitive. I would like to know a little more - the trinity (three but not one?), exaltation and the levels of heaven? I understand that the LDS church was founded out of a need for restoration, but what about changes that have been made to the LDS church itself? Do those changes indicate a need for reformation within this reformed church? (Changes like polygamy, blood atonement, Adam-God doctrine). And what about tea? And baptism of the dead (namely holocaust victims?). I feel like there are so many snapshots I have of LDS and Mormons in general, and there's some weird stuff in there, but my main view is that I give mad props to the mission work. It's really incredible. I appreciate any clarity you can give me on these questions, and thanks so much for your honesty and willingness to share.

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    1. Kaitlin you ask such great questions! It sounds to me like you do already know quite a bit about mormons! I'll try to answer the questions one by one.

      1. Yes we believe in three separate beings as our trinity. God is different from Jesus Christ who is different from the Holy Ghost.

      2. As far as exaltation goes we believe that after this life there are three different "kingdoms" you can go to- not heaven and hell- like many religions believe. The highest kingdom is for the most faithful and those who made and kept promises of love, obedience and faith to God. They live with their families and with God and Jesus Christ. There are two lesser kingdoms where people can still have peace and joy after this life, but won't enjoy all the blessings of the highest kingdom.

      3. We believe that any changes that have been made to the LDS church have been made through revelation- that God speaks to his prophets and inspires any changes. Unlike early Christian churches that didn't have God's authority, they were just doing the best they knew how to but without direct communication from God.

      4. We don't drink tea or coffee because we believe it is something that God has told us not to drink. Simple as that. There are a lot of different reasons why. One is that God wants us to rely on him and not to have to rely on physical substances for any reason. For most it isn't too big of a deal. In some ways I believe it's just something little that God gave us so we could show Him our obedience. Most church members don't mind much about the tea thing- other religions always seem to feel real sorry for us though :)

      5. I'm impressed you know about baptisms for the dead! That's one of the things we do in our temples. Like I mentioned in comment 2- we believe that after you die you can still make sacred promises- like baptism- with God. There are so many people (like you mentioned- holocaust victims) that never had the chance to learn about religion and we don't believe that they will be damned just because life never gave them the opportunity to accept God. We do baptisms for the dead for these people and believe that if they have accepted those promises on the other side that the baptisms serves as a symbol for the promise. I love this because I believe it shows a God who loves all his children and gives all of them equal opportunity to accept His plan.

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    2. Thanks for your responses Bonnie! I looked at the website (Mormon.org , which, websites to summarize an entire religion, gosh, the modern age we live in) and just wanted to hear more details from someone who lives them, you know? I am a Christian, but don't identify with a particular denomination. I can relate to abstaining from certain things, discipline teaches us so much in an age of instant gratification. Although I think British Mormon's might have quite a hurdle there with tea. I think I'll bite my tongue on baptisms for holocaust victims, but all in all, I think Mormon's are pretty great in terms of their family and mission focus. And they're usually the best bloggers, hah!

      Thanks for your insight Bonnie!

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    3. P.S didn't realize I hadn't updated my google profile since getting married. Name changes are the worst!

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    4. Out of respect for their religion and the great sacrifice they made, baptisms for the dead are no longer performed for Holocaust victims.

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    5. That's a relief to hear, thanks Kimberly!

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    6. I think it is also important to note that with any baptism that is done for someone who has already died, that person has the opportunity to either accept or reject it. It does not automatically make that person a member of the Church. They do have a say in the matter. :)

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  48. Just to say, I believe in His word more through the eyes of Mormons than I do Christians because they are out to really better the world and become loving/helping towards those in need. Christians on the other hand, well I have only liked one preacher since I was little and that's my Uncle Tony. I do not have much good to say about Christian bible-thumpers!

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    1. It is sad that this always seems to happen with organized religion. Some bad church members can leave a bad taste in your mouth for the whole pack. There are definitely some mormons who have probably been guilty of the same things you mentioned- as there are in any group. I believe the key is to find the good and focus on that.

      Thanks for your beautiful comment! :)

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  49. As a Mormon Girl about to go out on a mission I loved this post! It is so hard sometimes to know what to say when asked about our beliefs...I love the simplicity in which you stated the answers to so many well asked questions and topics. It was a privilege reading this post and I will be sure to share it with others. Thank-you once again for being brave enough to send this "proclamation" to the world...I know how tough it can be....and educating others on a truly marvelous work!

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  50. I keep coming back to read the comments! Its so fun to see people starting a good conversation.

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  51. It was great reading through your explanations, and wow! what a conversation you have started. I pass by the Mormon Temple in Franklin, TN every single day (it's just down from my house) and it's SO BEAUTIFUL! When it was built, I did not realize what a BIG deal it was... it was open to the public for touring right before it was put into use. I SO wish I had taken the opportunity to tour it, just for the experience and the information.

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  52. NO JOKE I have been seeing the same things all over the internet and wrote a blog post about some stuff awhile ago and have been waiting to post it haha I was trying to be brave about it, but now I think I will just post it haha :) Mine of course is more about the cultural aspects of Mormons I see people questioning all the time and being confused about. Loved your straight to the point post on this!

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  53. I've always been curious about the LDS faith. I had two LDS children in a pre-school class one year. Your post definitely simplified LDS to terms that were clear and interesting.

    Thank you for sharing!

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  54. Just stumbled onto your blog and am really enjoying this post. I am super impressed with your readers and the respect they have for you and your beliefs. Love reading the comments and questions..

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  55. I am not a christian and don't believe in god, however I do really enjoy learning about other people's beliefs. I loved reading this post and how honest you are about everything. Keep up the good work.
    Ellie
    xxx

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  56. I just read this entire post and all the comments and I am just beaming with happiness! I am also a mormon and I loved the way you shared your (our) beliefs. And all the comments and discussion were so thoughtful and polite--I'm just so impressed. Your corner of the internet is a beautiful one.

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  57. Is it weird that I instantly feel a kinship towards any other Mormon gal I come across whether or not you'd actually like me? haha...I popped on over from your guest post at Helene's and you have convinced me to stick around :)

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