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What's Mormon got to do with it?

By Kasia Fejklowicz
On March 12, 2012

The Mormon religion has a negative image, and television personalities such as Daniel Tosh and Perez Hilton are not improving it.

South Park has joked about Mormons in the past, and their new Broadway Musical, "The Book of Mormon," makes fun of the church.

A Mormon missionary at the Singles Hyde Park Branch in Chicago, Walter Hansen, admits that the show is funny but it isn't accurate since it's made by the producers of South Park. "It makes people curious about what we really believe," he said.

And yes, people are curious about this religion since a presidential candidate is a Mormon, putting it in the spotlight.

Mitt Romney is not the first presidential candidate to be questioned about his faith. John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president who had to address his faith publicly so his critics would understand that he would not be obligated by the Pope.

For the first and last time, Romney brought up his faith during his address at the George Bush Library in College Station, Texas, in 2007.

"If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest."

Romney's devotion and generous offerings to the church have sparked many controversies and won him many supporters and opponents.

Some say that being religious makes him a better person, while his enemies simply don't like the church.

Whatever the reason, Mormonism keeps coming up in the media. Here are some basic facts about this fairly new religion.

Mormonism 101

Who are Mormons?

The official name of the church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They have been nicknamed "Mormons" because of the Book of Mormon.

Joseph Smith was a prophet who is believed to have restored the Christian faith. After Jesus died, Mormons believe that the church headed in the wrong direction and Smith helped restore the Christian Church.

The angel, Moroni, led Smith to a hill in Manchester, New York. This is where he found the golden plates (Book of Mormon) which he translated into English.

According to beliefnet.com, there are 11 million members worldwide and five million in the U.S.

Are Mormons Christians?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints say they are Christians. Even though there are many differences between Catholics and Mormons for example, they both believe and worship Jesus Christ.

The main difference is that Mormons don't believe in the "Holy Trinity." They think of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as separate beings.

Their religion uses both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Myth: All Mormons are Polygamous

Joseph Smith said that plural marriage was revealed to him by God. Early followers of the church, 20-25 percent, of the families were polygamous.

LDS President Wilford Woodruff ended the practice in 1890.

Mormons don't believe in Heaven and Hell

Mormons believe that they were spirits with God in their "Pre-Life." Once they were sent to Earth they forgot about their "Pre-Life." After death, they are sent to "Spirit World" where they learn about Jesus (if they haven't already) and decide if they want to accept God's word.

After their resurrection, they are placed before God for the final judgment. Here they choose where they belong.

There are three levels of Heaven: Celestial Kingdom, Terrestrial Kingdom, and Telestial Kingdom.

Mormons have two levels of Hell. One is called Spirit Prison and the other is called the Outer Darkness.

For Mormons, Hell does not last forever. Most people will go to one of the three levels of Heaven.

What is Most Important for Mormons?

Their goal is to get to the Celestial Kingdom (Heaven)

How to Get to Heaven according to Mormons:

  1. Faith (which can include church attendance prayer, reading scripture, etc.)
  2. Repentance
  3. Baptism
  4. Gift of the Holy Ghost (Mormons believe that people who are baptized members of the church are able to receive gifts of the Holy Spirit for spiritual development).
  5. Continuous Christian Living

Myth: Mormons Don't Drink Coffee

Mormons can drink caffeine, and many of them do. Some Mormons can't live without Red Bull or Coca-Cola products. It is just a preference that some of them have.

The Word of Wisdom, which is a law of health, does prohibit alcohol consumption and smoking. Anything that harms the body is outlawed.

Mormons Don't Drink Alcohol

Since Mormons don't drink alcohol, they use water instead of wine to symbolize the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Myth: Mormons Can't Kiss Until Marriage

Mormons, just like Christians, shouldn't engage in premarital sex. They don't date until they are 16, but they can kiss. Sexual contact can lead to immortality, so supervision is important; going out with more than one couple is better than going alone with another young man or woman.

Everything is laid out in the For the Strength of Youth booklet.

Famous Mormons:

Famous actors such as Amy Adams, John Gilbert, and the star of "Napoleon Dynamite", Jon Heder, are also Mormons.

Katherine Heigl is also a non-practicing Mormon.


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