Why Is Mormonism Sometimes Described As A Secretive Religion
The most common and visible target for charges of suspicious secrecy in the Mormon religion are the temples. After dedication, these buildings are closed to the public and church members do not talk openly about the rituals that take place within. The church holds that the temple and its rituals are sacred and therefore private, not secret. They maintain that early Christianity featured similar special practices and bodies of knowledge that were kept quiet to preserve their sacred nature.
Church finances are also kept confidential, provoking criticism that there is no way for church members or outsiders to know where money from tithing and other revenue goes. And the church has also been questioned about the secrecy surrounding their defense of doctrine. Latter-day Saints can face excommunication if, after being warned, they continue to publicly discuss problematic or provocative elements of Mormon theology that the church chooses not to draw attention to. Because disciplinary councils that can lead to excommunication are always private, the process of gathering information and the closed meetings that consider the fate of a disciplined member add to the perception of Mormon secrecy.
Relationship With Mainstream Christianity
Mormonism categorizes itself within , and nearly all Mormons self-identify as . For some who define Christianity within the doctrines of , and , the , and , Mormonism’s differences place it outside the umbrella of Christianity.
Since its beginnings, the faith has proclaimed itself to be Christ’s Church with its original authority, structure and power maintaining that existing denominations believed in incorrect doctrines and were not acknowledged by God as his church and kingdom. Though the religion quickly gained a large following of Christian seekers, in the 1830s, many American Christians came to view the church’s early doctrines and practices as politically and culturally , as well as doctrinally heretical, abominable, and condemnable. This discord led to a series of sometimes-deadly conflicts between Mormons and others who saw themselves as orthodox Christians. Although such violence declined during the twentieth century, the religion’s unique doctrinal views and practices still generate criticism, sometimes vehemently so. This gives rise to efforts by Mormons and opposing types of Christians to proselytize each other.
Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as the literal and , as a conclusion of a , and subsequent . However, Latter-day Saints reject the ecumenical creeds and the definition of the . Mormons hold the view that the prophesied both the from the teachings of Christ and his apostles as well as the of all things prior to the second coming of Christ.
Social Events And Gatherings
Additional meetings are also held at the meetinghouse. Church officers may conduct leadership meetings or host training sessions and classes. The ward or branch community may schedule social activities at the meetinghouse, including dances, dinners, holiday parties and musical presentations. The church’s Young Men and Young Women organizations meet at the meetinghouse once a week, where the youth participate in activities. At the start of 2020, the church implemented a new initiative for children and youth worldwide, which replaced all other church youth programs.
In LDS theology, a temple is considered to be a holy building, dedicated as a “House of the Lord” and held as more sacred than a typical meetinghouse or chapel. In temples, church members participate in ceremonies that are considered the most sacred in the church, including marriage, and an endowment ceremony that includes a washing and anointing, receiving a temple garment, and making covenants with God. Baptisms for the dead are performed in the temples as well.
In order to perform ordinances in temples on behalf of deceased family members, the church emphasizes genealogical research, and encourages its lay members to participate in genealogy.It operates FamilySearch, the largest genealogical organization in the world.
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Informal And Abbreviated Names
Because of the belief in the Book of Mormon among Joseph Smith’s followers, in the 1830s people outside the church began to refer to its members as “Mormonites” or “Mormons” and the church as the “Mormon Church”. Smith and other church leaders considered these informal or abbreviated terms to be derogatory and inappropriate, as editorialized in 1834:
Others may call themselves by their own, or by other names, and have the privilege of wearing them without our changing them or attempting so to do but we do not accept the above title, nor shall we wear it as our name, though it may be lavished out upon us double to what it has heretofore been.
âSecond Elder Oliver Cowdery,
Today, it remains common for individuals and media outside of the church to refer to it as the “Mormon Church”. Church leaders have resisted these practices and have asked members not to refer to the church in these ways.
In 2001, the LDS Church Saints issued a style guide on its name, requesting that those writing about the church adhere to the following guidelines:
- In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
- Please avoid the use of “Mormon Church”, “LDS Church” or the “Church of the Latter-day Saints.”
- When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or “the Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged.
- When referring to Church members, the term “Latter-day Saints” is preferred, though “Mormons” is acceptable.
Mission Of The Church
The mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to help all of Gods children come to Jesus Christ3 through learning about His gospel, making and keeping promises with God , and practicing Christlike love and service.4
Members of the Church believe in helping individuals and families fulfill the commandments to love God and to love your neighbor.5 Members do so by living the gospel of Jesus Christ,6 caring for those in need,7 inviting all to receive the gospel,8 and uniting families through family history and temple work.9
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Doctrinal Reforms And Influences
In 1927, the Church implemented its “Good Neighbor policy“, whereby it removed any suggestion in church literature, sermons, and ordinances that its members should seek vengeance on US citizens or governments, particularly for the assassinations of its founder Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum. The Church also reformed temple ordinance around this time.
Beginning soon after the turn of the 20th century, four influential Latter-day Saint scholars began to systematize, modernize, and codify Mormon doctrine: B. H. Roberts, James E. Talmage, John A. Widtsoe, and Joseph Fielding Smith. In 1921, the church called chemistry professor John A. Widtsoe as an apostle. Widtsoe’s writings, particularly Rational theology and Joseph Smith as Scientist, reflected the optimistic faith in science and technology that was pervasive at the time in American life. According to Widtsoe, all Mormon theology could be reconciled within a rational, positivist framework.
Reaction to evolution
Soon after the 1909 statement, Joseph F. Smith professed in an editorial that “the church itself has no philosophy about the modus operandi employed by the Lord in His creation of the world.” Juvenile Instructor, 46 , 208-209 .
Some also cite an additional editorial that enumerates various possibilities for creation including the idea that Adam and Eve:
Reacting to pluralism
Overview Of Episcopal Churches
The definition of the word episcopal has variation among Christian traditions. There are subtle differences in governmental principles among episcopal churches at the present time. To some extent the separation of episcopal churches can be traced to these differences in , that is, their theological understanding of church and church governance. For some, “episcopal churches” are churches that use a hierarchy of bishops who identify as being in an unbroken, personal .
“Episcopal” is also commonly used to distinguish between the various organizational structures of . For instance, “Presbyterian” is used to describe a church governed by a hierarchy of assemblies of elected , referred to as . Similarly, “episcopal” is used to describe a church governed by bishops. Self-governed local congregations, governed neither by elders nor bishops, are usually described as “”.
More specifically, the capitalized appellation “Episcopal” is applied to several churches historically based within , including those still in communion with the .
Using these definitions, examples of specific episcopal churches include:
Some churches practice congregational polity or a form of presbyterian polity. Others, including the , practice episcopal polity the Church of Sweden also counts its bishops among the . This is also the case with some American Lutheran churches, such as the , , , and the .
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They Are Loved By The Fbi And Cia
While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints place in the American purview is still a little muddy, one thing that is broadly familiar is their moral code. This, in turn, has led to somewhat of a partnership with law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and CIA, who recruit Mormons pretty regularly, and have for quite some time, according to Atlas Obscura. Apparently, ever since the inception of the FBI, Latter-day Saints have been well represented therein, and the CIA’s connection to Mormonism popped up around the time of Watergate.
There are several examples, per Atlas Obscura, of the prevalence of Mormons in the CIA, including a Mormon-owned PR firm purchasing office space outside of America to allow their followers to have safe houses. Then there’s the Utah-based, Brigham Young University professor in the 1980s, who admitted that they had never had any difficulty when placing Latter-day Saints who applied to work for the CIA.
Both the CIA and FBI still actively recruit at BYU, according to Atlas Obscura. So much so, in fact, that a spokesperson at the university admitted that the recruitment is so prevalent that it’s difficult to even put a number on it. Given the secrecy of these intelligence agencies, it’s remarkable that one particular religion has become so sought after.
Why Does The Church Send Out Missionaries
The missionary effort of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching the gospel and baptizing believers in the name of Jesus Christ . Missionary work is voluntary, with most missionaries funding their own missions. They receive their assignment from Church headquarters and are sent only to countries where governments allow the Church to operate. In some parts of the world, missionaries are sent only to serve humanitarian or other specialized missions.
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Members Of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter
Age distribution among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
% of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are ages
Mormon Involvement In National Politics
Mormons and the women’s suffrage movement
As a result, a number of LDS women became active and vocal proponents of women’s rights. Of particular note was the LDS journalist and suffragist Emmeline Blanch Wells, editor of the Woman’s Exponent, a Utah feminist newspaper. Wells, who was both a feminist and a polygamist, wrote vocally in favor of a woman’s role in the political process and public discourse. National suffrage leaders, however, were somewhat perplexed by the seeming paradox between Utah’s progressive stand on women’s rights, and the church’s stand on polygamy.
In 1890, after the church officially renounced polygamy, U.S. suffrage leaders began to embrace Utah’s feminism more directly, and in 1891, Utah hosted the Rocky Mountain Suffrage Conference in Salt Lake City, attended by such national feminist leaders as Susan B. Anthony and Anna Howard Shaw. The Utah Woman Suffrage Association, which had been formed in 1889 as a branch of the American Woman Suffrage Association , was then successful in demanding that the constitution of the nascent state of Utah should enfranchise women. In 1896, Utah became the third state in the U.S. to grant women the right to vote.
Mormons and the debate over temperance and prohibition
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The Book Of Mormon Is The Second Sacred Text Of Mormons
Next to the bible, the LDS church believes in the Book of Mormon. Mormon prophets who lived from 600 BC to AD 400 wrote the book. As we touched on above, the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the ancient book by what he called a revelation from God.
It has since been translated into more than 80 languages and more than 150 million copies have been printed. According to the book, Christ established his church in the Old World, or ancient America. People lived in unity for nearly 200 years after Jesus. Later, people abandoned Christs teachings and a war of extermination occurred.
The book refers to Jesus almost 4,000 times. The LDS church calls it another testament of Jesus Christ.
What Is The Position Of The Church Regarding Race Relations
The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. The Book of Mormon states, Black and white, bond and free, male and female all are alike unto God . This is the Churchs official teaching.
People of all races have always been welcomed and baptized into the Church since its beginning. In fact, at the end of his life in 1844, Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opposed slavery. During this time some black males were ordained to the priesthood. At some point the Church stopped ordaining male members of African descent, although there were a few exceptions. It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church, but it has ended. Church leaders sought divine guidance regarding the issue and in 1978 extended the priesthood to all worthy male members. The Church immediately began ordaining members to priesthood offices wherever they attended throughout the world.
The Church unequivocally condemns racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church. In 2006, then Church president Gordon B. Hinckley declared that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children .
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The Untold Truth Of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter
A lot of people get their knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from one or both of two sources Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of “South Park” and the musical “The Book of Mormon ” and the sharply dressed young men who show up at your door, asking if you can spare a minute to talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. Both sources have their facts, and both sources have their fictions, mostly from misplaced assumptions. Consider that, in a 2012 survey of the general American public, the Pew Research Center reported that over 60% of people admitted to knowing either “not much” or “nothing” about the Mormon faith. In the same study, people were asked if they thought Mormonism was a Christian faith, which it absolutely is, yet only 51% of those surveyed said that it was.