This page will address commonly asked questions about Mormonism. I will attempt to be as objective as possible in answering these questions and save personal rants for everyday posts. For the sake of convenience I will be referring to beliefs and practices specifically of the The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints as based in Salt Lake City, Utah, since it represents the largest branch of Mormonism and is what most people think of when they think of Mormonism. Please keep in mind that other branches of Mormonism may very well have different answers to questions.
Most Common Questions:
Do Mormons practice polygamy? No, the LDS church officially ended the practice in 1890 and began to actively suppress the practice the first decade of the 20th C. Those who practice polygamy are excommunicated from the LDS church and but may join another smaller branch of Mormonsim that does still endorse polygamy (or plural marriage as they are likely to call it). See the link for information on fundamentalism in Mormonism on my list of links.
Why can’t Mormons drink coffee, tea or alcohol? Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the LDS church, received a revelation as a word of advice that Mormons ought to avoid ‘hot drinks’ and alcohol, as well as the advice that they ought to eat lots of grains and avoid eating too much meat. Since that time, the word of advice, known as the Word of Wisdom, has been enforced by making it a commandment that Mormons must agree to follow if they are to be baptized into the church or hold a temple recommend. Check out the revelation here: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/89.
What is the “Mormon Bible”? Mormons have a canon that consists of four books: the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. For english speakers, the Bible version of choice is the King James Version. Normally when people think of the “Mormon Bible” they really mean to say the Book of Mormon, which is what misisonaries give out, and is not considered “a Bible” to Mormons. (For more information see my post “What is the Mormon Bible(s)?”.)
What is Mormon underwear? After Mormons go through a special ritual in one of their many temples called the Endowment Ceremony, Mormons wear undergarments for their rest of their lives, night and day, to remind them of the covenants that they made in the temple. These underwear consist of a white undershirt (with at least a cap sleeve for women) and long, white underwear, with special markings. Mormons go through the Endowment Ceremony as adults, usually before going on a mission or before being married in the temple.
Why are Mormons so interested in genealogy? You may be aware that as a religious activity Mormons work on gathering up genealogical information. Some adults even go on missions devoted to uncovering such information. This is because Mormons believe that if someone is to have full happiness in the afterlife, and go to the highest degree of glory in heaven (the Celestial Kingdom) that person must go through Mormon rituals done by proper Mormon authority such as baptism, confirmation, the endowment ceremony and temple marriage for all eternity. Mormons recognize that some people never had a chance to get these rituals done by proper Mormon authority, known as the priesthood, so they perform them by proxy in the name of the dead in their temples to give everyone a chance in the spirit world, where people go right when they die, to accept the temple work done on their behalf and thereby attain Celestial glory.
Why can’t non Mormons go to Mormon temple weddings? Not every Mormon gets married in the temple, but it is the ultimate goal of every active Mormon to do so. In the temple, Mormon couples are married for time and all eternity, not just till ‘death do you part’. They believe it is necessary to be thusly married in order to be exalted, or attain the highest degree of glory in the highest part of heaven and eventually become gods and goddesses. Only couples are exalted, not individuals. Because only worthy Mormons with temple recommend cards can go into the temple and engage in all of the rituals there, outsiders are not permitted to witness the sealing ceremony which must occur within the temple.
Do Mormons believe that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer? Well, yes. Mormons believe that we are all spirit brothers and sisters of heavenly parents and that includes Jesus and Lucifer.
Do Mormons believe in a Heavenly Mother? Yes. See the recent Proclamation on the Family and note that it mentions that we are all children of heavenly parents.
Do Mormons believe that they will become gods of their own planets? Yes and no. Mormons believe that they can become exalted, become gods and goddesses, but that Heavenly Father will always be superior in station to them. They also are most likely to believe that their creative activities after exaltation will involve more than a planet, perhaps a universe unto themselves.
Can Mormon husbands choose not to call forth their wives during the resurrection of the dead? No. It’s true that a husband knows his wife’s secret/temple name and she does not know his with the expectation that he will call her forth, but if he chose not to she would still be resurrected and probably be with someone who wasn’t a jerk.
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