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Mormonism for Dummies

THE Church of Latter Day Saints is experiencing a spot of bother in the US over its shameful involvement in California’s anti-gay Proposition 8.

Realising last month that few members outside this exceedingly well-heeled cult had the foggiest idea of what Mormons actually believed, I did some research for the August print edition of the Freethinker – and, since publication, a number of readers have urged me post the piece on this site so that it might be seen by a wider audience.

So here it is:

Until last year, I regarded the Mormons as one of the world’s most comical cults. I mean, magical underwear, what’s that all about? If you don’t know, let me offer help:  the white tops and passion-killer bloomers for men and women pictured here are called “temple garments” which primarily provide wearers with “a constant reminder” of the covenants made in temples.mormon-temple-garments

Second, the garment “provides protection against temptation and evil”. Finally, wearing the garment is “an outward expression of an inward commitment” to follow Jesus Christ. The garments also:

Strengthen the wearer to resist temptation, fend off evil influences, and stand firmly for the right.

Researchers who interviewed a sample group of Latter-day Saints who wear lucky pants reported that virtually all expressed a belief that they provided “spiritual protection”, and encouraged them to keep their covenants.  Some of those interviewed “asserted that the garment also provided physical protection”. In Mormon folklore, tales are told of Mormons who credit their temple garments with helping them survive car wrecks, fires, and various other disasters.

I ceased regarding Mormons as amusing in 2008 when the Church suddenly decided to pour millions of dollars into Proposition 8, which overturned the rights of gays in California to marry. And, boy, did they have millions to spend. Time magazine recently estimated that the Church’s current assets total a minimum of $30 billion.

Last year $5.2 billion in tithes flowed into its headquarters in Salt Lake City, $4.9 billion of which came from American Mormons, of which there are around  six million. Mormons worldwide total around 13 million. The LDS sends out over 50,000 missionaries who annually entice over 240,000 people into the cult.

So what do the Mormons actually believe?

Mormonism, concocted by Joseph Smith in 1830, teaches that God  – or “Elohim” – used to be a man on another planet, and that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of a god on his home planet (not specified). In his present god-state, he rules our world. He has a body of flesh and bones and he has a wife. In their exalted positions as deities, it follows that Mr and Mrs Elohim must be at it like knives to spawn millions of spirit children that grow and mature in the spiritual realm before being propelled to earth.

The first spirit born to the Elohims was Jesus. Later came Lucifer and an assortment of “spirit creatures”. After spirit children are born to God and his missus, the little spooks come down and enter the bodies of human babies born on earth. During this “compression” into the infant state, the memories of their pre-existence as spirits are “veiled”. All people, according to Mormonism, are born in heaven first then repeat the whole tedious process on earth where they grow, learn, then return to God.

God the Father was concerned for the future salvation of the people on Earth. So he devised a plan for Earth’s salvation. In his plan there needed to be a saviour – and Jesus, a useless sort of Prince of Wales figure who was aimlessly wandering around heaven with nothing better to do than perhaps chat up trees and endorse homoeopathy, was selected by He Who Must Be Obeyed to be reborn on Earth to Mary.

Jesus gave the old boy’s plan an enthusiastic thumbs-up. A job at last! Lucifer did not. He became jealous and rebelled. In his rebellion he convinced a large proportion of the spirits existing in heaven to side with him and oppose God. God, being more powerful then they, cursed these rebellious spirits and turned them into demons.

The remaining spirits sided with God. Since they chose “the better way”, when the time came for them to live on earth, they had the privilege of being born in locations of their choice. They could even choose their race.

Brigham Young, the second “prophet” of the Mormon Church, explained that instead of letting any old riff-raff diddle Mary, God came along to do it in person.

Now I may have this wrong, but if , as Mormons imply, Mary was an offspring of God, she must have been Jesus’s sister. Anyway, after his birth, Jesus grew up, got married, and had children.

All Mormons have the potential of becoming gods. A famous Mormon saying is As God once was, man is. As God is, man may become. In order to reach this exalted state a person must first become a good Mormon and pay a full ten percent tithe to the LDS. Afterwards, he or she can enter a Mormon temple and learn secret rituals: baptism for the dead, celestial marriage, and various oaths of secrecy and commitment. Additionally, four secret handshakes are taught so that the believing Mormon, upon arriving at the gates of the third level of Mormon heaven, can shake hands with God in the prescribed manner, and be granted entrance.

For those who achieve this highest of heavens, “exaltation to godhood awaits them”. They will then be assigned their own planets and be gods of their worlds. Thus Mormonism will be expanded throughout the cosmos.

It beggars belief that people can fall for this fantastic garbage – but then again, consider how many people are duped each year by Scientology, a confused cocktail of crackpot, dangerously applied psychotherapy, oversimplified, idiotic and inapplicable rules and ideas, and science-fiction drivel which is presented to its members (at the “advanced” levels) as profound spiritual truth.

64 responses to “Mormonism for Dummies”

  1. Diana C says:

    OK!! Everubody this is false!! I am mormon anod first everything started on heaven with our heavenly father! He did a plan and so licifer and Jesus were spirits like us and so God the both of them who want to come to earth and pay and suffer for our sins so Lucifer said that he wanted to come but he wanted all the glory for him and jesus christ said that all the glory it was going tot be for our heavenly father! So Lucifer or satan wanted us as slaves! We wouldn’t have freedom because of him! So gOD send satan to earth and the 3rd part of the angels fallow him so those are the demonds!! then everyone that leaves on this earth, we accept to come to earth in order to back to our heavenly father but we have to do our part not everyone can come back only if you keep the commendments!! And then we believe in God, our eternal father and his son jesus christ and 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”ASK GOD” not anybody else..So thats what joseph smith did he went to a silent place close were he leaved and he started praying with all his heart and satan tried to get into his body but he couldn’t then he saw a ligth stranger than the sun ligth and God and Jesus Christ appared and God said HERE IS MY BELOVED SON…LISTEN TO HIM!!….

  2. Darryl says:

    Who is running this site a 6 year old……making fun of underwear? Get a life losers.

  3. richard says:

    yeah, you hate mormons because you’re gay.

  4. matt says:

    This is pretty ridiculous and juvenile, and anyone who has made any type of comment in support of it is just as ignorant as the poster himself. Southpark had an episode on Mormons that was more accurate than this. You have been outdone by Southpark, arguably one of the most ignorant, false, and politically incorrect shows on television. You should probably find a new job and get a life. Any anyone who puts Mormons and polygamists together in the same sneer is ALSO ignorant and needs to find some new material. Don’t try and make fun of things you don’t understand, especially if the reason you don’t understand is because you lack the intellectual capacity to see beyond yourselves. Pathetic.

  5. alysha says:

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon), and would first like to say that we are not a cult, we are Christians. If we are a cult, then so is any other religion. Also, I agree with the last few comments, sadly Southpark was more accurate than most of the comments that were posted on this blog…. I would suggest that before anyone goes around giving/receiving misinformation, first go to the official LDS website (lds.org)to obtain accurate information about the doctrines that we really believe in, this is a reliable source. The website has all of the right information for any inquirer. Please go this link for more detailed/accurate info about the common misinterpretation of the lds doctrines: http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/approaching-mormon-doctrine.
    Also, in case most of you (especially those that have probably heard or obtained a lot of false lds doctrine from other sources)were not aware, there is a REORGANIZED or FUNDAMENTALIST Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS or FLDS). They also call themselves Mormons, but this is not the same church as the LDS Church. Directly from the LDS website, “The most stable and largest of the post-martyrdom (Joseph Smith) break-offs is the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. Again, I wanted to clarify that the LDS church is not the same as the RLDS one, so please do not confuse the two. There are many things that the RLDS church does or believe in that the LDS church does not, such as the present practice of polygamy. For example, the HBO show Big Love depicts an RLDS family, not an LDS family! For more detailed information visit: http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/protecting-the-church-s-identity
    So before you hear something about Mormons, please be aware that the information could be wrong or simply about the RLDS church.

  6. Sorrowful says:

    You may not believe in our Book of Mormon, our Priesthood authority, or our Temple Ordinances, I don’t expect you to. But please do not put my faith and church in a bad light. Yes we may have $30 billion in assets from the members, but we are not forced to pay tithing, it is a choice. With that money, we build temples, send out missionaries, feed families in poverty, and help when natural disasters occur. I am NOT asking you to believe in my God or Religion, I’m pleading with you to at least respect that we are good people only trying to do what is right.

  7. Elle says:

    I notice that none of those defending mormonism have an answer for you Greg. They can criticise making fun of their underwear as juvenile, but they cannot answer your serious and very adult complaint. Similarly with the issue around homophobia.

    The definition of a cult is an unorthodox or false religion. Mormons themselves claim to be christians, and yet the rest of the christian denominations, both protestant and catholic, claim that they are not christians, and for this reason, mormons converting to catholicism or protestantism, in whatever form, are required to be re-baptised, while the same is not true, for example, of protestants converting to protestantism, or vice versa. Mormons claim to believe the Bible, and yet there are aspects of their beliefs, contained in the book of mormon, which contradict the teachings of the Bible. For instance, mormons believe that marriage (when performed in a mormon church) lasts for ever, that is, beyond death, and yet Jesus quite clearly states in Mark 12 that there is no marriage in Heaven. The mormons claim that God is (as the christian church teaches) omnipotent and omniscient, and yet also claims that not only God the Father and Jesus but also the Holy Spirit can only be in one place at one time. They use the analogy of the sun to describe the Holy Spirit, claiming that although the sun is only in one place, its effects are seen everywhere. However, 1. sunlight is not everywhere – half of the world is in darkness at any one time and 2. if God is not everywhere, then how can he be all-knowing and all-powerful?

    Lastly, I would like to ask: mormons believe that God the Father did not create space and time though he did create the earth. They say that God the Father made himslef God by worshipping his God. If that God WAS the person who created time and space, and had therefore been God forever, then why not worship him?

  8. sun says:

    Can’t you all see this is poppycock!! A religion born of a 14yr. old boy, in the woods, gathering gold plates btw would have weighed 300# under his cloak… Later to have taken child brides to have sex with…comon, what is this all about but same ole same ole bull…I don’t care how reformed they are it’s all about having sex with many women as they can…

  9. sun says:

    Nooo the definition of cult is any group whos beliefs are considered strange. No one can prove or disprove a religion is false….since it’s built on an imaginary figure God. I believe all religions are cults……

  10. annoyed says:

    its funny how all you idiots base your opinions about an entire religion based on some quack jobs webpage. nice job america. nice job. oh btw i am mormon but im going to waste fifteen minutes defending my religion especially against people who don’t really care to know the truth about it.

  11. Christina says:

    this is completely ridic i have been a member of the church for a year i to thought some things were a little crazy i joined because my boyfriend is an RM(a return missionary) and his whole family are mormons. i however was raised nazarene. you can’t always believe everything that is out there on the internet its not always true in order to truly grasp it you have to talk to the missionaries and actually go to church. that is the only way you will learn and ask questions anyone a local bishop, a missionary, even someone at your local church would be happy to answer questions you have. dont be afraid take investigator classes with the missionaries to learn about our doctrine heck everybody did think young joseph was smokin something when he went out into the sacred grove but he wasnt he received divine revelation and that is what our prophet today continues to do for us. everytime joseph prayed to god he would give him instructions such as for the finding of the golden plates and the urim and the thummim to translate them. i started going to the lds church in dec. of 2008 i was baptized in june of 2009 and here sometime soon i hope to be joined together forever in the temple with by boyfriend when we eventually make arrangements to get married. i could go on and on explaining things to you idiots about things like the baptisims for the dead, and the ordinances, and callings, etc. just go find out for yourself.

  12. UK mormon John says:

    Barry, you’ve stated several times that no-one will answer the issue on proposition 8 (although 1 poster at least did), so I’ll chip with my thoughts.

    The church believes in the bible as long as it is translated correctly, ie. some of the original translations were a bit off, eg. saying god hardened Pharo’s heart, when clearly Pharo hardened his own heart, stuff like that. So consequently you need to read the bible with a prayer in your heart that you will be able to discern the real meaning and intent of the ancient authors.

    What the bible is clear on is that sexual relationships between people of the same (birth) gender are not acceptable to god. Hence the church’s support of Proposition 8.

    You may feel this is wrong but at least the church is willing to stand up for it’s beliefs unlike many that once upon a time said homosexuality was wrong but have now changed their tune. Note that when I use the word homosexuality I’m including lesbians.

    And for the record I’m not homophobic or anti-gay, I’m not afraid of homosexual people, neither do I dislike them. I have colleagues who are openly gay and I have no problem with them as people. Their sexual activity and preferences do not alarm or frighten me or make me uncomfortable, it’s their choice, and their consequences, just like all the rest of us.

    Incidentally the church’s response to what it tends to call “Same-Sex Attraction” is far more nuanced and understanding than many conservative Christian fundamentalist churches in the southern states of America. I’m surprised your research didn’t lead you to any of the very clear statements made by senior church leaders about the “mormon” views of homosexuality. Or maybe you didn’t do much research.

    Take this as you will but it’s meant in the spirit of honest open discussion.

  13. sun says:

    So John, tell me what are the consequences for being born homosexual…death, hell, pergatory…and no I am not homosexual. But really, what kind of deity would condem these people for what they have no control over being. And if you believe your religious convictions that a God created all mankind, didn’t he/she create these folks as well???

  14. EG says:

    This article was garbage and beggars the mind that you think you can write. No accuracy, no srlf respest as a so called journalist.