I know that we have all seen Mormons on the side of the road riding bikes in suits and knocking on doors to spread the word of their religion. Have you ever answered the door? I have always avoided the door to door Mormons until now. Somewhere in Kirtland Ohio was the beginning headquarters for Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was the founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints. This is also known as the Mormon religion. Later there were financial issue which led Joseph Smith to move the headquarters to the Midwest. After looking at many locations he chose Missouri, then he built his second temple in Nauvoo, Illinois.
Joseph Smith was later accused of polygamy and aspiring to create a theocracy. These charges led to his assassination by an angry mob of non- Mormons. Joseph Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont on December 23, 1805. In the 1820’s he became the leader of a small group of followers who believed that Joseph Smith had been given a book of golden plates containing religious history of ancient Americans. From these plates he is said to have translated the words to the book of Mormon. He said it was the restoration of the early Christian church. He gained many converts and today the Mormon Church is 14million strong.
On June 27, 1844 Joseph Smith was killed by an angry mob made up of members of the town militia who were in charge of protecting Joseph Smith. The people of Illinois Thought that joseph Smith was a crook and charged him with treason. The Mormons see him as a martyr who was killed by religious foes. To be able to further my Knowledge on this religion of the Mormons, I did something I never did before. I actually opened the door for a Mormon. His name was actually Joshua Smith, I was very excited because I thought that he may be a direct discendent of John Smith this was not the case.
I live in Tampa, Florida but Joshua was from Utah. He was a young man around 17 years old. He was way more Knowledgible about his religion at 17 years old than I had ever been about my own and I’m 33 years old. He was very devoted to God and much to my surprise he seeking the truth no matter what religion it may be. I asked him if he would let me interview him and he was more than willing to comply. I’m a very friendly guy so it felt to me like he was relieved at my eagerness to talk. This interview was out of impulse so my questions were on the fly.
So I asked if I can meet him at his church later that night but, that was not an option. The next day was better for him so I complied. We agreed to meet at his church at around 6:30am, This was pretty early for me but after my first interview fell through I was pretty desperate so you best believe that I was there bright and early the following day. So the next day I showed up at his Temple at 6:30am, much to my surprise it looked very much like my church growing up, and I’m a Lutheran I thought for a moment “ can we be this similar”. I was taught that these people were freaks.
The basketball court was a way to reach out to their youth just like my church. Shortly after a tour we began the interview. BM: How does the church of Latter Day Saints differ from traditional Christianity? JS: The difference is that we believe in restoring the gospel of Jesus Christ again on the earth through prophets having modern day revelations, this is through John Smith. John Smith translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. BM: Is that the only difference? JS: Another difference is while many other parts of Christianity believe that the Father, Son , and Holy Ghost are one.
Mormons believe that all three are different beings. BM: What is the difference between a Mormon and a Latter Day Saint? JS: Mormons is a term referring to all who believe in the Book of Mormon. The Church of Latter Day Saints is the main branch of the Mormon Church. BM: Does Mormonism require a penitence or tithing? JS: Yes, much like other churches Mormons are required to supply their tithes. We believe that God has given us all that we have. So, the small amount we tithe is the least that we can do in order to pay back our God.
Mormons give back a large amount back collectively and it’s great to have such a large support system of people who truly care about each other and their well being. BM: Do you celebrate holidays like Christmas and other holiday traditions? JS: No, I have never celebrated any of the traditional Christian holidays except for Christmas even Christmas is not the traditional holiday it focuses more on the birth of Christ than gift giving. We do not have any of our own holidays. During this interview Joshua also informed me that the Mormon Church does not have any priests or pastors.
Instead of these religious figures they have what they call Elders as leaders. The Mormons model their church after the way that Jesus Christ did in the New Testament in the Bible. This includes a Prophet and twelve apostles that receive revelations from God to guide them. He also informed me that just the same as traditional Christians that they get baptized to protect themselves from eternal damnation and they must also follow the Commandments as well as other sacred ordinances. Both Christians and Mormons use the same prayers to ask God for salvation.
He also informed me that New members of the Mormon Church must meet with missionaries who will teach them the basic doctrines that are necessary for baptism. Newcomers must repent their sins and believe in Jesus Christ these people are also interviewed before they are baptized to make sure that they are worthy. So far in my research I find the Mormon religion and traditional Christianity to be very similar this includes holidays and traditions they are basically the same. Mormons do differ in the sacred books category. Christians believe solely in the Bible.
Both religions believe the life of Jesus Christ and all that he did on the earth. Mormons believe in the prophet John Smith like Muslims believe in Mohammed. They also believe in his writings which are known as The Little Blue Book. Through further research I did recognize some differences that were very interesting. For instance, Mormons worship more than one God. In the scripture of Pearl of Great Price in the book of Abraham 4:3 it states “God said let there be light” While Christians believe that God is a Holy Spirit. The Mormons think that God is of flesh and bone.
This comes from their Doctrine and Covenants. Which are also sacred writings that Mormons live by. There are many interpretations of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost but Mormons believe that they are 3 different entities traditional Christians call this the trinity. Mormon history has showed me that Mormon and Christians differ greatly from each other. The purpose of life for a Mormon is to constantly test their obedience to God without his presence and to gain physical body. Fulfilling these personal needs helps Mormons to reach exaltation.
Christians believe that their purpose is to worship and glorify God and to enjoy the forgiveness that God provides for all Christians. Another difference that I have noticed was that was the design of salvation. When comparing Mormons and Christians, Mormons believe in giving people the opportunity to learn and to prove their worthiness to themselves and other Mormons. This is so they can later become Gods themselves. Christians believe that the design of salvation is to give grace through the glory of God. God gets all the credit for our salvation not us and that is the way it should be.
There are many people who believe that Mormons are strange and not even Christians. According to the website for the Christian Apologetic and Research Ministry, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known as the Mormons, teaches that God the father used to be a man on another planet, that he became a God by following the laws and ordinances of that God on that planet and came to this world with his wife (she became a goddess), and that they produce a spirit offspring in heaven. These spirit offspring, which includes Jesus, the devil, and you and me, are all brothers and sisters born in the preexistence.
The preexistence spirits come down and inhabit babies at the time of birth and their memories of the preexistence are lost at the time. Furthermore, faithful Mormons, who pay a full 10% tithe of their income to the Mormon Church through Mormon temples, have the potential of becoming gods of their own planets and are then able to start the procedure over again. ” (Slick, 2010) This group believes that Mormons are not Christians because the bible states in Mathew 24:24 that Jesus warned that such groups with false prophets will arise and deceive many in the last days.
They believe that the Bible contradicts the teachings of the Mormon Church. A topic that causes much scrutiny to the Mormon religion is the fact that they practice polygamy. Polygamy is also known as a plural marriage. This is multiple wives this has other Christians outraged. According to Mormon-polygamy . org, Mormons have no rightful association with polygamists. Some groups who have split off from the Church practice polygamy, but their practice has nothing to do with the activity of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (“Mormon” Polygamy Misconceptions, 2008)
President Gordon B. Hinckley of the Church of Latter Day Saints states that “If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church. An article of our faith is binding upon us. It states, ‘We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law’ There are also many other beliefs that Mormons have that seem different to the average person.
Mormons make bold statements about their beliefs. For example, they teach that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a “restored” version of the original Church established by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. They teach that they know where we came from, why we’re here on earth and where we’re going when we die. They teach that each person can receive personal revelation to know what to do with their life. They teach that marriages and families can last for eternity. (Weird Mormon Beliefs, 2009) They also follow a much different set of rules then the average as well.
Even in a changing world, going door-to-door is still a fairly effective to find and talk to people. However, this is not the only type of outreach that the Mormon Church does. For example, the LDS Church has several official websites, an official Youtube channel, an online chat with Mormon missionaries and other ways to learn about the Mormon religion through new forms of media. In addition, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has thousands of meetinghouses throughout the world where visitors are always welcome to attend.
I have learned much in this class about different religions. The Mormon religion was one of the most intriguing group of people that I have read about so far. In studying and researching Mormons I see that they have shades of Christianity and other religions as well. I thought that I saw shades of Judaism and Muslim. One thing that I have learned about Mormons is that they are very passionate about their religion and I guess that is all that really matters when it comes to ones beliefs.