Are Mormons Weird? Myths and Facts About Mormonism
I'm going to start this Hub by being blunt, open, and possibly offensive. Yes. Mormons are weird. I am licensed to say this, as I am a Mormon who grew up in an area with an extremely small community of Mormons.
I got to see my friends reactions to my beliefs and the reactions of complete strangers. To them, Mormonism was unequivocally weird. It was new, it was foreign, it seemed hazy and most of the people I met knew extremely little about it.
I encountered put-downs, weird myths, and more really weird myths. I didn't mind if people didn't agree with my beliefs or didn't like them; they aren't for everyone. What I did mind was the really outlandish stories I would hear about what I supposedly believed in, that just weren't true.
Below are some of the things I've heard, whether myth or fact. Let me know in the comments below if you've heard anything you want clarified and I will add to this list!
Mormons are Polygamous
I know saying "kind of" is a terrible way to start an article on myths and facts, but it really is a "kind of" situation.
Mormons (or as we prefer to be called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints") DID practice polygamy, beginning in the 1840's. Our first few prophets had many wives themselves. (I'm not going to delve into the doctrine or reasons for polygamy since there are plenty of other resources that do this.)
In the 1890's, Mormons who had emigrated to Utah to escape persecution for their lifestyle were pushing for Utah to become a state. However, their practice of polygamy stood in their way. They did away with polygamy to become a state and the practice began to die out.
Splinter groups emerged from the main body of the church- most notably the FLDS (fundamentalist latter-day saints)- who decided to still practice polygamy. They are not considered "Mormons" by the mainstream church, but often, the rest of the world confuses the two groups. Some beliefs remain similar between churches, but many of the beliefs have changed radically, separating the two churches substantially.
Mormons do not celebrate Christmas
Mormons DO celebrate Christmas. We believe in Jesus Christ and believe we are Christians. However, many other churches do not believe we are Christians. I think this argument is completely useless on both sides, but again, I'd rather avoid discussing weighty subjects.
Jehovah's Witness members to not celebrate Christmas or holidays, which is likely where the confusion comes from. Jehovah's Witness and Mormonism are not alike, besides the push for missionary work in both religions. Myths persist about both, and the two become intertwined in the minds of many people.
Joseph Smith was a mason
Joseph Smith was the founder of Mormonism and the first prophet, and he became a Mason while the Saints were living in Nauvoo, Illinois. His brother, Hyrum Smith had been a Mason for some time, and encouraged Joseph to become a member.
The lodge was predominantly Mormon and Joseph's extremely fast advancement from Apprentice to Master Mason in a single day later angered men who would go after Joseph and his followers.
I'm not sure why I hear this coming up all the time, since being a Mason is hardly the same as being a member of the Illuminati or other darker groups, but I've heard people discuss this often.
Mormons worship Mormon
It kind of makes sense that a church would worship whoever was in the name of their church, but keep in mind that the formal name of the Mormon Church is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints".
We believe in a body of text called "The Book of Mormon" that we believe is the recordings of ancient prophets who emigrated from Jerusalem to North America around 600 BC. The book gets its name from the final person to record in the book, which was Mormon. We believe that it was he who went through the recordings of the other authors and edited and compiled them into the book that Joseph translated.
Mormon women cannot be educated
I was floored the day a friend of mine said these exact words to me "You're really brave for coming to school. Do your parents approve?" I was hideously confused until he clarified that he'd heard that Mormon women were married off in arranged marriages at a young age and that education was not important, and even discouraged.
I think I may have handled the situation inappropriately by laughing (he was so serious about it!), but I've heard this more than once. And it's all false. It probably stems from the Mormon emphasis on family.
Mormon women are encouraged to get married and have a family, but they are also encouraged to get an education! In fact, my parents made it abundantly clear when I was young that I needed to finish my education and get a degree. We also date and choose our spouses like many people do.
What are some Mormon Myths you've heard?
Share below and I'll add it to this Hub and answer it, or find someone who can answer it.
Anything extremely negative or rude will not be answered and such comments will be deleted.