What Are Mormons Like and What Do They Believe?
Has How Mormons are Perceived Changed?
QUESTION: Are Mormons still a little minority? How have [your] traditions changed over the years? Is it frequent to see young Mormons changing their beliefs?
M - Answer: LdsNana-AskMormon
Thank you funride, for posting this question over at my Hub - DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR WANT ANSWERS ABOUT THE MORMON CHURCH?
The Mormons -- A Minority?
Are Mormons More Accepted Today?
Has the LDS Church and what they teach (and its members), ever qualified to have been labeled a minority?
I think it is important to focus on this fact, for just a moment -- and that is, that there are many different ‘kinds’ of minority groups; be they social, ethnic, religious, etc... With each of these different types of minorities, there are different stereotypes within that minority.
A minority is often considered to be a relatively smaller group amongst the masses, who are visibly or actively different that the majority of other members in society.
I suppose, that this can be seen as good or bad. Depends on the perspective of any given individual. This type of labeling, is plain and simple, prejudice behavior on the part of the majority; as far as I am concerned - which has generally tagged these groups, to be an overall negative in society.
This is unfortunate. Minorities would not exist if ignorance were done away with, but human nature is to push away, that which is different than the self. This is the epitome of what society calls ‘group pressure’, or even ‘gang mentality’ but at a higher level; where the cost can, and has been great for many.
The word minority, in general, has a poor context for most people. As if they are less than others in society, banned from normality as the sort of outcasts of the whole.
The question that you asked, superimposes that the Mormons were definitely a minority then, but has that changed today? The Church of Jesus Christ-of Latter-day Saints, this past year, hit 13 million members, worldwide. (15 million October 2013) Just a little over half of the total membership is also outside of the United States. Our growth comes from an active missionary effort, as well as simple population growth from within, as more babies are born to members.
Although not the fastest growing church worldwide, we are right up at the top. Because of our worldwide status, and because this answer would need to be different, depending on what region of the world we were referring to; I will answer and give my opinion in regards to the Mormon Church, in the United States.
- SEPARATING MORMONISM AND ITS MEMBERS, MAY SEEM LIKE AN ODD WAY TO DEAL WITH THIS QUESTION.
The practices and beliefs of the Mormon Church and its members, are quite unique if comparing -- to those say, of evangelical Christians. The LDS Church is having a difficult time mainstreaming our doctrines, along side those who we consider ourselves a part of... so, I doubt this will ever happen.
We Accept New Revelation.
Mormonism Claims a Complete Restoration of the Original Church of Jesus Christ
Mormonism is not ‘old Christianity’ redone or reformed, but we claim a total Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; as He organized the Church, Himself, when upon the earth. We teach of an ‘Apostasy’ that occurred after the death of Jesus Christ, wherein all authority to administer His Church became extinct. Therefore, a restoration was necessary... just as many of the Protestant reformers felt was needful as well. We also teach, that this was foretold in the Bible and can be identified therein; as well as historically. That this did in fact occur, is easily identified to those who will study it out.
Based on these circumstances that the Mormon Church declares, and the opposition from many evangelical Christians; my answer as to whether the Mormons are a minority, would need to be a definite - YES, in regards to our doctrine.
There are many other reasons, that we could apply and still classify the Mormon Church as a minority, but that it still is, in regards to that which I have stated, is most likely enough.
Now, lets talk about the Mormon people, as a whole, as compared to say, 50 years ago... I had a friend that I went to High School with back in the 1970’s. She shared with me, that when she was younger, her family lived in Utah for a very short time. She is Catholic. She said that her mother did not like the Mormons. This is because she felt that they ostracized she and her children, from the other children in their neighborhood.
She was certain, that this was because they were ‘not’- Mormon. This was a very painful experience for their family, which left a bad taste in their mouths toward any Mormon. By the way, during the time I knew my friend, I was not active in the Mormon Church. Perhaps if I had been, she would not have shared her story with me. I am really glad that she did.
Compare that experience, with how things are currently, today. Mormons have been encouraged, over the last 30 years or so, to get out and meet their neighbors and make friends with them. This became absolutely necessary, in order for the Church to move their missionary efforts along. Prior to this, I would need to agree, that Mormons in general, were quite a closed knit group amongst one another. Still a fallback, from what the Church had experienced in the past, prior to the turn of the century.
- WHAT IS SO DIFFERENT ABOUT -- AND, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO CHANGE THINGS FOR MEMBERS OF THE LDS CHURCH TODAY?
Mormon Means - "more Good"!
Things have changed dramatically. The majority of people that know a Mormon, have most always had a very positive exchange or relationship with them. Even glowing! In fact, Mormons themselves, now aware, that the name ‘Mormon’, means - “more good”. What society has discovered, since the ‘Mormons’ decided to come outside and play with the rest of the gang, is that these people are probably some of the best neighbors you can have on your block.
The Mormons, particularly in the United States, are currently going through a transition as a people. They are now being encouraged to discuss their religion openly, with others. This previously was left to the ‘missionary’ force, to go out and educate people about the Mormon Church. This has been, a big jump for members of the LDS Church. Therefore, the question remains, as to whether the general population in general, is willing to accept LDS people, even with such different core beliefs, in religion, as opposed to those in the mainstream of our society.
The media, has been having quite the time over this past year, in particular, with the Mormon Church. When Mitt Romney decided to actually throw himself into the ring, to make a run for the President of the United States; every Mormon’s world just changed, a lot. Even if some of them don’t even realize it - yet!
The result? Total confusion. Why? Unfortunately, we do not live in a world any longer, where the actual ‘media’, gets to make all the rules. Just look at me, right now. I am speaking out, where multitudes can read my words... without a boss! Wild, isn’t it?
Literally uncensored! (not me of course - I am responsible) You get it though, right? Whatever curiosity that the general public had held previously, about the Mormons and Mormonism, are now, completely in confusion for many. The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day-Saints, has always had a very intense anti-movement, critical of the Church and literally on its heels constantly, since the day the Church was organized in 1830. But nothing the likes, of what the ‘new media’ has made it possible to perpetuate currently.
The distortions that have been put forth by this movement, regarding the beliefs, history and doctrines, taught and practiced in the Mormon Church; have made it very confusing for those who want to know the truth, and to feel confident, that this is actually what they are getting when they go out and search for it. This kind of uncertain confusion of who is telling the real story about the Mormons, only lends to the ‘mystery’ of the Mormons.
And just why, do they want to know - now? Wouldn’t you, IF the next President of the United States, could possibly be a MORMON? If you want to keep your opponent from getting the advantage, what do you do? Distract them... of course!
A Mormon For President?
Does The Church Support Political Candidates?
Mormons Helping to Change Perceptions
Which is exactly what is happening on the political front. You point out the negative of your opponent and take the lens off of yourself. Meanwhile, the opponent has to take the time to get up and dust off his pants and get back up again. If this is constantly happening to him, at barrage pace, most likely he will be so busy cleaning up that he won’t ever make it to the party.
In other words with the untamed media's ability that is available in the world today Mormons have been thrown into the ring, so to speak, because of Mitt Romney’s, now made nationally public - religious profile. Though it is not politics for the members, nevertheless, it is personal.
Now, this does not mean that you are a Mitt Romney fan. It means, because you are a Mormon. We didn’t volunteer to get in, nor did we seek the spotlight, but here we are as members of our Church, compelled, because of the necessity to clarify the onslaught of negativity towards that which is personal. I for one, had finally gotten tired of so much distortion, regarding many things that I believe, that are sacred, let alone the doctrinal confusion that is going on.
Just scramble those channels good enough, and no one will be able to tune in. Are members of the LDS Church bothered by all the hullabaloo that this is causing? No. Frankly, I’m glad that he has stood up so well to most of it. Many, many good people today, avoid politics, because of all the scrutiny that must be withstood, and endured.
- LACK OF INFORMATION -- TAKES ON FEAR!
I am very pleased actually, that as members of the LDS Church, we have had the door opened up, to share what we believe, with so many now, who are interested in listening, for various reasons. I don't feel that good communication, can do anything, but 'more good'.
Elder Ballard Invites Members of The Church To Get Online And Blog, etc...
LDS Members Invited To Go Out On The Internet And Get Involved In The Ongoing Conversations About Our Church!
About a month ago, Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, made a huge move, when he invited, on behalf of The Church; its members to go out onto the Internet - and just talk to people. He encouraged small conversations with others, about the Church. Nothing major at all. It was time for members of the LDS Church, to let people know exactly what is true, about the Mormons, particularly, them personally.
This in contrast, to the onslaught of negative and unauthorized individuals, speaking out and distorting our lives and that which we believe. As I have already mentioned, I am grateful that the LDS Church leaders have encouraged this of the members. I hope that when people do have questions about the Mormon Church, that they will ask a member of the LDS faith, their questions; and not go to those sources, who have nothing but ill intent, in their work. Their assertion, that all of the ‘Mormons’ are trying to hide secrets from you, is just ridiculous propaganda; with the intent to have you ‘not’ know for yourself.
- Q - In answer to your question -- How have our the traditions of the Mormon people, changed over the years?
The traditions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, continue to be the covenants that are made in Holy Temples, around the world. Currently, there are 136 temples worldwide, which includes the last announce in Brazil. (don't quote me, bc this can change 'daily') The most recent Temple to be completed and dedicated is the Rexburg, Idaho Temple.
Learn More About The Building of LDS Temples.
- LDS Temples - Mormon Temples - Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Featuring news, schedules, photographs, and interesting facts of the temples of the LDS (Mormon) Church.
Beautiful Temples ~ of a Worldwide Church.
The Traditions in the Mormon Church, Continue to Be - the Covenants Made in Holy Temples of the Lord, Today.
“One of the most significant teachings given by the Savior to the Apostles just prior to His arrest is this one recorded in John:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” This same doctrine was taught by King Benjamin in these words:
“There shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.”
These and many other scriptures, both ancient and modern, attest to the fundamental doctrine that Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice stand at the very center of the plan of salvation.
For a Latter-day Saint, the doctrine of salvation only in and through the name of Jesus Christ and the Church’s mission to invite all to come to Him pertain to all who have lived, or will ever live, on this earth. This doctrine is inclusive by its very nature and excludes or exempts no one.” (Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Ensign, August 2001)
Thus, the members of The Mormon Church, are ‘traditionally’ a temple loving people. It is our understanding, of the worth of each and every child of God, that leads us to this work. Jesus Christ performed the greatest vicarious work for all mankind. We are privileged to be engaged with that work, which He requires, that will ensure salvation to all of God’s children.
- Q & A: In answer to your question, as to whether our young people - frequently are found changing their beliefs?
Our youth are somewhat typical of most, in that we have a small percentage that become less-active for a short period, before returning to activity at some point in their life. It is rare, to hear of almost anyone for that matter, actually changing their beliefs from those of their Mormon teachings, to that of another faith. Complete inactivity is most always the result of a person who decides not to attend the Mormon Church ever again.
The Hearts of the People
In brief, the Mormon Church and it members, are a unique combination, that fit well together. From my view, I see, from the inside - looking in, are individuals, that are devoted to that which they most assuredly, have a testimony of - which is Jesus Christ. The dedication that is observed by this people, comes from living the principles found in LDS doctrines, and the many great blessing that they enjoy, because of their obedience, from generation to generation.
Jesus Christ taught, that for anyone to know Him, they must do that which He has done... If this is true, then I believe, that for us to know Him as families, we must be able to clearly identify Him, by the same patterns. Therefore He taught, that there was but one Church and one Lord...
This assurance, in unity, as both a Church and its people, has been forged, since the Church was organized through the prophet Joseph Smith; and are the covenants that every member makes, individually, when choosing to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, and enter into, the family of God, here upon the earth.
7 And it came to pass *after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts."
It is the sacred covenants -- made in the hearts of each of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, which are the Traditions; not of man-- but of Him whom we testify of, even Jesus Christ.