Mormons, a very conservative sect that followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, have increasingly been in the media spotlight in recent years, thank to shows like Big Love, Sister Wives, and various expose features that tried to get the inside information on the Mormon community. By far the most controversial act they follow is polygamy. However, not all Mormons are polygamists (the ones that are – FLDS and RLDS), some choose not to be (considering it is illegal to marry more than one person in the United States); but they have some other pretty interesting customs and beliefs, that we found quite, well, unbelievable. Here are some pretty out-there notions that people of the Mormon tradition follow.
The Earth Is How Old?
Despite modern science confirming that the earth is billions of years old, Mormons were told that the earth is a mere 7,000 years old (created in 4,004 BC) by Jesus Christ, rather than God. The teaching within the Book of Mormon explains that God gave Jesus the Solar System in a semi-raw form and Jesus was to take it from there and create what we know today. This whole concept is rather outlandish, especially considering we as a modern society count the years by the birth of Christ, meaning that 7,000 years ago, he wouldn’t have existed yet.
The Origin of The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon was published in 1820 by a man named Joseph Smith. He stated that the last prophet who wrote in the book came to him and told him where to find the text, which was written on a golden slab. It was said to be found in Upstate New York. The purpose of this book was to restore the true church of Jesus Christ, in the latter days; hence the name – The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints.
A true marriage in the eyes of the Mormon church can only take place in their sacred temple. Only devout Mormons can enter the temple to be a part of the wedding. Marriage, in the eyes of Mormonism, is an eternal bond, meaning that when a couple is married, they are married in this life and in the next, forever. A woman is only allowed to marry one man, and a man is allowed, and encouraged, to marry many women.
Dinosaur Bones Are From Another Planet
Again, despite modern science proving one thing (like the existence of dinosaurs on earth and the earth being billions of years old), the followers of Joseph Smith believe, as he taught, that dinosaur bones were brought to earth from another planet. Supposedly, the planet where these creatures lived and died on was destroyed when earth was created and that their bones were sent to earth to be a test of faith for those who say they are true believers of Joseph Smith’s way.
Within the Mormon faith, the average age of marriage for a woman is 23 years of age. This is the average because there are girls that are married as young as 14 and older women who are married into families as second, third or fourth wives, sometimes maybe more than that. A small problem within some Mormon sects is their incest ratio. Because they want to keep the faith and the blood of the followers as pure as can be, they tend to marry within the family, an example would be within the FLDS, a young girl courted and set to marry her much older uncle or cousin. In this photo is Warren Jeffs, the former president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and his fourth wife, who was a teenager. He is now serving 20 years in prison.
Polygamy is still very common amongst FLDS and RLDS Mormons. Within The Book of Mormon it is stated, “If ye abide not that covenant plurality of wives then are ye damned.” The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, had a whopping 40 wives, many of them just 14 years old when they were married to him. The theory was, that the more wives a man had, the more likely he was to enter the Celestial Kingdom they believed as the afterlife. Here we see a member of the FLDS with seven of his nine wives.
The consumption of any form of drugs or substance is completely prohibited for Mormons. They do not drink coffee, tea of alcohol, and do not partake in any drug use or substance abuse. They believe that they are to enjoy life in the purest form, without anything coming in between the reality of what is happening and the person’s psyche. They call this concept, ‘the pleasure of life’, and only depart from this strict rule in times of great hunger.
Believe it or not, Mormons have a special kind of undergarments they wear in order to avoid temptation. This dress code is for both men and women, and consists of full covering under the set of clothing the person is already wearing. One of the most important elements for Mormons is one of modesty and shying away from sin in every way possible. They have many rules and ideas as to what constitutes as sin, so with these underwear, they are sure to be reminded on a daily basis what not to do.
Joseph Smith, The First Mormon
Like we said, Joseph Smith was the man that published the Book of Mormon. He took the book and the followers of LDS from New York to Utah to grow their way of life. They believe that the first people were ‘formed’ in a little town in Missouri, and therefore the Garden of Eden is close by. Smith was killed by an angry mob in 1844 after taking the followers westward. The people then chose Brigham Young as their new prophet, where he would take them to Utah for resettlement.
There is a thing within the Mormon church were every family has to give 10% of their profit to the church for continued growth and financial security. These donations are ‘tithes’, and are more specifically defined as “one tenth of annual produce or earnings, formerly taken as a tax for the support of the church and clergy”. This rule is still upheld by the Mormon community and helps them remain seemingly above certain laws in the United States.
The Book Of Mormon AND The Bible
Now let us remind you, Mormonism is a religious tradition that takes its roots in Restorationist Christianity. The Bible, both new and old testaments are still adhered to, especially the ten commandments. The Book of Mormon is an addition to the Bible and is considered a more up to date version of how things were really done, essentially overriding other biblical notions. Mormons are very strict in their belief systems, and covet the Book of Mormon as their one true source for truth.
Baptism For The Dead
The Baptism for the Dead is a ceremony that is implemented in the LDS churches that decide to baptize individuals who did not get the chance to do so in their physical life. The dead have the choice of whether to accept or deny this ceremony. The baptism itself needs to be done by someone of the same gender. The Book of Mormon states that Jesus preached to the spirits of the dead to offer them a way to the Celestial Kingdom when their physical body would not have let them.
More Than One World
According to the Book of Mormon, there is more than one world, several in fact, in the universe and as many Gods that rule them. Here on earth we have our planet within our solar system, complete with three Gods that rule over us. The same theory is implemented to planets and worlds that we have no physical proof or knowledge of. The end game here is that if you were goo din your physical life, you will get to rule over a planet when you enter the Celestial Kingdom.
More Than One Heaven
Just like Mormons believe that there is more than one world out there and that if you play your cards right, you will one day be a God on that planet, they also believe in three heavens. These heavens are rated by how good you were in your physical life; they are on a hierarchal method so as to promote the need and want to be at the very top form of heaven.
No Play Sunday
Sundays are for prayer and spreading the word of God. So Sunday is not for playing. Where every other child in America gets some time off from the week to enjoy a good playground, swimming pool, or television show, Mormon children are prohibited from playing on Sundays. Within Catholicism itself, Sunday’s are a sacred day and therefore it should also be a day or rest and reflection, Mormons take the notion of Sunday, day of faith, to the extreme.
Black To White Upon Conversion
Before 1978, African Americans were not allowed to be given priesthood in the Latter Day Saints Church. One notion, that has since obviously been debunked, is that if you are African American and convert to the church, your skin will turn white. This is explains the criticism the church has been given about preaching white supremacy. This is no longer the case though, as there are clearly black members of the LDS church… who have remained black.
Mormons believe that their love is stronger and more divine that any other religion and tradition’s love. Because they get married in the Temple and their union is eternal, their love is more blessed and sacred that anyone else’s. This is a notion that many Mormons do not speak about, considering how offensive it is to those who are not within the Mormon fold. One of the many theories that causes a bit of outrage.
Men On The Moon
Mormons were taught to believe that there were men that lived on the moon. Joseph Smith taught his fellow Mormons that the people on the moon were dressed like quakers, had life spans that ranged to 1000 and were 6 feet tall. He explained that the Mormons of Earth would spread the word of the gospel to the moon’s population and introduce them to Jesus Christ after the second coming. This whole theory came from a statement in Abraham 3;5 that states, “the planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest.”
Garden Of Eden Is Local
So when you think Garden of Eden, you think somewhere either on earth in biblical form, or a place above the physical plane of earth. Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden is slightly more ‘local’ than that. More specifically, “Latter-day revelation specifies that as a mortal, Adam lived at Adam-ondi-Ahman in what is now Daviess County, Missouri. Several early LDS leaders, among them Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, stated that the Prophet Joseph Smith taught them that the Garden of Eden was located in what is now Jackson County, Missouri.”
Very much like the Amish, Mormons value modesty almost above all else. Pre-marital intimacy is banned, as is revealing clothing, certain ways of talking, like we said before – all forms of caffeinated beverages and substances that may harm a person’s ability to experience life in the most natural and raw way. The undergarments discussed before are the most obvious way Mormons keep modesty as a core part of their lives.
Baptism When You’re 8
Unlike other Christian communities, baptisms do not take place when born but rather when the child is 8 years old. Mormons believe that at the age of 8, a child is old enough to enter into the covenant of God willingly and is therefore asked before going forth with the baptism ritual. Obviously these children, raised within the Mormon tradition, are taught at home to always accept this, so that wait is moot, but this is how they do it nonetheless.
Birth Control Is Banned
Just like in most extremely conservative sect and extreme religiosity, birth control is entirely banned from use. Mormons do not believe in wasting a possible child in any given situation. They believe that a fetus is a god that takes human form, and that is the case from the very moment of conception; therefore there is no stopping it, not from preventing pregnancy to begin with and not terminating a pregnancy. Ever.
Jesus Came To Visit
The Book of Mormon states that Jesus came to America after his crucifixion took place, in the form of an angel. It is said that he taught the Native American tribes how to worship him, and lead the life he would like for his followers, so that they may enter the Celestial Kingdom. Joseph Smith stated Jesus wanted there was to be a new Jerusalem in the United States. Everything that is stated in The Book of Mormon is the word of Jesus, as told by several prophets and published by Joseph Smith in 1820.