Facts About Mormons Your Probably Didn’t Know About

Mormons are an interesting religious group. They are a sect of Christianity with unique practices. Founded by Joseph Smith in the 1800s, they have since grown into an incredibly large and prominent group within the US. You may have had a pair of young Mormons stop by your house even. Everyone’s familiar with who the Mormons are, but not nearly as familiar on what they do. So, here are some interesting facts about Mormons that you might not know about.

Joseph Smith


Joseph Smith is the founder and creator of Mormonism. At 14-years old, he wandered around America, looking for the “correct” sect of Christianity and came to the conclusion that they were all wrong. He claimed to have had a vision from God wherein Jesus said that none of the sects were truly correct. Following a supposed visit from an angel named Moroni, he came to the conclusion that he needed to find a book written on golden plates which contained the ancient gospel of a group of people. He then formed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1830.

The Book Of Mormon


Just based off of the name, you might assume that Mormons do not like this play. As it turns out though, most Mormons are actually huge fans. That’s especially surprising, considering the fact that it was written by the creators of South Park, people that are famous for making fun of everything.

Reenactments


Apparently Mormons don’t just like the play, but they reenact it as well. Every July, 10,000 Mormons gather to put on their own rendition of the show. They call the event the “Hill Camorra Pageant”. It has a cast of 650 people put on a ten-level stage. The event coincides with Pioneer Day, an official celebration of the State of Utah, celebrating the arrival of the Mormons to Salt Lake Valley.

They Believe In Aliens


There are a lot of scientists that believe in extraterrestrial life. Mormons do too, but they manage to weave their religion in it. They believe that God created several planets with intelligent life as a part of his grand design. And each of those different species have developed their own version of Mormonism, brought on by their own version of Joseph Smith.

Special Underwear


Mormons are mandated to wear these special undergarments, every day and night and to important church functions. No matter what, you must wear these under your clothes. Some people actually believe that these undergarments protect those that wear them from harm. This idea is supported by the number of near-death experiences are miraculous saves of Mormons who were in these undergarments.

Secret Handshake


All religions have their rites of passage and manners to indoctrinate others. While most adapt interesting practices as a result, Mormons also have unique ways of greeting each other. As it turns out, Mormons have secret handshakes and key phrases they can say to one another. These are kept very secretive within the Church though. It’s a major taboo to share them with anyone not a part of the faith. They’re also not called handshakes, they’re called signs, seals, or tokens. Mormons probably won’t take too kindly to if you call it a handshake.

Fear Of Water


People have an assumption that Mormons are afraid of large bodies of water. The idea is that when they’re around water, they’re away from God’s protection. They do practice caution around large bodies of water, but no more than a normal person. This misconception may come from a canoe journey made by Joseph Smith and some Mormon elders in the 19th Century. According to the stories, Smith received another message from God, telling him that the the water had been cursed by “my servant John”. It was taken to mean just the Missouri River that they were traveling on, but some assume this may mean all large bodies of water.

Jesus Came To America


All Christian sects disagree with each other, but one of the biggest piece of contention between Mormons and other Cristian sects is the idea that Jesus came to America. They believe that after Jesus’ death and resurrection, he came to America. It’s actually important to their beliefs, because they believe America to be the promised land. And it’s believed that Jesus will eventually return to America as well.

God Was A Man


According to Mormonism, God wasn’t always God. He was once an ordinary man, just like everyone else. The reasoning behind this was that God wanted to create roadmap to bring humanity closer to godliness. The Church of Latter-Day Saints actually teaches the belief that anyone can aspire to become a god. The god that is currently around wasn’t the first one, and they certainly won’t be the last.

The Godhead


Members of more traditional sects of Christianity are familiar with the idea of Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Most sects perceive these as different aspects of the same god. Mormons, however, view the trinity as three distinct entities. Despite this, they’re still one in thoughts and actions. Together, they’re known as the Godhead.

The Heavenly Mother


Some modern Mormon women pray to an entity known as the Heavenly Mother. In Mormonism, she is the mother of all human spirits and the wife of God the Father. Although, she’s not exactly mainstream to the Mormon religion. Only the Heavenly Father was mentioned to be an address to the faithful’s prayers.

Fiery Baptism


A lot of Christian sects, if not all of them, believe that Jesus will eventually return. The specific Mormon-brand of Christianity believes that the Earth will be baptized by fire and Jesus will return to rule over it. Those that die in the “baptism” will be reborn with healthy bodies and will “never be the same”. Also, apparently the Earth will turn into a crystal.

Stone Gazing


Apparently, in the past, Joseph Smith had been put on trial for “stone gazing”, a form of folk magic. It seemed as though he included information in his writings that would make said practices more socially acceptable. However, he also removed allusions to other folk practices in his life, like magic circles and seer stones.

The Three Heavens


The Mormon cosmology is a little complicated. It sort of has three heavens. There’s the paradise which is what most people would call Heaven. Then there’s the spirit prison, which is basically Hell. But after the “final judgement” there will be four different options. There’s the Celestial Kingdom for the Mormons. The Terrestrial Kingdom is for people that followed Moses, but not Smith (non-Mormon Christians). And the Telestial Kingdom is for people that lived moral lives, but weren’t Christians. Then there’s the outer darkness, where the morally bankrupt end up.

Mormon In Law Enforcement


Mormons are a pretty sought-after demographic for law enforcement and intelligence organizations, like the FBI or CIA. There are a few different reasons, but one of them is that they have a strict sense of morals. More devout Mormons will abstain from drugs or alcohol. The Church of Latter-Day Saints actually has special programs in place to get more Mormons recruited into law enforcement.

Independence


Because of the sheer number of Mormons that live in Utah, people often assume that their seat of power is there. Others, more specifically, assume it’s in Salt Lake City. However, the true “capital” of the Mormon world is in Independence, Missouri. They believe that’s where the righteous will gather for the second coming of Jesus Christ. They even believed the Garden of Eden was in Missouri. However, Missourians didn’t take too kindly to this and the Mormons were chased out before settling in Utah.

Baptism After Death


Baptism is a big part of any Christian religious sect, especially with the Mormons. However, Mormons have a unique practice, that being posthumous baptisms. They believe that after someone dies not in the faith, they will be sent to a Spirit Prison to be to learn the Mormon Gospel until a living person is baptized on their behalf. However, out of respect, they won’t baptize someone with a particularly sensitive religious or political history.

No Polygamy


People associate the idea of polygamy very heavily with the Mormons. It was even seemingly made illegal in response to the LDS Church in 1890. However, as it turns out, a majority of Mormons actually spoke out against the idea of polygamy, even in 1830 when Joseph Smith founded the church. While polygamy was banned in the US in 1890, the church, itself, banned it not long after.

Tithing


Christians are likely familiar with the idea of tithing. That’s giving a portion of your salary to your church, helping to keep the church functioning and to pay its employees. However, Mormons really go above and beyond in that aspect. They’re required to pay one-tenth of their salary as a tithe. Because of this, the Mormon church receives around 5 billion dollars every year.

Name Preferences


The LDS church and its followers have a variety of names, but the most commonly known one is Mormon. Although, Mormons don’t really prefer to be called as such. They prefer the full name of their church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, often abbreviated to LDS or LDS Church. That would be because Mormonism is a larger theology as a whole. Someone may identify as a Mormon, but not be a member of the LDS Church. There are Mormon Fundamentalists and even cultural Mormons.

Christian Schism


Fundamentalist Christian groups and the Mormons just do not get along. Smith and his followers were persecuted heavily during their early years and chased out of several towns before they ended up in Utah. Smith, himself, received many death threats, with one person actually making good on their threat when he was assassinated in 1844. Baptists seem to especially have it out for the Mormons. They held one of their annual conventions in Salt Lake City for the explicit purpose of converting some of the Mormons to their more evangelical ideals.

Children


Mormons are known for having particularly large families with many children. That makes it easy to think that’s a part of the doctrine. Supposedly, this is because Mormons believe that every person alive had a “spirit life” before they were born on Earth. Having many children provides those spirits with new bodies, while also having the benefit of increasing the size of the faith. However, Mormon couples are actually free to choose however many children they want to have.

Banned Drinks


Mormon doctrines not only ban the consumption of alcohol among its practitioners, but also any hot drink that isn’t herbal tea. It makes sense why alcohol, and even coffee to an extent. Caffeine isn’t particularly great for the body, and neither is a dependency on it. However, all hot drinks? Really?

They Live Healthy Lifestyles


Everyone should live a healthy lifestyle, but the Mormons seem to elevate that idea, at least just a little. They do not smoke or drink alcohol. And they mostly eat fruit and vegetables, with only a little bit of meat. Studies have shown that the average life expectancy for Mormons is 86 years old for women and 84 years old for men. That’s a few years higher than the average U.S. life expectancy of 78 years old.

Twilight


If you didn’t know this already, Stephanie Meyer, author of The Twilight Saga, is a Mormon. And she took a few ideas from her religion while making this novel series. Particularly, the idea of “celestial marriage”. That’s the idea that, after a couple is married on the earthly plane, they are bound together in the afterlife as well. Meyer has stated she didn’t consciously include any ideas from Mormonism, but she likely still wrote through her worldview.

Mormonism And Native Americans


According to Mormons, in 600 BCE, members of the Abrahamic religious family (the religion that would eventually become Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), traveled from the Middle East to the Americas. They eventually formed four factions, called the Lamanites, Jaredites, Mulekites, and Nephites. The Lamanites, however, grew more powerful and destroyed the other tribes after falling out of favor with God. Mormons believe that the Lamanites are the ancestors of Native Americans.

How To Tell If A Messenger Is Real


This is referring to a messenger from God, or an angel. Mormons believe that the way to tell an angel from a demon is really simple: just hold out your hand for a handshake. A firm grip means that it’s an angel. If you feel nothing, that means it’s a demon.

Jesus And Satan Are Brothers


Speaking of angels and demons, the Mormon church believes that Jesus and Satan are siblings. For those more familiar with Christianity, it’s not too farfetched of an idea. They say that Satan wasn’t born evil, back when he was still Lucifer, but simply became too power hungry and was cast out of Heaven. Also, Satan is Jesus’ younger brother.

Mormonism Is Expanding


In 26 states in the U.S., Mormonism is actually the fastest growing religion. It might have something to do with all those events and missions, but they have a message people are listening to. To keep pace with their growing size, they started an initiative that had 32 new temples built all across the country. There are also 100 temples internationally, serving more than 11 million Mormons.