4 Crazy Things Mormons Believe

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When people talk to me about the LDS Church, they almost immediately want to talk about the supposed “crazy” stuff about Mormons. How many wives do you have? Do you wear magic underwear? Do you think you are getting your own planet? (For the record: I only have one wife, but if May from “Agents of Shield” knocks on my door, we might be able to work something out; my underwear are sacred . . . it’s my socks that are magic; and I can barely cover my mortgage, so I don’t see myself upgrading to “planet” any time soon).

What really makes Mormonism stand out from other Christian faiths is some of our core doctrines, not the stuff that critics of the Church like to spend a lot of time on. So, what kind of crazy things do we really believe?

1. We Believe That What You Believe Matters

Doctrine is not doing well these days. The nature of God, our purpose in life, and what happens after we die have gotten so murky within much of Christianity that it makes the Nicene Creed look like an exemplar of clear writing. “Spirituality” is good, while “religion” is bad. You believe what you believe, and if a church happens to dovetail with those notions, even better.

Mormons really do believe that belief matters. We think that God has a plan and purpose for us and a desire that we understand it and be able to follow it. It is fairly clear from the Bible that our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ cared about what we believe and wanted to help us come to know Them. Mormons believe that truth—things as they really are—can be found and followed. We insist, along with Agent Mulder, that “the Truth is out There.”

2. Mormons Also Believe That What You Do Matters

Those nutty Mormons. When Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” they went and took Him seriously. We believe that God gives us the freedom to make choices, along with directions about how that freedom should be used. Moses came down from the mountain with commandments, not a suggestion box. We believe that if you follow the commandments of God, your life here on earth will be happier, and your condition following this life will be better. Mormons believe that you don’t get to do whatever you want and expect God to give it a seal of approval. We believe in Christ’s grace, but we don’t believe that it is an excuse to let all of the monkeys out of the cages. There are limitations and bounds that God has set for us to ensure our happiness and enrich our lives, and He kind of expects us to pay attention.

3. Speaking of God, Mormons Believe That He Is a Personal, Attentive Father in Heaven

I don’t mean to denigrate anyone’s faith. It is probably because I wasn’t raised an environment that observed the traditional creedal notions of the Trinity that they sound to me kind of like a description of the Force. The description is kind of fuzzy to me. Shiny fuzzy, but still fuzzy. For Mormons, Joseph Smith put a face back onto God. The same face that Moses spoke to, as a friend. The face that Stephen saw beside Christ. The face of a loving Father in Heaven, who is not just a physical personage, but a personal God. He is invested in us as His children. Although the glory of God is incomprehensible to us, His nature as a holy personage at least makes Him approachable. Having a relationship with a perfect Father is, to me, infinitely more attractive than a relationship with an impersonal universe that embraces some vague notion of goodness. The universe is really big. A Father can take my hand.

4. We Also Believe That God Loves Us Enough to Be Involved in Our Lives

Mormons face constant criticism for supposedly not taking the Bible seriously. But when it comes to our relationship with God, Mormons are crazy literal about the Bible. In the Bible, God was actively involved in the lives of His children. He always had an appointed leader who spoke on His behalf on issues of immediate importance to the people. In the Old Testament, those were prophets. In the New Testament, they were apostles. But throughout the Bible, God had stuff to say, and an established way of saying it.

Then the apostles were killed off, a back cover was put on the Bible, and God moved to a condo in Tampa, where He keeps to Himself, never calling, never writing. At least, that’s what part of modern Christianity more or less suggests. The ideas of God answering prayers directly and personally, of having an appointed spokesperson on Earth, of Him caring enough about His children to guide them through a very confusing world? That’s nuts. If you talk to God, people will put you on a pedestal. If He talks back to you, they’ll put you in a rubber room.

Mormons are crazy enough to believe that God hasn’t changed up His method of operation now that His children have flying machines and deodorant. Amos tells us that God will do “nothing” unless He reveals his secrets to “His servants, the prophets.” Since prophets cannot be found anymore, one must assume that God is doing nothing, which just doesn’t fit well with what we learn of Him in the Bible. Mormons don’t accept that. We believe in revelation, in modern prophets, in a church led by God not in the sense of pledging allegiance to Him, but in the sense of hearing and following His voice.

Sure, we Mormons have our quirks. Our music is kind of plodding. Our wedding receptions are short, dull, and way too heavy on red punch. We celebrate Pioneer Day and we struggle to find anything that we can buy at Starbucks. But our core wackiness is found in our beliefs in a personal, loving God, in a faith that matters, and in a discipleship that demands purposeful living.

It’s the lunacy of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Of Isaiah and Jeremiah. Of Jesus, Peter and Paul. If we are crazy, we at least hope we are keeping good company.

California Native. Texas lawyer. Long-time Mormon. Zen master wannabe. Confident that Mormonism is about more than casseroles and plodding music, and insisting that the Gospel isn't as hard as some people make it.
  • Luisa Lotofou

    I know what I believe, and that I don’t care what other said about me and my belief but what matters the most is what God think about me. Just beware of anti-christ going around.. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (mormons) is true.

    • Dustin

      AMEN….me too

  • Julie Brown Australia

    You kids crack me up. Respectful debate is good for us all. Emphasis on the respectful.

    CTR

    🙂

  • Joseph baker

    Joseph Smith was born December 23, 1805 in the town of Sharon Vermont. In his 15th year 2 glowing persons allegedly appeared to him. God the Father and Jesus Christ. Joseph was told not to join any exsisting religious groups for they were all abominations in God’s sight.then again on the evening of September 21 st 1823, an ” angel ” named Moroni supposedly appeared 3 times to Joseph. everytime telling Joseph that he was sent from god to reveal ancient gold plates with inscribed the history of the inhabitants of the Americas. With the plates were 2 stones used to translate the plates. The next day Joseph found the plates buried on his hillside….but was told he would be givin the plates when he was worthy. On March 20 th 1826 Joseph Smith as found guilty of fraud in Bainbridge New York. On September 22 1827 he found the plates, with the help of Mr. Oliver Cowdery who was the coppier, the Book Of Mormon was born. 3 witnesses testified to seeing the gold plates Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer…later all 3 either left the church or denied ever seeing the plates. being raised catholic I always wondered why you both chose that path…I dont understand the doctrine that we are on the same level as jesus crist. and that God and Jesus are the same spiritual being all Knowing

    • DG

      Umm… the witnesses never denied seeing the plates-ever; and both Cowdery and Harris came back to the church before their deaths. Might I recommend some more reading, perhaps, A Reason for Faith by Laura Hales or Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman.

    • Greg

      I studied Catholicism for five months prior to my investigation into the LDS CHURCH and there were some mighty tight knots of doctrine that I couldn’t untangle, the whole Nicene Creed being the main one. The second one is how the Bishop of Rome, the Holy See, the Nope Pope could not be considered a prophet because a Bishop is NOT a prophet. Bishops preside over the lower or Aaronic Priesthood, prophets preside over the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood. Cardinals are not Apostles, never have been or never will be. Priests demand to be called ‘Father’ when it says that to call no man Father except God or your earthly father. Celibate bachelor clergy should never be in the position to give marriage and family counseling when they have no common frame of experience or perspective. The flamboyancy and ostentatiosness of Catholic clergy is opposite the simplicity and planners of the Lord Jesus Christ and the complex doctrines within Catholicism near little resemblance to the plain and simple original doctrine of Christ. Thank goodness for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, His Priesthood and living prophets.

  • Lili

    Yea whatever. Just don’t strap a bomb on and try to blow something up.

  • DG

    Well done! As for the planet issue- there was quite a lot in the 19 century church, particularly things taught by Brigham Young, that have fallen out of favor and are not considered doctrine. Some of those beliefs still circulate- mostly in anti-lds circles. Seriously, there’s much Young taught that I would have a hard time following today. I wish non- members would consider the fact, and current members would realize, Christianity has been around 2000 years. There are beliefs held in time past by a variety of denominations that are no longer favored today. Christianity has evolved through the ages ( into a whole lot of denominations with some core similarities, and but a number of doctrinal differences. LDS doctrine was not delivered as a whole, complete package to Joseph Smith in 1829; he received the skeleton needed to drape restored doctrines over, to flesh out, if you will… but we’ve only had 200 years, not 2000 years to with our the kinks. Give us a break! If you want to educate yourselves, go back and read the “crazy” things believed in times past by your own faith or denomination. The book ” Mormon Jesus: a Biography” by John Turner, does a wonderful, even handed, very generous job at compare and contrast on a number of topics, and dissects a number of LDS beliefs in context of Christianity, church fathers, and other believers from times past. We’re not so “weird” as some would like to make us out to be. But sure as shooting, we are Christian!

  • Craig Killingsworth

    Just ask yourself this simple question.every religion has two or three versions due to interruption of that religion.
    Why is it that Christianity has some many version of there religion, isn’t that troubling?

    • Mic

      As a Christian I can tell you that isn’t true. There is the core doctrine and the rest is flavor. What I find interesting is the 9 versions of the first vision.

      You were told that Christians are not unified, but it just isn’t true. There is one God and he is Jesus who died for our sins. Any other differences are not a salvation issue. They are more a matter of flavor. Therefore, as followers of Jesus we do not follow me, we only follow him who saved us. And our worship of him brings us the freedom to express it in a way that resonates with us.

      If you look at the foundation of the LDS faith you would realize that the Gospel you follow not only does not resemble the original church, most of it found in the book of mormon. If you were to follow the teachings of the original church you would be involved in one of the other sects of mormonism. Most LDS people are not even aware if their own doctrine. The book of Mormon testifies of the triune God while Joseph Smith refured what is written tell you you that God was once a man. He contridicts not only the bible, but the book of Mormon as well. Not bashing, just correcting incorrect notions about Christianity and sharing truth about one of the many contributions I’m the LDS religion.

  • Craig Killingsworth

    You also have to realize there are two types of active Mormons, please don’t get them confused with one another. If acting and struggling to do good will no matter the religion is a great thing and is in no anybodys place tho judge the other. I do not believe you can just accept Jesus Christ into your heart and then go about your daily lives and get a free ticket to heaven, it just does not work that way you have to hold yourself too higher standard and follow the teachings of the living Lord to over come Satan and return to him some day. Every thing has rules and regulations for a reason.so stay strong my friends it will pay off, that is his promise.

  • Jonathan

    Amazing!

  • Jonathan

    Simple marvelous

  • Stephanie D

    It is truly sad that posts and articles like these bring out so much anger and hatred. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I truly do not think any of our beliefs are crazy. When I read about the beautiful temple being built here in Tucson, AZ.. There was so much hatred and anti-mormon talk going on. We let you believe what you do.. So, please let us believe what we do. As a whole, our church is one of, if not the most giving, charitable and loving. We help others despite their faiths, we have zero debt and as a whole are a good people. We focus on the importance of families and love. If you want to know more about our faith.. the actually truth.. Talk to a missionary.. Yes, those guys/girls on bikes that everyone seems to be freaked out by. They really are great and can get you the answers you seek. If you decide our faith is not for you. So be it.. But, at least you sought out the answers for yourself.. PRAY about it!! I promise the Lord will never lead you astray.. But please.. PLEASE do not bash other religions.. Its truly not right, and not very Christlike.

    • Mic

      I feel no hatred or anher whatsoever. I’m just correcting and incorrect judgement about what is written about the Christian church. The LDS church is guilty of the very thing they misjudge the Christian church by. The LDS doctrine is all over the map and if you read the essays on.the church website, you will begin to see that. One example is that there are 9 versions of the first vision and the translation was not from the plates but from a stone in a hat. And those are very small. The largest being that the entire temple ceremony was nearly duplicated from that of the freemasons. In some cases it is word for word, and there us not one thing that is biblical that goes on in there. Not one.

      Like I said, not upset of even angry but feeling the need to defend falsehoods about Christianity. I wish you well.

  • Craig Davis

    Thank you for your thoughtful article.

  • Gretchen

    Yes, you actually DO believe that you will receive your own planet.

    It sounds ridiculous in this day and age so the church is downplaying it just like the golden plates being hidden in the mountainside and mother in heaven, but that is all part of church doctrine

    • Rob Ghio

      Thank you for letting me know what I believe. Silly me, thinking that I knew what was in my own head. But you have set me straight.

      • Vidottsen

        Ditto.

      • Cinbu

        I love it when people tell me what I believe. Most of those people have put their beliefs to no more study than what Mama told them, or worse, what they decided at the spur of the moment. I am thankful for a kind and loving Heavenly Father, and his Church.

    • Christopher D. Cunningham

      While I always find it amusing when people try to tell me what I believe, I can tell you with great certainty that while the golden plates being hidden and a Mother in Heaven are in fact LDS doctrine, receiving a planet is not. Perhaps you are confusing this with the idea of exaltation in general to which you are ascribing speculated specifics.

    • Catherine Peddi

      I take it that you are not L.D.S., Gretchen, because you are so willing to tell Mormons what they believe in such simplistic terms and in a way that comes across as accusing. Nowhere did the author say he would receive his own planet, which is a phrase straight from Anti-Mormon literature. I know. I’ve read all about what Mormons supposedly believe based on taking what Mormons do believe and twisting it. I find it odd that so many people will believe what a non-Mormon believes about Mormons. Would I ask a Palestinian to tell me about Jewish people? My only suggestion is that if you want to really know what Mormons believe, go directly to the source or do what I did–actually READ the Book of Mormon and then ask God if what you read is true. It says a lot about a person who would preach about Mormons without having even touched the Book of Mormon, which is a second witness of Jesus Christ. Many critics have never even read the Bible, which Mormons also believe. Wow! Talk about weird stuff: talking donkeys, unicorns and a man surviving being swallowed by a whale! Yet millions of people accept these stories but can’t seem to get past the “weird stuff” that Mormons believe. Go figure.

    • Scott Robertson

      No we don’t believe that we will recieve our own planet. If you want to wade way deep into it, we do believe that IF and only if we strictly adhere to God’s laws and guidence we can some day become LIKE him. That is the truth. If you want to know what we believe ask a member of the church, do not believe statements written by anti-mormon authors as they tend to have their own agenda.
      We are just like you, searching to find our way through this life. Trying to find joy and happiness and contentment. We love our Father and cherish the fact that we can have his influence in our lives.

    • Vidottsen

      My own planet. ..hmmm…that’s one I’ve never heard at General Conference or read in the scriptures. Maybe I’ll have to pay more attention. Just think, my very own planet. I hope it’s a productive one and not dried up like Mars. I wonder what I’ll do with it. Maybe bowl or play soccer. Maybe I’ll find a hoop made out of asteroids. Thanks for the information. It sounds like fun.

    • Mic

      There is so much the beautiful LDS people don’t even.know about their own doctrine it is so sad. The real story is far from the romantic one they tell today.

  • Jan

    Yeah, okay, but you Mormons really do believe some crazy things. Way to try to distract and beat the bullies to the punch though.

    • Catherine Peddi

      Do you believe the Bible, Jan? There are some pretty strange things in there.

    • Vidottsen

      You got it.

  • Nelson Dorny

    To Cheryl Robinson: He was speaking to people who do not respect his faith. If you respect his faith, he was not speaking to you. “Mormons” are treated rather rudely, publicly, by both the leaders and members of a significant segment of the Christian world for not believing in the “Trinity” concept. We have what we believe is conclusive evidence that that concept did not come from God or his Son. At least one of us is wrong. Mr. Ghio noted that society is moving away from God and views Him of little relevance. Active believing Mormons are determined not to move with the rest of society because we know that God is not dead .

  • Cheryl Robinson

    As a former Mormon and a devout Christian. You have denigrated and ridiculed my faith. I pray and receive answers from God. The Lord walks with me daily and holds my hand. Not physically but in spirit. The Trinity is one of those beliefs that is hard to understand but as the L.D.S. church states, it will be revealed when we see our God face to face. Please respect my beliefs as I do yours.

    • Catherine Peddi

      You take offense where none is given. If saying that Mormons don’t believe in the Trinity and that both can’t be right is offensive to you and is denigrating your religion, perhaps Mormons could find offense in what seems to be the current trend against them, that they are not Christians because they believe in a ‘different’ Jesus. You say you are Christian and I accept that. Please accept my belief that I, too, am Christian even though we don’t always agree.

  • Ivan D. Stoddard

    Crazy! “The Hunt for Red October” describes me very well. Our Savior’s atonement is meant to be accessed. As crazy as it is getting, I feel it to be my duty and choice to out-crazy the world. Well kept company is what strengthens a searching soul. As crazy as it sounds, exaltation is my goal. Thank you Rob, for the shot in the arm!

  • Howard Collett

    If only more of us would be so crazy.

  • Well said.

  • Bea Szoka

    I have great hopes for the improvement of music in the Mormon Church. Meanwhile, I’ll keep enjoying the plodding stuff… hee hee. Seriously, thank you.

    • DG

      Lol! I love our hymns, but half of the time they aren’t played at the speed noted on the page. If organists would/ could play at tempo, most songs wouldn’t sound like funeral dirges! That ones thing I love about conference- good music, played properly!

      • CBower

        We organists are following the music conductor who may or may not be leading the music at the recommended pace. They typically don’t like the organist “taking over the tempo”. Even when the organist and conductor are trying to go at the right pace, it is most often the congregation holding us back. I had a congregation member complain to me about “my” slow tempos. Little did he know that I wanted more than ever to go faster, but was bound by the conductor. I’m sure my communication skills needed to improve with her but that didn’t happen. Thankfully the church gives us callings to improve our abilities and talents. We can all improve. Be patient with us and follow the conductor which may help the other congregation people go at the faster pace.

  • Judy Parnell

    Thank you wise and witty spokesman of my heart!

    • Rob Ghio

      Ah, shucks.

  • Judie Chandler

    This perfectly expresses my belief.

  • robins sister

    Best writer!

  • Outstanding.