Hi all, there's another thread over in the Secret Societies message board where I explain much about Mormonism. I'll re-iterate some of the points
in this post, and maybe explain a few things I didn't in the other post. For background's sake, I will say that I grew up in the Mormon Church, but
have since left the religion (I guess I'd be what is called an ex-Mormon). I believe that it is a very controlling and domineering religion with many
cultish aspects, although I don't care to pontificate on its alleged "evilness" or its connection to higher powers (such as the Illuminati).
1. Mormons also call themselves Latter-Day Saints. The official name of the Mormon Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They
believe that they are the only "true" church on the face of the earth, and that they are the only ones with the "fullness" of the gospel. All
other churches have only the partial truth or are patently false. Mormons used to espouse this idea proudly, though the Church's PR machine (under
the direction of its current Prophet and President, Gordon B. Hinkley) hasn't towed this hard-line for the last decade. Mormons believe they are
Christians because they believe in the Savior Jesus Christ. Most other Christians disagree.
2. I don't believe that Mormonism is a Masonic construct, although it has roots in Masonic practices. Mormons practice secret (or sacred, if you ask
them) ceremonies in their temples. Only worthy adult members of the Church are allowed into the Mormon temple. Many of the signs and tokens in Mormon
temple ceremonies come straight out of Masonry, and the Salt Lake City temple is riddled with Masonic symbols. This is due to the fact that Joseph
Smith was, in fact, a Mason, and many of the founding members of the Church had Masonic connections. The Mormon temple ceremony includes such Masonic
things as the Sure Sign of the Nail and the Five Points of Fellowship. Joseph Smith contrived the temple ceremony some weeks after attaining a certain
degree within Masonry. He believed that the Masonic practices were indeed handed down from the time of Solomon's temple, but that they had been
corrupted. In contriving the temple ceremony, he believed that he was restoring the practices back to their original, holy state. While the temple
ceremony includes many Masonic signs and tokens, the verbage of the ceremony and the ceremony itself are pretty divorced from what you would see in a
Masonic ceremony. Nevertheless, the connection does exist.
3. The keystone of Mormonism is the Book of Mormon. When he was 18 or so, Joseph Smith, Mormonism's founder, reportedly discovered the book, which
had been penned on golden plates by the ancient author Mormon, and secreted away in the hills of New York. Mormons believe an angel (Moroni) appeared
to Joseph one night and told him about the plates. He saw allowed to see them on the same day (September 22) for four years, before God allowed him to
finally handle them. He then went about the process of "translating" the plates. (I won't get into the process of translation, but it involved
Joseph sticking a "seer stone" in the bottom of a hat and then sticking his head in the hat - though most Mormons are unaware of this.) At any rate,
Joseph says he translated the book of Mormon from these ancient golden plates, which, strangely enough, no one was really allowed to see. A common
Mormon belief (though patently false) is that Joseph did this all at the age of 14. Not true, Joseph communed with God and Jesus when he was 14
(Mormons call this event the First Vision), then first learned of the plates from the angel Moroni when he was 17 or 18. The Book of Mormon wasn't
actually published until Smith was 23 (almost 24).
4. The Book of Mormon (in short) tells the story of the family of Lehi (whose "most righteous son" was Nephi), who left Jerusalem around 600 BC
(just before the Babylonian Captivity) and subsequently (through revelation) were led to sail across the sea to the Americas. The book then continues
on to tell the story of their descendents, chronicling the time between 600 BC - 400 AD. The book tells how some of Lehi's sons turn away from their
Jewish traditions, wherein God curses them with a dark skin, and they henceforth become known as Lamanites (while those that remain true come to be
known as the Nephites). The book chronicles the struggles between these two groups of people, and also tells how Jesus visited the righteous ones
after his resurrection. To make a long story short, all of the Nephites (white and delightsome) are killed by the Lamanites. Old-school Mormons
(Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and, more recently, Spencer W. Kimball) taught that the Native Americans were all descendents of the Lamanites, and
that if they would just receive the gospel, they would become white and delightsome.
5. Another book in Mormon scripture is the Pearl of Great Price. At some point during his tenure in Nauvoo, IL, Joseph Smith acquired some Egyptian
mummies and funeral papyra. He quickly "discovered" that the papyra were actually texts that had been written by Father Abraham, and he then
proceeded to translate them into the Pearl of Great Price. This book tells the story of the creation of the world (wherein he talks about a council of
Gods), and it further deepens certain points of Mormon theology. The actual papyra was thought to be lost, but was rediscovered in the 50's or 60's,
wherein it was discovered that the papyra was actual standard Egyptian funeral text - the Book of the Dead. Apologists, however, have ways of
explaining away this discrepency.
6. Mormons believe that God is sovereign over this world - that he is Lord and Master, Alpha and Omega. However, they believe that God, Jesus, and the
Holy Ghost are separate personages. God and Jesus have actual physical (albeit immortal) bodies. They also believe that God was once a man, and that
man may become as God. God has a wife (many, probably) that bears spirit children, who then come to earth to be tested, and upon successful completion
of the test can become Gods/Goddesses themselves, able to create their own worlds and populate them with their own spirit children, thereby allowing
them to perpetuate the cycle, which has been continued on ad infinitum.
7. Mormons no longer practice polygammy. The practice was abandoned in the 1890s, because of political pressure from the United States government.
There are many fringe and splinter groups in Utah that do still practice polygammy (an estimated 50000 - 100000). In order to be admitted as a state,
Utah was forced to abandon polygammy. The Church officially denounced it, though it continued on in private up until the 1920's. Now, the Church
takes a hard stance against it, and no man is allowed to have more than one wife. However, Mormons believe that polygammy is a celestial law, and that
it will be practiced in the hereafter.
8. Mormonism also has some origins in the occult, or the folk magic practices of rural America in the early 1800's. Joseph Smith's family was
steeped in mysticism, and he was a known treasure digger and divinier. All of this is outlined in D. Michael Quinn's well-researched book called
"Early Mormonism and the Magic World View." Quinn is a homosexual who was once a history professor at Brigham Young University; he has since been
excommunicated from the Church. Most Mormons dismiss him because he is a homosexual - obviously, he's got an agenda. But, his material is
meticulously researched and well-worth the read.
9. The Mormon temple ceremony has changed over the years. The pre-1900 ceremony included oaths to avenge the blood of Joseph Smith and to see to the
downfall of the American government. However, when word of this reached US officials, political pressure forced Mormons to change the ceremony. The
ceremony was again changed in 1990, where certain blood oaths (complete with signs of throat slashing and disembowelment) were removed, probably due
to social pressure. The oaths were sworn, and oaths are still taken, to prevent members from revealing the ceremony. It is considred sacred and not to
be discussed outside of the temple. Anyone interested could probably find it online.
10. The Mormon Church is rich. To be considered a worthy Mormon, you must be a full-tithe payer, which involves tithing on 10% of your gross income.
It's estimated that the Church is worth over $30 billion, and secures single-digit $ billion each year (though the current economic downturn has
probably taken its toll on these figures). Tithing is in addition to wellfare offerings (donations to the Church's wellfare arm). The Church is, of
course, a tax-exempt organization that DOES NOT disclouse its financial records to its members, let alone the general public.
11. Mormons believe (though it is not as emphasized as it once was) that blacks are the descendents of Cain who slew Abel. Brigham Young (a product of
his day) that interracial relations were grounds for execution. Until recently, black members of the Church were not allowed to hold the Holy
Priesthood. In 1978, due to political pressure or revelation (however you choose to see it), the Church abandoned that stance, and blacks are now able
to hold the priesthood. The lay clergy of the Church is unpaid - its all voluntary. And the full-time servants of the Church are paid with
12. Only men are allowed to hold the Holy Priesthood, which gives them the power to act in Gods name and to perform the rites and rituals of Mormonism
(blessing and admistering the sacrament, governing the Church, pronouncing blessings upon the sick, baptizing and confirming new members). The Holy
Priesthood is broken into two groups - the Aaronic (or lesser Priesthood) and the Melchezidik(sp?) Priesthood. Young men normally receive the Aaronic
priesthood at age 12, which gives them the power to administer the sacrament and to baptize. Men normally receive the higher priesthood at age 18, and
that Priesthood allows for administering healing blessings, confirmation into the Church, and to hold specific Church leadership positions.
13. Most Mormons don't go through the temple ceremony until they are around 19 or 20, and because the ceremonies aren't talked about openly and are
so different than what you are used to seeing at a standard Sunday meeting, many people report being quite taken back. However, as you are usually
standing there with your family, many report almost feeling "compelled" into taking the oaths, even though you are given the opportunity to dismiss
yourself before doing so. After you have been through the ceremony, you are then required to wear magical underware (called garments). They have
special marks (like a ^) at the nipple, navel, and knee, and they are meant to remind you of the sacred oaths you have taken, although there are many
that report that they have magical powers of protection. They are quite funny looking.
Well, I hope that clarifies some things. I believe that Mormonisms greatest foe is its own unwillingness to face up to its dubious past. Church
historical vaults have been sealed to all but the friendliest of apologists for the Church, and many historians and social commentators have been
silenced and excommunicated.
Currently, I believe the Church is having a difficult time maintaining membership - a fact greatly exaserbated by the free information on the
Internet. I know that the Membership Records department of the Church is receiving letters by the droves from people that are having their names
stricken from its rolls - resigning their membership. More and more, I believe the Church will be looking to Latin America and other poorer countries
to inflate their membership numbers and feed their obsession with presenting an ever-expanding and ever-growing religion.
As with all organizations, the people of the Church range from friendly to close-minded, absurd, and down-right strange. I refrain from mocking the
people, but I will say that the upper-echelons of the Church are very business savvy. In fact, its almost a pre-requisite for the higher local
leadership positions (such as Bishop or Stake President) that you be financially well off. All of the Bishops I had owned their own successful
businesses and were quite wealthy.
Two of my favorite places of information about Mormons are:
Signing off from the Mormon Corridor (aka, Utah).