Five Popular Myths about Mormons
In a 2007 survey by the Pew Forum, only 49% of people polled reported that they knew “a lot” or “some” about Mormons. A lot of people believe things about Mormons that may be untrue.
Some of the most prevalent myths and misconceptions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) concern having more than one wife, being Christian, Joseph Smith, human exaltation, and women’s rights.
Myth About the LDS Church – Mormons Practice Polygamy
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began practicing plural marriage in the 1840s. It was seen as a religious practice commanded by God. In 1890, LDS church president Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that formally discontinued the practice until further notice.
Today, Latter-day Saints do not practice, perform, or recognize polygamous marriages but still believe in the principal when commanded by God as in Old Testament times with Abraham, Jacob, and so on.
Some individuals that left the LDS church after Joseph Smith’s death in 1842 organized their own churches, some of which continue to practice polygamy. Though some may be called “Mormons” or “fundamentalist Mormons,” they are not affiliated the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormon Myth – Mormons Aren’t Christians
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in and worship Jesus Christ. They accept that is written about His life in the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon is also a second witness of Jesus Christ. All Mormon prayers and religious ordinances are done in the name of Jesus Christ, and they believe that accepting Him and obeying His commandments are the only way to salvation.
Mormons reject the trinity, but still believe in the divine nature of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. As the only perfect person who ever lived on earth, Mormons believe Jesus was the only one who was capable of atoning for the sins of humankind. LDS doctrine also says that Christ had a role in the creation of the earth, was the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and will return to rule on earth during the Millennium.
Myth About Mormons – The LDS Church Worships Joseph Smith
Latter-day Saint theology says that after Jesus Christ organized His true church as recorded in the New Testament, the church drifted into apostasy. Mormons believe that the complete gospel truth and priesthood authority were lost from the earth, until God called Joseph Smith as a prophet in 1820 to restore them.
As the “prophet of the restoration,” Joseph Smith holds a place that is near and dear to the heart of most Mormons. They admire his courage to hold onto his beliefs amid persecution, and they are grateful for his prophetic teachings. However, they fully realize that Smith was only a man called of God and do not worship him.
LDS Church Myth – Mormons Believe that Women are Subordinate to Men
God is believed to have created men and women in different yet complementary capacities for a divine purpose. Husbands and wives are to work together as equal partners, supporting each other in their male and female roles. Domestic abuse is grounds for excommunication from the church.
In local Latter-day Saint churches, women serve just as often as men in leadership and teaching capacities. Women do not hold the priesthood – the authority to baptize and so on – but can still enjoy the full blessings of receiving all priesthood ordinances. Mormons believe that the family unit is essential to exaltation, and that neither women nor men can get there without the other.
Myths About the LDS Church – Mormons Think They Will Become God’s Equals
Mormons believe that God is the spiritual father of all people on earth. He will never stop being their father, nor will He ever stop being their God. Revelations 21:7 explains that “he that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” [emphasis added.]
Mormons believe that “inheriting all things” includes becoming “joint-heirs with Christ” [Romans 8:17] and receiving a “crown of glory” in heaven [1 Peter 5:4.] Modern-day LDS revelation teaches that exaltation in the highest part of heaven means that people can also remain in their families and have spirit children. Nevertheless, whatever blessings God grants people in the afterlife do not make them His equals or revoke God’s status as their god and heavenly father.
Some of the things Mormons believe and practice are not common in mainstream Christianity, but often times more outlandish claims about Mormonism contain skewed or incorrect information.
- The Holy Bible, King James Version. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 1979.
- “Public Expresses Mixed Views of Islam, Mormonism.” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.