Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Myths of Mormonism: Part 2

This is a compilation of things that (1) people who've never met a Mormon believe as well as (2) some points of doctrine/policy that have been twisted and spread over time.

Some are funny while others are more serious.

This is to provide correct information as to what the church actually upholds. While there are members who believe some of these things, there is no basis for them in official church...anything.

FYI: I welcome civil and respectful comments/discussion. If your sole purpose in being here is to troll, bash, etc., feel free to leave now, as such disrespectful actions are not welcome on my blog.

1. They believe that all other churches are wrong while theirs is the only one that preaches truth.

We believe that all churches have and preach truth; we do not believe that only our church has truth to it. However, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims that only the Church has real power and authority given by God to perform valid baptisms and all other things that pertain to the salvation of mankind, including a correct understanding of gospel doctrine.

2. They believe that they are equal to God.

This comes from the teaching in the Church that those who go to Heaven will be able to become Gods/Goddesses and have the power to create worlds and things of that sort. We also believe that God was once as we are and became who he is now by coming to an Earth and having a mortal experience. This makes people say that Mormons are preaching blasphemy: To claim that God was once a man like us is lowering him to a state that a deity figure should never be lowered to.

We worship and revere God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ as Gods. We do not believe that we are equal to them, as they are deity figures and we are less than the dust of the Earth. This does not, however, change the fact that we believe that Jesus had to live a mortal life before ascension to Godhood and that our Heavenly Father, at one time, did the same thing.

3. They can't drink caffeine.

Yes we can. It's not recommended for everyday use, but it's not forbidden.

4. They can't dance.

Being allowed to dance and actually having the ability to dance aren't the same thing. Are we allowed to? YEAH! Are all Mormons actually capable of dancing without embarrassing themselves? Not so much.

5. They can't use birth control.

Yes we can. We believe that those decisions are very personal and up to the individual couple.

6. The church teaches hatred toward the LGBT community.

Contrary to popular belief, the Church doesn't teach hatred toward anyone. Many members still have traditional prejudices toward certain groups of people, but that is not what the Church teaches. To learn more about official Church teachings regarding the LGBT community, click here.

7. The Church can be accurately defined as "it's members."

Nope. This is a common misunderstanding of a quote by previous church president Gordon B. Hinckley when he said that the church can be represented by its members. He never said that the Church is its members. The Church is an organization established by God with prophets, apostles, doctrines, policies, etc. that members are asked to follow should they choose to join it.

8. The "women wearing pants to church" issue is a thing of doctrine.

Not even close. The official policy is that you wear what you feel is your best for Sabbath Day worship. In Polynesia, that means a lava-lava for most men. In Scotland, many of the men wear kilts to church. Because many church members in North America came from Europe and the tradition there is for women to wear dresses, that's what has been done in North America for generations...but that doesn't mean it's doctrine or that it's showing disrespect for a woman to go to church in well-kept slacks.

9. Mormons don't believe in being saved by grace.

We believe that we are saved by grace after all we can do (see 2 Nephi 25:23). Think about it: If all you have to do to be saved is say "I believe" and be baptized, what's the point of continuing to be a do-gooder and following the rules of your church for the rest of your life?

10. They don't believe in Original Sin.

We believe that the Fall of Adam and Eve did indeed happen. We also believe that we inherited the effects of that fall (mortality, sickness, etc.), but we do not believe that one can inherit someone else's sins (in this case, Adam's). We believe that Adam and Eve are responsible for their sins/transgressions just we are are responsible for our own. We are not responsible for the sins/transgressions of another.

11. They don't believe in evolution.

We believe that things can evolve (technology) and we definitely believe in adaptation. However, we believe that all things on Earth (plants, fish, animals, etc.) were created spiritually before they were physically on the Earth. This includes humans. We also believe that all spirits have a shape (a spiritual tree looks like a tree, a spiritual lion looks like a lion, etc.). This also includes humans. We believe that humans were created in the image of God, who we believe looks like a human. From that, it shouldn't be too hard to discern how Church doctrine doesn't quite fit in with Darwinian evolution on that one.

12. They don't believe in the Big Bang theory.

We have no problem with the idea of a big bang. We just don't believe that it was an amazing coincidence.

13. They are not allowed to rebel against "authority".

We are allowed to do whatever we want. But just like every other aspect of life, one's actions do have results, be they good or bad. I put authority in quotes because, unless you are reporting something about a leader (male or female) that you know makes him/her unworthy of his/her responsibility, chances are that you're going against something that is related to doctrine. In that case, you're rebelling against the Lord, not the individual leader.

14. On that note, they are not allowed to ask "tough" questions to their leaders or anyone else.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (a counselor/assistant to the church president) stated that "We are a question-asking people. We have always been, because we know that inquiry leads to truth...In fact, I'm not sure how one can discover the truth without asking questions."

This an issue...because of two things: (1) Many church leaders get scared when they don't know the answers or are asked questions that they have strong personal opinions on. Their reactions can be inappropriate and thus lead to further problems. (2) Many members believe that their church leaders are supposed to be all-knowing on everything church-related, forgetting that the bishop is a member of the congregation with no extra doctrinal training for his position. Just because he's the bishop doesn't mean he knows the answer.

15. The more well-known members of the church can get excommunicated for less than the average member.

Nope. The rules apply to everyone, regardless of how famous you are.

16. Everything that comes out of the prophet's mouth should be taken as scripture.

This goes back to the understanding that the Church has a lay clergy: When we are acting in our church positions, we need to speak as such. When we go home, we are who we are: people with different likes, dislikes, hobbies, pet peeves, and so on. When the prophet is in an interview and is asked how he feels about something, he can say how he feels and it shouldn't be taken as scripture. It's okay for the prophet to have his own opinion about something totally unrelated to the Church.

17. If you're a woman in the church and have kids, you have to be stay-at-home-mom.

We do believe that women have a natural nurturing ability that greatly overshadows that of men. We believe that this ability is divinely appointed. It's definitely easier to put that ability to use if you don't have to work outside of the home, but that does not mean that a women has to stay home once she has kids. As one who grew up in a home and community of working LDS moms, I can say with surety that a woman won't lose her temple recommend for having a paying job. Every family has to do what's best for their situation.

18. If your husband is the bishop of wife is the Relief Society president, you are entitled to what they know because you're not supposed to keep secrets. What you are told in the capacity of your church responsibility is to remain confidential.

19. They believe that your life was pre-determined in heaven while still claiming that we all have the right to choose.

We believe in destiny, but we believe in it like this:
The destiny of the prince/princess is to become heir to the throne. In order to obtain the throne, however, certain requirements must be met. If you don't do what is required of you, the throne will not be yours. You have a destiny, but whether you will obtain it is your choice.

We believe that everyone on Earth has a divine destiny and infinite worth. Our worth to God doesn't change, but we affect our destiny by the choices we make.

20. Last but not least, the ever-present "Mormons are brainwashed."

Yes we are. So are Catholics, Protestants, Atheists, Democrats, Republicans, Animal Rights activists, and everyone else who believes in something with conviction.

We're all brainwashed in somebody's perspective. Can we please move on now?

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