Mormons Made Simple

I don’t know how I found this video series — possibly it was through StumbleUpon. Anyway, I was intrigued by their offer of a “Facebook Missionary Challenge” so I signed up to see what Mormon Facebookers would be instructed to do. The basic idea is that you post the videos along with some cute little comment, and try to pique your friends’ curiosity about the LDS church while also gradually convincing them that Mormons are totally normal and reasonable folks. This is the first video you’re supposed to post. It’s called “Mormon Myths.”

In case you can’t play the video, here’s a transcript.

You’ve probably heard a thing or two about Mormons. But how much of what you’ve heard is really true? This is Mormon Myths. Made Simple!

Myth number one: most Mormons live in Utah. Actually, of the church’s approximately 13 million members, only 12% live in Utah, and more than half live outside the US. Per capita, Utah does have a very high percentage of Mormons, at around 60% of the population. This is because in the mid-1800s, Mormons settled in Utah to escape religious persecution.

Myth number two: Mormon men have multiple wives. For a brief period in the 1800s, some members of the church did practice polygamy. However, this practice was discontinued in 1890, and monogamy has been practiced since. Over the years, several groups have broken away from the church. Some of these have adopted the practice of polygamy, such as those portrayed on HBO’s TV series, “Big Love,” and those living in the FLDS compound in Texas. However, these groups are not Mormons or in any way affiliated with the church. In fact, if a member of the church was found to be practicing polygamy today, they would immediately be excommunicated.

Myth number three: Mormons don’t believe in the Bible. The Bible is an important part of the Mormon set of scripture, known as the standard works, which also includes the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. Mormons use the Bible extensively in sermons, in Sunday school, and during personal study.

Myth number four: Mormons are not Christian. The term “Mormons” is actually a nickname. The church’s real name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Mormons claim to be the reestablished, original Christian church, with Christ at its head. Mormons follow Christ’s teachings, partake of his sacrament, and pray to God in his name.

Myth number five: Mormons worship Joseph Smith. Mormons revere Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, just like Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, and other Biblical prophets. Mormons believe their prophet can communicate with God and receive guidance for the church. As a prophet, Joseph Smith played an important role in reestablishing Christ’s church on the earth. However, worship is reserved exclusively for God and Jesus Christ.

Myth number six: Mormons don’t drink or smoke. Actually, this one’s true. In 1833, a commandment was given to the church through the prophet Joseph Smith, which prohibited the use of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea. This code of health, known as the Word of Wisdom, is practiced by all faithful members of the church.

Okay, now you know! And next time you hear one of those rumors about the Mormons, you can say, “Actually….” For more fun and educational videos on the Mormon faith, please visit mormonsmadesimple.com!

Yeah, so, I have a couple responses. My first one is, these don’t really qualify as the nasty rumors I was (half-) hoping to see debunked. (Of course, you can’t debunk it if it’s true, but still.) How about, “Joseph Smith was a known charlatan who, before founding the LDS church, worked as a ‘treasure hunter’ employing exactly the same methods”? How about, “The Book of Mormon was supposedly translated from a nonexistent language via that scam treasure-hunting method of looking at stones placed inside of a hat”? How about, “Mormons believe that a handful of ancient Israelites somehow traveled to North America and set up a civilization that somehow left zero archaeological evidence”? Oh, and how about, “The Book of Mormon says that a ‘skin of blackness’ is a punishment for being sinful”? When I hear people say disparaging things about Mormonism, these are the things they talk about.

Secondly, doesn’t it seem odd that myth #2 is all about how polygamists aren’t “real Mormons,” while myth #4 is all about how Mormons are “real Christians”? It’s hard for me to imagine that these points are being made with zero awareness of the irony. Fundamentalist Mormons (the video even refers to them as “FLDS”) certainly consider themselves to be real Mormons, as they follow LDS teachings the way they were originally given. Their first prophet Joseph Smith and certainly his successor Brigham Young practiced and endorsed polygamy. But more importantly, their reason for excommunicating polygamists is basically, “They might agree with us on everything else, but we disagree on this one key point of doctrine.” Meanwhile, mainstream Christians saying Mormons aren’t Christian for the same reason.

Anything else about this video strike you? Feel free to sound off in the comments. As I said before, this is a series of videos so there are several more — but I think I’ll spread them out a bit. There’s only so much Mormon silliness a person can be expected to ingest at one time.

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6 Comments

  1. I often use Mormonism as a gauge for the “silliness” of my own beliefs. If I see something ridiculous with Mormonism, I try to reflect and to see if I see anything equally ridiculous with my own belief system and then work from there.

    But that doesn’t mean that, in the best way possible, I don’t still think Mormonism is a crock.

  2. I found some of the “myths” to be more like “strawmen.” For example, “Mormons don’t believe in the Bible.” That is not the argument. It’s not that Mormons don’t believe in the Bible, Mormons don’t actually believe in the authority of the Bible. They can use the Bible all they want, but they ignore that it is more authoritative than their other books, which are not the Word of God.

    Mormonism is not true Christianity. It is counterfeit Christianity. They believe the same lie Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden “You will become like God.” http://americancreed.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/counterfeit-christianity/

    I would like them to answer the “myth” that they believe God the Father used to be a man and attained godhood, or the “myth” that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer, or the “myth” that we can attain godhood, too, and populate our own planets.

  3. I found the video to be essentially true and useful.

    “Orthodox” Christians don’t like it, of course — as expected, yawn!

    And that orthodox view still haunts many atheists who are indoctrinated by it since it permeates our culture.

    Mormons are, in my opinion, no more silly than the orthodox — it is all silly. And yet, they both offer much value too, in similar ways.

  4. Carl de Malmanche

     /  April 21, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I found the Church of Latter Day Saints rather curious. One of the bits I thought was hilarious, was that the new prophets (who look a lot like a board of directors), get to dictate “Gods Word”.

    So things like polygamy and blacks banned from clergy/heaven/church, which was very solid in Joseph Smith’s day. JS being the one chosen by the higher power to discover the plates & glasses & told by angels to found the church/spread the word. But now that’s been changed.

    Whats so hilarious (well I’m sure many folks have read the Jesus and Mohamed webcomic? Remember when J says that Gods word in the Koran sounded very much like a 14c man)… what’s so hilarious… is that Gods Word (form the LDS church) seems to match up very well with popular and legal opinion of the US. … but!! The US senate did it first. 0_o (and then the LDS saints agree)

  5. Joseph Smith was a fraud, after he died, his collection of Egyptian hieroglyphs that he translated were re-translated, and it was found he was dead off.

  6. I found all the videos helpful & educational. Not in the sense you guys here would think. But in the sense that there were things I didn’t know and now do, thanks to the videos. Unlike everyone here, I have an open mind. I take something and give creedance to it until I find something false about it. So far, there’s nothing false about any of it unless you all are immortal and lived since the dawn of the Israelites and were around when the Nephites & Lamanites lived in America and all these other times in Mormon history you guys seem to dislike and mock. And I “stumbled” upon this website looking for more videos. Didn’t know it was a Mormon bashing one. But I guess there”s ones out there by ex-Mormons and those who don’t understand the church to the point that they hate or dislike the church as a result of not understanding certain things. Regarding the bit about no evidence of ancient (Nephite/Lamanite) civilizations: Has any archaeologist gone looking for them? Probably not. Anyone here lived back then and can testify whether or not they did? No. Don’t mock what you don’t understand. That’s called close-mindedness. Of course everyone has their opinions about things. And there’s two sides of a coin. Some people have their opinions and other others have theirs (or what they know for a fact & believe in). If you want to do research about something you don’t know or don’t understand, read a book, visit a historical society. Something that has a neutral stand on an issue. A source that’s not biased or leans towards a particular view. Don’t just start bashing a church because of your own misunderstanding or confusion. I’m not a Mormon, but I am a Christian. And I do believe in the LDS Church. Everything in the videos is true & did happen. That’s just the bottom line & the truth.

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