Introduction

The Mormon religion, officially known as ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,’ was established in 1830 as a Christian religion. Led by the founder, Joseph Smith, who is seen as a prophet and leader, Mormonism is presently rooted with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Mormons individually or in a group are often addressed by the titles of:

  • Latter-Day Saints
  • LDS
  • Josephites
  • Mormons

As a full entity, the religion is commonly addressed by the titles of:

  • The Church of Mormon
  • The Church of Jesus Christ
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Formed on the foundation of The Book of Mormon, all men and women are seen as equal in the sight of the Mormon God, while children are considered the most sacred of all.  With over 16-million devout Mormons worldwide, LDS Officials are projecting a rapid increase by the year 2050 to 26.5-million practicing Mormons. 

Relative to other Christians, Mormons take on a more monk-like approach, abstaining from all alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, and sex before marriage. Compared to another Christian-based religion such as Catholicism, in which wine is consumed mid-mass, Mormons are considered much stricter than many other Christian religions.

#1 Is Mormonism Monotheistic or Polytheistic?

Although this seems like a straightforward answer, you may receive a different answers depending on what person you ask.

Figure 1 – Sourced from LDSLiving.com

The highlights on varying ends of the spectrum of this debate, include but are not limited to:

  • Christianity is intrinsically monotheistic; therefore, Mormonism is monotheistic. Some will describe that since the Latter-day Saints worship only one God, there are no competing deities that come before the holy trinity, making Mormons monotheistic.
  • Others state that Mormons are polytheists due to their belief of mankind’s origin. LDS’s origin story describes humans as the original Gods, emphasizing there are millions, if not billions of Gods. The holy trinity could be considered multiple divinities, or polytheism, depending on the person you ask. As most Christian religions see God, Jesus, and the holy spirit as separate and unilaterally powerful, Mormons see these three entities as connected and equal.
  • Being that most Christians view Jesus as the son of God, and Mormons view them as various embodiments of the same spiritual force – it can be said that Mormons air on the side of being henotheistic, meaning they believe in one God, yet do not deny the existence of other deities.

Again, the answer will depend on who you ask and their perspective on Mormonism.

Related Scripture:

  • “And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.” – 3 Nephi 11:27

Related YouTube Video:

#2 Is Mormonism Ethnic Or Universalizing?

As Christianity is synonymous with universalizing religion, Christians want their beliefs to be ‘universal,’ meaning available to all. This is the reason that Mormon missionaries travel around the world to convert prospective members of the religion, and fully baptize themselves within The Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Ethnic religions are central to a precise location, meaning they will only attempt to convert people in their local geographic region. While Mormonism is based out of their headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mormons actively travel for 2-years of missionary work upon their maturity (age 18 to 26) to recruit new and global members of the LDS church.

Figure 2 – Senior Missionaries – From ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Related Scriptures:

  • “Teach them the word of God with all diligence.” – Jacob 1:19.
  • “The Lord grants unto all nations to teach his word,” – Alma 29:8.

Related YouTube Video:

#3 Is Mormonism Growing?

As stated by World Meters Information regarding the worldwide population of Mormonism: 

“The growth of 1.21% in 2018 was the lowest annual percentage growth since the 0.93% in 1937. Though a relative slowing of the growth rate continues, although it slightly increased in 2019, church membership growth continues to outpace the world population growth rate, which is currently around 1.05% in 2020.”

World population numbers by religion as of April 5, 2020:

YearLDS Church growth rateWorld growth rateGrowth rate difference
20102.22%1.13%1.09%
20112.19%1.11%1.08%
20122.31%1.11%1.20%
20132.03%1.09%0.94%
20141.92%1.08%0.84%
20151.70%1.19%[2]0.51%
20161.59%1.14%[2]0.45%
20171.47%1.12%0.35%
20181.21%1.09%0.12%
20191.54%1.08%0.46%

Although they have been growing at a slower rate in recent years, Mormons have seen an incredible surge since their original membership in 1830 of around 280 members, to 2019 with 16,565,036 members.

Figure 3 – Mormon Growth, Population Density, and Western Expansion – https://i.imgur.com/igFFVgW.png

Related Scripture:

  • “Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not” – Alma 14:10–13

Related YouTube Video:

#4 Is Mormonism a Hierarchical Religion?

Yes, the Mormon religion is structured upon a hierarchical priesthood format that is largely patriarchal in authority. Being that the original prophet, Jesus Christ, was a man, male priests and church leaders act as the spokesmen for the religion’s outward communication.

The hierarchy of the Church (all being male authorities) is as follows:

  1. The First Presidency (including a president and two counselors)
  2. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
  3. The First Quorum of the Seventy
  4. The Second Quorum of the Seventy
  5. The Presiding Bishopric (including a bishop and two counselors)
  6. The General Officers

The lowest presiding hierarchy, the General Officers, is that of:

  • The general member
  • Sunday school members
  • Female members
Figure 4 – Sourced from ‘The Mormon Hierarchy’ by Slate

There is also a depiction of the dedication of a Mormon, resulting in a social hierarchy amongst the religious members, including a scale in order of highest power to lowest:

  1. Dedicated Latter-day Saints
  2. Fundamentalist Mormons
  3. Liberal Mormons
  4. Ex-Mormons or those that have left the Church

Related Scriptures:

  • “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as it is fit in the Lord.” –  Colossians 3:18.
  • “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” – Genesis 3:16

 

Related YouTube Video:

#5 Are Mormonism and LDS The Same?

As stated directly from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:

“The correct name of the church to which Mormons belong is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

A Mormon member is referred to by many names, and each signifies the same religion.

Between the two uses of this religion’s titles:

  • Mormonism – Is considered the more concise and casual way to reference the LDS religion, sourcing from the religion’s sacred text, The Book of Mormon
  • Latter-day Saints – Is a more formal acknowledgmentthat would be used in an official or public addressing.  It may also refer to a stricter and more conservative patron than that of a more ‘flexible and modern’ Mormon.

Some state that 90%+ of Mormons are Latter-Day Saints; the 10% distinction can result from some disagreement about fundamentalist Mormon beliefs versus modern Mormon beliefs.

For example: A fundamentalist may partake in polygamy, or marriage to multiple spouses, while most modern Mormons do not adhere to this non-monogamous LDS tradition.

Figure 5- Sourced from Christianity.com

Related Scripture:

  • “The Book of Mormon and the Bible will grow together.” – 2 Nephi 3:12-21

Related YouTube Video:

#6 Is Mormonism Made Up?

While any Mormon would tell you that the beliefs from Joseph Smith, the Founder of Mormonism, are undeniably accurate, a non-Mormon would tell you otherwise.

One could argue that every religion is made up.

All biblical texts are passed down amongst generations by man, copied on paper by man, and perpetuated by man. As there is no proof or evidence for a God, all 10,000+ global religions are formatted on the structure of ‘having faith,’ despite there being no tangible proof of God with the exception of man-written texts.

Regarded as their ‘article of faith,’ The Book of Mormon is considered the most historically accurate scripture within the religion, while the main bible is utilized by all Christian denominations.

Figure 6 – Sourced from History.com

Related Scriptures:

  • “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” – 2 Corinthians 11:4-6
  • “False messiahs and false prophets will come and do great miracles and wonders, trying to fool the people God has chosen.” – Matthew 24:24-25.

Related YouTube Video:

“There are things in The Book of Mormon that did not exist during Book of Mormon times in the Americas.

For Example:

  • HorsesChariotsGoatsElephantsWheatAnd steel.”

#7 Is Mormonism a Culture?

Yes, one could certainly describe Mormonism as an individual culture, with rules dictating ones:

  • Dress (how to style clothing, hair, appearance, etc.)
  • Modesty (how to dress on your wedding day, no collar bone exposed)
  • Substance intake (no alcohol or drugs)
  • Caffeine intake(no coffee or tea)
  • Behavioral morals (some Mormons even prohibit dancing)
  • General morals (how to see the world and it’s values)
  • Wedding practices (temple ceremonies versus civil unions)
  • Monetary proclivities (saving for missionary trips and 10% of income to Church as tithing)
  • And community-connection (predominantly staying concentrated in Utah/close-knit group  –

It is difficult to separate any religion from its inherent ‘culture,’ or ‘sub-culture.’ 

Figure 7 – “Documenting the Mormon Culture in Utah” Posted by Slate

Related Scripture:

  • “(12) And again, the elders, priests, and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.” – Doctrine and Covenants 42.

Related YouTube Video:

Learn More

If you are interested in learning about other Religions in the world, then check out this book on World’s Religions on Amazon.