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To Those Who are Investigating Mormonism

Article Index
To Those Who are Investigating Mormonism
What the missionaries will not tell you
Your life as a Mormon

YOUR LIFE AS A MORMON

If you should decide to become a member of the LDS church, you should be aware of what your life in the church will be like. Although you will find yourself warmly accepted by a lively community of healthy, active and generally supportive people, many of whom are very happy in Mormonism and could not imagine their lives without it, there is another side:

  • You will be continually reminded that to enter the highest degree of heaven (the "Celestial Kingdom"), you will have to go through the endowment ceremony in the temple and have your marriage to your Mormon spouse "sealed." (If your spouse is not Mormon, you cannot enter the highest degree of heaven.) To get permission to have these ceremonies performed in the temple, you must prove yourself to be a faithful and obedient member of the church and do everything commanded by the church authorities, from the Prophet down to the local level. You will have to undergo a personal "worthiness" interview with the local church authorities inquiring into your private life and your religious and social activities.
  • You will be expected to donate at least ten percent of your gross income to the church as tithing. Other donations will be expected as the need arises. You will never see an accounting of how this money is spent, or how much the church receives, or anything at all about its financial condition; the church keeps its finances secret, even from its members.
  • You will be expected to give up the use of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and cola drinks.
  • You will be expected to fulfill any work assignment given to you. These assignments may be teaching positions, clerk positions, helping with various support tasks - any job that needs to be done. Each task you perform successfully will make you eligible for others, with more responsibility and more demands upon your time. The members who perform these jobs, even those involving sensitive pastoral counseling, receive no formal training whatsoever (there is no paid, trained clergy). You will be told that God has called you to your assignments. Many Mormons find most of their spare time taken up with church work, trying to fulfill the numerous assignments that have been given them.
  • You will be expected to be unquestioningly obedient to church authorities in whatever they might tell you to do. "Follow the Brethren" is the slogan, and it means to follow without doubt or question. Discussion of whether a decree from above is correct is discouraged. You will be expected to have faith that the leaders cannot possibly lead you astray. Even if they should tell you something which contradicts what a previous prophet may have said, you will be told "A living prophet takes precedence over a dead prophet."
  • You will be able to "vote" on those who have been called to positions of authority over you, but the voting will be by the show of hands in a public meeting. Only one candidate for each office will be voted on (the one "called by God"). The voting is therefore always unanimous in favor of the candidate.
  • You will be told not to read any material which is "not faith- promoting," that is, which may be critical or questioning of the church or its leaders, or which might place the church or its leaders in an unfavorable light.
  • You will be told not to associate with "apostates," that is, former Mormons. (You will probably be asked in your "worthiness" interview about this.)
  • If you are unmarried, you will be encouraged to marry a good Mormon as soon as possible. When you do marry, in a wedding ceremony in the temple, your non-Mormon family members and friends will not be allowed to attend the ceremony, because only "worthy" Mormons are allowed to enter the temple.
  • If you are homosexual, you will be pressured to abandon this "evil" aspect of your nature. If you do not, you will probably not be fully accepted by other church members. If you do not remain celibate, you may be excommunicated.
  • If you are a male over 12 years of age and "worthy" (that is, if you are obedient, attend meetings, do not masturbate, etc.), you will be ordained to one of the levels of priesthood, and, if you continue to be faithful and obedient, you will gradually advance through the priesthood ranks. If you are female, you will receive the benefits of priesthood authority only indirectly, through your Mormon father or your Mormon husband. The role of the Mormon woman is to be a wife and mother and to obey and honor her priest husband (or father).
  • If you prove yourself to be faithful, hard working and obedient, you will eventually be considered worthy to "receive your endowment" in a Mormon temple. You will not be told in advance exactly what to expect in this lengthy ceremony, except that the details of the ritual are secret (Mormons prefer to say they are just "sacred," but they treat them as though they are secret). As part of that ceremony you will be required to swear a number of oaths, the penalty for violation of which is no longer stated but until 1990 was death by various bloody methods, such as having your throat slit from ear to ear. You will be given the secret signs and passwords which are required to enter heaven. (Although most Mormons who have not received the endowment know very little about the ceremony, the entire liturgy is now available on the Internet to Mormon and non- Mormon alike.) After receiving the endowment you will be required to wear a special undergarment at all times.
  • If you should ever decide that you made a mistake in joining the church and then leave it, you will probably find (judging from the experiences of others who have done so) that many of your Mormon friends will abandon and shun you. If you are unable to convince your family members to leave the church with you, you will find that the church has broken up your family and your relationship with them may never recover.

Consider very carefully before you commit yourself, and remember that any doubts you may have now will likely only increase.

Examine carefully both sides of the Mormon story. Listen to the stories of those who have been through an unhappy Mormon experience, not just those Mormons who may speak glowingly of life in the church.

The Mormon missionaries are often charming and enthusiastic. They have an attractive story to tell. At first it sounds wonderful. But remember the old saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!" Be careful not to fall into the trap of believing something simply because you want it to be true. Mormons may tell you that those who criticize the church are lying, misquoting and distorting. If you examine the sources used by the critics, however, you will discover that most of their source material is from official or semi-official Mormon writings. You, too, should examine those sources.

Is Mormonism a "cult"? Many experts on religious cults see in Mormonism the same fundamental characteristics as cults which have entrapped the unsuspecting, even though most people think of "cults" only as small, unknown groups. Use a "cult checklist" to evaluate Mormonism, or any group, before you commit yourself.