What Made The Mormons Different?

Have you ever wondered what set the Mormons apart from other religious groups? In this article, we will explore the unique characteristics that made the Mormons different. From their beliefs and practices to their tight-knit community and strong sense of identity, the Mormons have always stood out. So if you’re curious to learn more about what makes this religious group so distinctive, keep reading and get ready to be enlightened.

Religious Beliefs

Unique Beliefs about Jesus Christ

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often referred to as the Mormons, has some unique beliefs about Jesus Christ. Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. They believe that He is the central figure in the plan of salvation and that through His atoning sacrifice, all people can be forgiven of their sins and have the opportunity to return to live with God. Mormons also believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God and that He was chosen to be the Messiah and fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament.

Book of Mormon as a New Testament

One of the key beliefs of Mormons is their understanding of the Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ. They believe that the Book of Mormon is a sacred record of ancient civilizations in the Americas and that it was translated by the prophet Joseph Smith with the help of God. Mormons view the Book of Mormon as complementary to the Bible and believe that it provides additional teachings and insights into the life and mission of Jesus Christ.

Revelation and Modern Prophets

Mormons believe in the ongoing revelation from God and in the role of modern prophets. They believe that God continues to communicate with His children through personal revelation and through prophets and apostles. Mormons believe that Joseph Smith was called by God to be a prophet and that he restored the original Church of Jesus Christ with its priesthood authority and ordinances. They also believe that the current president of the church, who is considered a prophet, seer, and revelator, receives divine guidance and inspiration for the church.

Church Organization

Hierarchical Structure

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a hierarchical structure that provides organization and leadership. At the top of the hierarchy is the First Presidency, which consists of the president of the church and his two counselors. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who are chosen by the president, also hold significant leadership roles. Below them are the Seventies, Area Seventies, and local priesthood leaders who oversee congregations and provide spiritual guidance to members.

Lay Ministry

A unique aspect of the Mormon Church is its lay ministry, which means that the leaders and teachers in the church are not paid clergy but rather regular members who serve in various leadership and teaching roles. These individuals willingly volunteer their time and talents to help build and strengthen the church community. This concept of a lay ministry allows members to grow and develop spiritually as they serve one another.

Ward and Stake System

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized into local congregations called wards and larger geographical units called stakes. A ward is similar to a traditional parish and is led by a bishop, while a stake is led by a stake president. Wards and stakes provide opportunities for members to come together for worship, service, and fellowship. The ward and stake system helps to create a sense of community and enables members to support and encourage one another.


Early Practice of Polygamy

One aspect of Mormon history that is often misunderstood is the early practice of polygamy. In the early years of the church, some members, including church leaders, practiced polygamy, the marriage of one man to multiple women. Mormons believed that this practice was a commandment from God and seen as a way to increase and strengthen their families. However, the practice was discontinued in 1890 through a revelation received by the church president at the time, and it is not a current practice of the church.

Polygamy and the Church Today

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a monogamous institution and has been since the discontinuation of the practice of polygamy in the late 19th century. Members of the church are taught to abide by the laws of the land, which prohibit polygamy in most countries. The church affirms that marriage is between one man and one woman and encourages individuals to establish strong, faithful, and committed relationships within the bounds of traditional marriage.

Misconceptions about Polygamy

It is important to address misconceptions about polygamy as it pertains to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While it is true that polygamy was practiced by some early members of the church, the vast majority of Mormons today are not involved in polygamy. The practice of polygamy was officially discontinued over a century ago, and the church has distanced itself from any associated activities. Mormons are committed to monogamous marriages, and any individuals or groups who continue the practice of polygamy are not affiliated with the mainstream church.

Missionary Work

Emphasis on Missionary Service

Missionary work is an essential part of the Mormon faith. Mormons believe in sharing their beliefs and inviting others to learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Missionary work is seen as a way to serve God and to help others come unto Christ. Mormons have a strong emphasis on the importance of sharing their faith and giving others the opportunity to receive the blessings of the gospel.

Full-time Missionaries

Mormons who choose to serve as full-time missionaries dedicate a significant portion of their lives to sharing their faith. These missionaries, typically between the ages of 18 and 25, commit to serving for a period of 18 to 24 months. They leave their homes and families to serve in various locations around the world, learning new languages, and immersing themselves in different cultures. Full-time missionaries are easily recognizable by their iconic name tags and can be found in communities across the globe.

Rapid Growth of the Church

The emphasis on missionary work has contributed to the rapid growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The number of LDS missionaries has increased over the years, and the church now has over 67,000 full-time missionaries serving worldwide. These missionaries work diligently to share the message of the restored gospel, resulting in new converts and the growth of the church in diverse communities and countries. The dedication and commitment of these missionaries play a vital role in the expansion of the Mormon faith.

Genealogy and Family History

Importance of Genealogy

Mormons place a significant emphasis on genealogy and family history. They believe that families can be united throughout eternity and that knowing about one’s ancestors can strengthen and deepen their connection to their heritage. Mormons see genealogy as a way to honor and remember their ancestral roots and to ensure that their ancestors have the opportunity to receive necessary ordinances within the church.

Family History Centers

To assist members in their genealogical research, the Mormon Church has established Family History Centers around the world. These centers provide access to a vast collection of historical records, including birth and death certificates, census records, and marriage documents. With the help of trained volunteers, individuals can trace their family history, discover previously unknown relatives, and gather important information for temple ordinances and family bonds.

Genealogical Records Collection

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has undertaken an extensive effort to gather and preserve genealogical records from around the world. The church maintains an extensive collection of digitized records, including birth and death records, marriage records, and census documents. This collection, known as the FamilySearch database, is available to the public and serves as a valuable resource for individuals interested in researching their family history.

Word of Wisdom

Health Code and Abstinence

The Word of Wisdom is a set of guidelines given to Mormons by Joseph Smith that addresses physical and spiritual well-being. Mormons are encouraged to abstain from certain substances such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea. The Word of Wisdom also emphasizes the importance of eating nutritious food, exercising regularly, and getting enough rest. Mormons believe that following these guidelines can lead to better physical health and increased spiritual sensitivity.

Prohibition of Harmful Substances

Mormons abstain from harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea because they believe that these substances can have a negative impact on their physical and spiritual health. Mormons take seriously the responsibility to care for their bodies, which they believe are sacred gifts from God. By abstaining from these substances, they seek to maintain a healthy lifestyle and cultivate a connection with God.

Emphasis on Healthy Living

In addition to abstaining from harmful substances, Mormons place a strong emphasis on healthy living. They strive to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet, engage in regular exercise, and get sufficient rest. Mormons believe that caring for their physical bodies honors God and allows them to better serve others. This emphasis on healthy living aligns with the belief that the body is a temple and should be treated with respect.

Temples and Sacred Ordinances

Purpose of Temples

Temples hold a central place in the worship and beliefs of Mormons. They are seen as sacred and holy places where individuals make covenants with God and participate in ordinances that are considered essential for their salvation. Mormons believe that temples are houses of the Lord and provide a space for individuals to draw closer to God, receive personal revelation, and make eternal commitments.

Ceremonies and Ordinances

Within temples, Mormons participate in a variety of sacred ceremonies and ordinances. These include baptisms for the dead, endowments, and sealings. Baptisms for the dead allow individuals who have died without being baptized to have the opportunity to accept baptism through proxy. Endowments are ritual ceremonies that involve receiving sacred knowledge and making solemn promises to God. Sealing ceremonies, often performed in marriage, unite families for time and eternity.

Sealing for Time and Eternity

One of the unique practices of the Mormon faith is the concept of sealing. Mormons believe that marriages and family relationships can extend beyond mortality and into eternity. Through the sealing ordinance performed in the temple, a man and woman can be married for time and all eternity. This sealing also extends to children born into the family, creating an eternal bond that continues even after death. Mormons find great comfort and hope in the belief that their families can be together forever.

Emphasis on Education

Importance of Education

Education is highly valued within the Mormon faith. Mormons believe that learning and gaining knowledge are essential parts of the eternal progression of each individual’s soul. The church encourages all its members to seek education and develop their intellectual faculties. Through education, Mormons strive to improve their understanding of the world and their ability to contribute positively to society.

Church-owned Universities

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates several universities and colleges, including Brigham Young University (BYU) campuses. These institutions provide a unique educational experience for Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Church-owned universities promote a combination of academic excellence and a commitment to moral values, providing students with a well-rounded education that emphasizes both intellectual and spiritual growth.

Continuing Education Programs

The Mormon Church also offers continuing education programs for its members. These programs provide opportunities for individuals of all ages to further their education, gain new skills, and enhance their personal and professional development. Courses offered through these programs cover a wide range of subjects, including religious studies, leadership training, and practical skills. The emphasis on continuing education reflects the church’s commitment to lifelong learning and personal growth.

Tithing and Financial Stewardship

Principle of Tithing

Tithing is an important principle in the Mormon faith. Mormons believe that God has commanded them to give one-tenth of their income to the church. This practice is seen as a way to show gratitude to God and support the work of the church. Mormons view tithing as a sacred obligation and willingly contribute their resources to help further the mission of the church.

Use of Tithing Funds

Tithing funds are used by the Mormon Church to operate and maintain church facilities, support missionary programs, fund educational initiatives, provide humanitarian aid, and carry out various charitable endeavors. These funds are managed in a responsible and transparent manner and are used to benefit members of the church and the wider community. Mormons believe that their financial contributions are put to good use and enable the church to fulfill its mission and care for those in need.

Welfare and Humanitarian Aid

A significant portion of tithing funds is allocated to welfare and humanitarian aid efforts. The Mormon Church maintains an extensive welfare system, which includes providing food, clothing, and shelter to those in need. In times of natural disasters or humanitarian crises, the church mobilizes resources and volunteers to provide relief and assistance to affected communities. Mormons believe that by donating their tithes, they are helping to alleviate suffering and meet the basic needs of individuals and families around the world.

Persecution and Resilience

Early Persecution of Mormons

The early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were marked by intense persecution and hostility. Mormons faced opposition from both religious and government authorities, as their beliefs and practices were seen as unconventional and controversial. They were driven from their homes, faced violence and discrimination, and endured significant hardships as they sought to establish their religious community.

Mormon Pioneers

In a display of unwavering faith and resilience, Mormon pioneers embarked on a treacherous journey westward in search of a place where they could practice their religion freely. This journey, known as the Mormon Pioneer Trail, required great sacrifices and demonstrated the strength and determination of early Mormons. Their perseverance and commitment to their religious beliefs laid a foundation for the growth and development of the Mormon faith.

Strength and Resilience

Throughout their history, Mormons have faced adversity with strength and resilience. They have emerged from persecution and hardship as a strong and unified community, committed to their beliefs and dedicated to the service of others. The challenges faced by early Mormons are seen as a testament to their faith and the power of their convictions. Mormons continue to draw upon the example of their ancestors and the strength of their faith as they navigate the complexities of modern life.

In conclusion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons, has a unique set of beliefs and practices that make them distinct from other Christian denominations. Their beliefs about Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, revelation, and modern prophets provide a foundation for their faith. The Mormon Church’s hierarchical structure, lay ministry, and ward and stake system help to create unity and support within the community. While early Mormons practiced polygamy, it is no longer a part of the mainstream church’s teachings and practices. Missionary work plays a crucial role in the growth of the church, and Mormons have a deep emphasis on genealogy and family history. The Word of Wisdom guides Mormons in health and overall well-being, while temples serve as sacred spaces for ceremonies and ordinances. The Mormon faith places an emphasis on education, financial stewardship through tithing, and resilience in the face of persecution. Through these beliefs and practices, Mormons strive to live lives of faith, service, and devotion to God and their fellow beings.