In the words of the late Christopher Hitchens, “I suppose that one reason I have always detested religion is its sly tendency to insinuate the idea that the universe is designed with 'you' in mind or, even worse, that there is a divine plan into which one fits whether one knows it or not. This kind of modesty is too arrogant for me.”
As our country's overall ‘faith’ and tolerance for religion waxes and wanes, one religious faction has justly drawn the majority of attention from not only irreligious people but even some from similar faiths, such as Christianity and Judaism. Essentially, the Mormon faith has a more radical view than that of Christianity. It's similar, but much more intensive (for lack of a better word). These religious deviations from Christianity, one of the largest faiths in the world, have justly been looked at as almost taboo. If you have ever run across a Mormon gathering, you may have noticed that they all look incredibly similar, share the same beliefs as far as lifestyle is concerned, and are all trying to desperately spread their beliefs on the non-believers so that they can save us from eternal damnation.
With advances in science — particularly in medical science — our society has reached a halting point in political and societal discourse. How far do we follow religion? How much of a benefit is it to people who believe in a celestial being? Surely, questions like this one pose a similar head-scratching moment that we have come to terms with the advancement of our knowledge. If you were choking, would you rather me say a prayer or do the Heimlich? This question should undoubtedly have one answer, but as we will see, particularly with the Mormon faith, this is not always the case.
15 Tithing Is Required
One of the ancient traditions that have always been practiced by the Mormons is a custom that they brought back to the forefront of religion from centuries ago: tithing. In your history classes as a young boy or girl, you more than likely heard about "Indulgences”, where bits of money could be used to relieve someone of a sin or from God's will. Tithing accounts for a large portion of the 35 billion dollars that the Mormon church collects annually, and tithing (a required donation of 1/10 of any Mormon's annual income) is a large part of all of the money that is collected each year. Any notion or doctrine of any religious denomination that includes one giving money in exchange for any immaterial service or conscious deed, is an abomination and a direct contradiction of the idea of ‘faith’.
14 Native Americans Are Descendants Of Ancient Israelites
“The Mormons, as I suppose from information, came here so ignorant of laws, regulating intercourse with the Indian tribes, that they expected to pass on into the Indian territory, procure lands of the Indians, aid them in adopting habits of civilization, and attach them to their party.”
It is no secret that the acquisition of the Americas by the British and it’s peoples is a rocky history, one of pillaging and broken promises at the very least. Put aside the violence and callous nature that the early settlers did in their acquisition of foreign land (if you can), and take a moment to digest what the Mormons (and other religious faiths as well) added to the equation when America was conquered by the British. Aside from simply taking the Native Americans' life and land — that wasn't enough for the religious — they had to convert these native peoples to their religious faith; for, after all, they wouldn't want these natives to die and go to hell, would they?
13 Dark Skin Is A Sign Of God's Curse, Light Skin Is A Sign Of God's Blessing
Mormonism has had an incredibly rocky past, particularly with people of color and specifically with African Americans. It wasn't until 1978 — a shocking number and date that seems to be far behind what rational and public opinion have deemed acceptable (even though most of the public was far too late) — that the Mormons' president finally proclaimed, “all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race and color.” I hope we don't have to point out the open alliance that Mormons had with racial and ethnic boundaries up until this point, and many arguments (valid ones) have been made that the Mormon faith and Mormons themselves still harbor resentment for the inclusion of colored people. Brigham Young, Joseph Smith’s successor, was the main character who adopted policies that are considered reprehensible by popular culture today, including (one of many) “that black people were cursed with dark skin as punishment for Cain’s murder”.
12 Water Is Controlled By The Devil... Literally
“Revelations given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, on the bank of the Missouri River, McIlwaine’s Bend, August 12, 1831. HC 1: 202–205. On their return trip to Kirtland, the Prophet and ten elders had traveled down the Missouri River in canoes. On the third day of the journey, many dangers were experienced. Elder William W. Phelps, in daylight vision, saw the destroyer riding in power upon the face of the waters.”
Mormons believe that the water is controlled by the devil... literally. You would think that if Mormons truly believed that Satan controlled the waters (which they do), they would tell their followers not to set foot near the ocean, let alone the shower. However, they have never preached that their faithful should steer clear of the water, which would seem like the most prudent thing to do.
11 The Earth Is 7,000 Years Old
“Though 7000 Earth years is in conflict with all physical, chemical, genetic, archaeological, and linguistic evidence, 7000 years of God is not ruled out. The arithmetic is easy. One day of God is 1000 years of man, and therefore in Joseph Smith’s reckoning, a day of God is 365 × 1000 days of man.”
To Say that this belief is naive would be dramatically understating the obvious. Anyone, whether a part of a religious denomination or not, who is willing to discard all of the empirical evidence from scientists over centuries of history... well that person is simply ignorant to the facts. How they’re able to reconcile their faith over reason shows an extreme deviation from free inquiry, but we guess that’s why its called faith: because it’s not knowledge.
10 Joseph Smith Translated The Book Of Mormon From Gold Plates
If you are a Mormon than you believe in the prophet Joseph Smith, and as the story goes, you believe that Joseph Smith found gold tablets from God in Upstate New York. Yes, you heard that correctly. Joseph Smith claimed that an angel named Moroni visited him in 1823, and during this visit, he told the self-proclaimed prophet that he had buried a set of gold plates, and in these plates was the record of ancient inhabitants. From these stories Smith derived the book of Mormon. This story is absolutely essential to anyone who believes in the Mormon faith because to them this story authenticates and legitimizes their belief in the Prophet Joseph Smith. To believe that the original ‘legitimizing’ of the ancient civilization was buried inside a gold tablet in Upstate New York is preposterous, but to devote one's life and faith on the successful work of a charlatan, well, we guess that’s what makes them Mormons.
9 Multiple Worlds With Multiple Gods
Mormon Cosmology (yes that’s what they call it), teaches that the planet Earth is not unique and that we are inhabiting only one of several inhabited planets in the solar system. Mormon theologians (professors or scholars who have studied religion) have taught that the other inhabitants that occupy these other planets are similar or identical to us humans. Can you guess what religion they are? That’s right, Mormon. This reported doctrine of other worlds is found in the Mormon scripture, specifically the Endowment ceremony, and as well as in the teachings of Joseph Smith. Keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen, that the only “official” sources that have ever claimed this knowledge to be the truth, are from the founders and the prophets of this cultish religion, and the credulous who believe their words to be the innate truth of God.
8 Coffee And Tea Is Prohibited
Amongst some of the stranger restrictions Mormons undergo, the prohibition of coffee and tea seem to be among the most obscure. The simple reason that the Mormons don't believe in drinking coffee or tea is that they believe Joseph Smith received a revelation from God commanding the church to follow a specific diet. They believe that God blesses them with good health as long as they follow his commandments, so deviating from this norm would be considered incredibly detrimental. Oddly enough, the Mormon church gave the ok for Pepsi and Coke-a-Cola beverages, which they don't feel contradicts whatsoever with the calling from their deity. In a conglomeration of oxymoronic rituals, prohibiting coffee but allowing caffeinated beverages seems to be mildly sacrilegious, to say the least.
7 They Think Male Facial Hair Is Disrespectful
This belief is the only one on our list that isn't referenced in any of the divine literature, yet it is as commonly practiced as any of the religious customs. It is an unofficial custom that all of the Mormons follow, but there are some exceptions to the rule. Well groomed mustaches that don't protrude the outer edges of the mouth are allowed, and while even this is considered taboo, it is accepted by the more fundamental followers of the religion. Strangely, if someone from the faith acquires a medical note specifically stating he cannot shave, or if he's in a play production that requires him to have facial hair, these are considered ok. As you can tell, this is more of a widespread practice than it is a belief, but it is so commonly practiced (almost without exception) that is has become a widespread belief of the faith.
6 The Garden Of Eden Was In Missouri?
The Mormons believe that they have the exact location of the Garden of Eden, one of the most commonly known and preached about stories in the Bible. The Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden is located in Independence, Missouri, and of course, this directly rivals some of the most commonly preached doctrines from Genesis and Christianity. Again, all of the claims that Joseph Smith made have absolutely no evidence for them whatsoever, they are supposed to just be accepted by all Mormons. These large claims certainly require incredible evidence, and as you might have guessed, absolutely nothing can be produced to make these claims valid. To state that the Garden of Eden is located in Western Missouri is to reach the pinnacle of nonsense, but as we can see, this is only just the foundation of the credulous.
5 Catholics Destroyed The Bible, And Mormons Fixed It
Joseph Smith said [of the Bible], “Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 327).
As you probably noticed, the Mormons have their own religious text that they follow, The Book Of Mormon. By the quote you’ve read above you can probably decipher what the LDS founder Joseph Smith thought about the Bible. Not to be misconstrued, however, Joseph Smith still heavily relied on the Bible, but he felt that careless men before him (Christians and Catholics) follow a different version of the proclaimed truth. It is amazing how so many faiths that believe in virtually the same principles create and understand such vastly different meanings of the same exact literature. The Mormons believe that they have access to the true and ultimate form of the Bible. You can guess that Catholics and Christians disagree.
4 Humans Have The Ability To Become God
While all religions claim to be revealed truth, and that the one (or several) gods that they praise is an all mighty and omniscient entity; Mormonism teaches that anyone who practices it can become the very god that they praise. The Mormon religion believes that everyone who believes has the ability to become God and that since God “created man in his image”, that God, in fact, wants his members to become as powerful as he is. It would seem that the one thing a celestial dictator would want to suppress would be the powers of his followers, and for several reasons alone we can think of why anyone in control of others wouldn’t want his oppressed followers to become as powerful as himself. Again we are left with not much evidence as to exactly why the Mormons' belief system is as complicated as it is, but we leave that for the faithful to decide.
3 No Virgin Birth
“CHRIST WAS BEGOTTEN BY AN IMMORTAL FATHER IN THE SAME WAY THAT MORTAL MEN ARE BEGOTTEN BY MORTAL FATHERS.” (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, P. 547)
This is by far one of the most controversial beliefs held by Mormons, particularly when talking about the three monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). The common view of Christianity and Islam is that the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus as a virgin, hence the name, and the Mormon faith disavows this doctrine. You can see how this would ruffle the feathers of any religion that looks at Jesus’ mother as a “clean” and “untouched” woman. This has understandably caused quite a problem between the Mormons and other religions, and while most of what the Mormons believe is considered “radical” in the eyes of other religions, and even secular folk, this belief is particularly troubling to the idea of women in the eyes of religion; something that has been far too long oppressive.
2 Polygamy Might Be Okay In The Afterlife
Polygamy has a long and rocky history within the Mormon church. For reasons obvious to most individuals, this practice seems barbaric and primitive, and by all accounts it is. The extreme fundamentalists of the religion are still practicing this immoral practice in the present day, and a controversial and legal battle has proven to cost many Mormon leaders their freedom. The majority of Mormons rejected the idea of polygamy in 1890, decades after it was preached as an official doctrine of the church by Joseph Smith. What is even more unnerving about the polygamous practice of religious fanatics was the fact that a majority of these women involved were under the age of 18, and a great number of Mormon ‘leaders’ have been jailed and imprisoned for lewd and lascivious acts with minors under the age of 18. The reason that this practice has continued is that the fundamental religious individuals believe these ridiculous practices are divinely warranted and that the laws don't apply to them because of this divine permission.
1 The Planet Called Kolob...
One of the strangest beliefs we came across when looking at the Mormon faith was the idea of Kolob, a celestial planet that is the closest place in the universe to the throne of God. It probably goes without saying that astronomers have never been able to see or locate such a planet, and even if by some miracle they were able to spot such a planet in the universe, this would still give the Kolob mythology absolutely no merit in any intellectual conversation. Because the LDS community believes in God in the physical sense, it would only be ‘normal’ to create a place where he chooses to live and watch from above. Out of all of the irrational beliefs that we have found, creating a mythological planet called Kolob is by far one of the most bizarre.