Nine Questions I’ve Been Asked By Non-Mormons About Mormonism

By Celeste

I wrote this post on our former family blog, which is now private because  . . . internet.  But I wanted to post it here as well because, I talk a lot about my religion here and I don’t mean to exclude anybody when I do that.  I want everyone to feel nice and comfortable and included on this blog, so I thought maybe people would be curious to hear some common questions I’ve been asked by my non-mormon friends and how I answer them.  If you have any questions I don’t address here, please shoot me an email.


9 Common Questions I've Been Asked By Non-Mormons About Mormonism

I’ve been blessed in my life to have some truly fantastic friends both inside and outside my religion.  Looking back, I think I had the best possible high school social experience to make me confident, instead of shy about my membership in the Mormon church.  Part of this is due to the non-Mormon friends I had in high school who were so supportive and awesome and truly curious about my religion.  They asked questions without judging, didn’t blink an eye when I turned down invitations to do things on Sundays or go to certain parties.  And I thank them for that.

Common Questions by Non-Mormons About Mormons

And really it was awful nice of anyone to be my friend in high school . . .

I’ve also made some great friends here in Iowa who have helped me to be more open and honest about my religion, in part by asking some great questions. Anyway, I started thinking about this from something I read online about common misconceptions about Mormonism.  I think a lot of people are generally curious about Mormons, but maybe don’t have a close enough friend with whom they would feel comfortable asking some questions, and who aren’t curious enough to really look into it. This blog post is for you.  Here are some of the most commonly asked questions I’ve been asked throughout the years about my religion:

Please note: This list does not represent the most frequently asked questions about Mormonism in general, or a comprehensive explanation of our beliefs, just things I’ve been asked.  Also, I do NOT speak for the Mormon church, just for myself.

1.  Have you really never drunk alcohol? Not even a sip? 
Nope.  Did I mention I was rrreally popular in high school??

2.  What’s up with polygamy?  Are there still Mormon polygamists?
         I’m starting out with a toughie because a lot of times, this is the ONLY thing people have heard about the Mormon church.  There are no longer any Mormon polygamists (any found practicing polygamy are ex-communicated), but it was in our history.  We believe in continuing revelation from a prophet.  Meaning, we believe that someone like Moses or Abraham is on the earth today, acting as God’s mouthpiece.  Revelation has changed throughout time and can still change.  Joseph Smith (the first prophet of the LDS church) was prompted to begin the practice and Wilford Woodruff (the fourth prophet) was prompted to end it in 1890.  Ultimately, we don’t really know the exact reasons for beginning or ending the practice, but I have faith that God knows why and that’s enough for me.

3.  Why do Mormons have so many children?
This is a good question.  I wonder this myself sometimes 🙂  Just kidding.  Actually, I think it stems from two main beliefs, one, that families are our most important priority and greatest source of happiness on earth, and two, that we lived before we came to earth in a pre-mortal realm- one where we didn’t have bodies, just spirits.  In order to progress, we needed to receive bodies and be put through the test of mortal life.  It was a commandment given to Adam and Eve to “multiply and replenish the earth” and we believe that commandment is still in effect today.  Although, it is up to each family individually to pray and work out their own family plan with God.

4.  What’s up with the holy underwear? 

Ha, this one makes me smile since it was probably my most frequently asked question in high school.  Our “holy underwear” we call garments and we receive them when we go through the temple for the first time.  They are an outward reminder of an inward commitment to follow Christ. Those who have gone through the temple wear them under their clothes.  We believe they offer spiritual protection to us by acting as a physical reminder of our spiritual promises.  What could be a better reminder than something you wear everyday?

If you’re curious what they look like, the church just came out with a video showing and explaining them here.

5.  What actually goes on in temples and why can only Mormons go in? 

I was very curious about this myself before I went through for the first time before my mission, but guys, I promise, it’s nothing weird.  Promise.  (In fact, before a temple is dedicated they have open-houses where anyone can go through and see what’s there- see inside a temple here) It is very sacred.  Basically we just sit and listen and make covenants or promises with God and He makes promises or covenants back.  We believe the temple ceremony is something we call an ordinance, like baptism is.  At baptism, you promise God you will do certain things (repent, help His children, etc) and He promises to be with you and bless you with His spirit.

The temple ceremony involves covenants along the same lines only stronger.  You further devote your life to God and He promises blessings in return.  When you get married in the temple, you make sacred promises as a couple and are sealed together for time and all eternity as opposed to “as death do you part.” Every person who enters the temple must first have an interview with their bishop.  It is so selective because we take these promises or covenants made in the temple very, very seriously.  Not just anyone should come in and make them.  Once you make them, you are held to them by God.  Forever.  It wouldn’t be fair to let just anyone come in and make these promises and then be held to them without first really desiring it and understanding it.

Picture

And just like baptism, you only need to go through the ordinances in the temple once for yourself.  After that you go to provide ordinances (like baptism) for people who have died without having the opportunity to receive these ordinances.  I think this is one of the coolest parts of Mormonism- equal access to saving ordinances and blessings regardless of your earthly circumstances. Without it, none of it would be fair or make sense.  Which brings us to our next question….

6.  If you believe Mormonism is the one true religion- what happens to everyone else?
      First off, we don’t believe that everyone except Mormons will be damned.  In fact, we don’t even believe in damnation really (as in hellfire, eternal suffering) – just different degrees of glory.  We believe that when we die, we will first be taken to a spirit world, which is kind of like a waiting place until the resurrection and judgment.  In the spirit world, everyone who has not had the opportunity to hear about Christ and God’s plan on earth will have that opportunity there and to choose for themselves whether or not to accept it.

At the resurrection, everyone who has ever lived on earth will receive a perfect body and will stand before God to be judged.  From there we go to one of three different degrees of glory.  And the lowest one will be better than life here on earth, so not so bad and not very fiery or hell-like.  The “damnation” of the lower levels will be more like an impediment to the progress available to the highest degree.

7.  Are Mormons Christians?
Yes.  This seems to be something completely obvious to Mormons and not so obvious to the larger Christian community. Mormons be like, “Of course we’re Christian!  Christ is right in our title- The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints.”  Other Christians be like, “Yeah, but you’ve got that whole Book of Mormon thing going on . . . we’re not into that.  Must be a different Christ.”

We’re pretty sure it’s the same Savior of the world, but I will say that I wish we did fit in better or make an effort to join and be more active in greater Christian communities.  We’ve got a lot in common.

8.  What’s the main difference between you and other Christian churches?
Good question.  Let’s start with Catholicism.  Catholics believe that when Christ came on earth, he established the one, true church and apostolic authority.  They believe this apostolic line continued unbroken through the centuries and continues on today.  Protestant religions also believe that Christ set up the truth, but that somewhere along the line, God’s truths and authority were distorted.  They believed God’s church needed to be reformed- hence, the Reformation.  Starting with Martin Luther, many religions were started during this period and after with different interpretations of the Bible and God’s truth.  Mormonism, then, also believes that Christ set up the one, true church with God’s authority behind it when He was on the earth.  And, like Protestant religions, we believe that somewhere along the line, (shortly after the death of the apostles actually), God’s truth started to be distorted and interpreted differently by men and consequently, He removed His authority.  We believe that not only a reformation was necessary, but a complete restoration. We believe God needed to completely re-organize His church, restore His authority (important for ordinances like baptism) and provide His interpretation of the Bible.  We believe He did exactly this through Joseph Smith in the early 1800s.  Read more here.

9.  Why are you a Mormon? 

Ok, actually the question posed was “why didn’t you stop being a Mormon once you moved away from home?” 🙂

Admittedly I’m a Mormon because my parents were Mormon and I was raised Mormon.  When I posted this on my old blog someone asked where I thought I’d be if I wasn’t raised in the Mormon church.  It’s a good question, I mean I’d like to imagine I’d somehow come across the missionaries, learn about the church and convert on my own, but who knows.  I see a lot of really fantastic leaders, preachers and people in every church I’ve come across.  For sure I know I would drink coffee. . . mmm smells awesome 😉

But anyway, I was baptized a Mormon because my parents were Mormon but I have stayed a Mormon for all the brownies and Osmond jokes.  Just kidding 🙂  Actually, I have remained a Mormon because I really, honest to goodness believe it’s true.  It’s hard to explain how I know.  I didn’t have any one major event where truth descended upon me.  Rather, I guess its the culmination of hundreds of answered prayers, hundreds of times when I read the scriptures and just feel God.  Feel God speaking to me.  Like, right to me.  Like He knows me.  These experiences have added up to a feeling that I really just can’t deny that I know.  It would be like lying to God.

But, you know, even if I die and come to find out that the atheists had it right or the Muslims or nobody or whoever.  I wouldn’t have any regrets.  My religion has given me a face, a personality and an intimate relationship to deity.  Because of my religion, I converse daily not just with some vague idea of something greater out there somewhere in the sky, but with a God, who I believe is my Father, who loves me, who has a body. Who lives.

Because of my religion, I know what my purpose is.  I have some idea of why we’re here, where we came from and where we’re going.  And when I have questions, I have a method to discover answers.  And if not the exact answers I was hoping for, at least peace.  Hope.  My religion has given me hope.  Hope that despite all the crummy, craptacular things that could (and sometimes do) occur to me, that it will all be ok.  That even when everything sucks, I can still find peace in Christ and in a Father who loves me and has promised me a plan that will eventually make everything fair and right and happy.

So that’s it.  Remember, I don’t speak for the LDS church, so this is how I answer these questions.  (mormon.org speaks for the LDS church though and answers all these questions better than me)  Also my friends are nice and considerate and don’t really ask any confrontational questions, but if you have any of those or any other questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at celestemdavis{at}gmail{dot}com.  Or you can contact me anonymously through the contact link found here.

I’ve closed the comments to this post, but like I said, if you have any at all, please contact me- I promise I’ll respond the best that I can.

2 thoughts on “Nine Questions I’ve Been Asked By Non-Mormons About Mormonism

  1. Regarding your answer to the question “What’s up with polygamy? Are there still Mormon polygamists?” I thought it was a very good answer, but it would have been even better to answer, Ultimately, we don’t really know the exact reasons for beginning or ending the practice, but …. to say instead, we don’t really know ALL the reasons for beginning and ending the practice, but the Lord has revealed one reason and that is to bring Him seed and fulfill His promises. In D&C 132: 34-35 it says:
    34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.
    35 Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it.
    So polygamy was practiced in the Bible and was commanded by God to practice it. There is more references in the Book of Mormon of the Lord’s purposes in living it, which is to provide more seed in righteousness. Christians can’t deny the early patriarch’s lived polygamy.

  2. One of the main reasons for the practice of polygamy in these latter days is this is the time for that which had been prophesied by many prophets in the past, the restoration of all things, that’s ALL things including having plural wives or celestial marriage and in man’s language it’s called polygamy. There were other restorations as well, like the United Order, tithing, revelation, the true sacrament, priesthood, the temple endowment and others which all but the former is still being practiced in a world today almost completely absent of this knowledge except those who have accepted the restored gospel. The greatness of this day was an envy to many ancient prophets who stated they would have chosen to live in these days if it would have been the Lord’s will. So basically, polygamy is the fulfillment of prophesy and given to us at a time when the Lord did need seed to begin His restoration. Do the numbers. Without polygamy practiced until the end of the 1800’s, the strength of the church would be much less than it is today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *