More than a ‘Mormon moment’

History has not recorded the name of the journalist who created the phrase, “the Mormon moment.” The originator may have … Continued

History has not recorded the name of the journalist who created the phrase, “the Mormon moment.”

The originator may have been a headline writer for U.S. News and World Report who, back in November of 2000, used “Mormon Moment” as the label for a story triggered by a new Mormon temple in Houston. The church’s growth, according to the story’s author, reporter Jeff Sheler, was “a tangible sign of the rising fortunes of this uniquely American religious movement …the Salt Lake City-based church is finding a home in the least likely places, from Houston to Helsinki, and from Tampa to Tokyo.”

Jim Urquhart


The LDS Church’s Mormon Temple in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, in January.

Two years later the media identified another “Mormon moment” when the Winter Olympics arrived in Salt Lake City. After five more years we entered the U.S. election season of 2007-8 with the “Mormon moment” phrase rising in favor once again. And today, if you Google the “Mormon moment” you’ll get some 175,000 hits.

If we are literal about it, a moment is an indefinite but very short period. An instant. A jiffy. A flash. But The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a long and poignant history in the United States. It emerged out of backwoods New York in the early 1800s, faced decades of prejudice and persecution that today sound unbelievable to American ears (an official, government-issued extermination order, for instance). Yet in its forced exile to the Rocky Mountains the church somehow survived and flourished, growing through the 1950s and 60s while earning increasing national respect, to become today the fourth largest Christian church in the country.

View Photo Gallery: “The Mormon story is a quintessentially American tale,” writes On Faith columnist Lisa Miller.

After a 180-year history and twelve years of calling it a “moment,” we should re-examine the paradigm.

Treating this rising interest in the Mormon faith as a fleeting fad tends to shoehorn the subject into a confined timeframe and invite simplistic definitions and questionable conclusions. In their rush to render judgment in such a context, political journalists on TV talk shows generate shallow discussions about what is and what isn’t relevant about a candidate’s Mormon faith. Fundamentalist pastors, with little experience of Latter-day Saints and even less knowledge, pontificate on whether Mormons qualify to be Christian. A handful of bloggers seize on the moment to drive their own favored topics irrespective of how relevant or important those issues are to the great rank and file membership or, indeed, its leadership.

If we brush away the trivia, however, we find something much more interesting. More and more in recent years we have seen serious books from prestigious publishing houses examine the faith of Latter-day Saints in greater depth. The groundbreaking “American Grace” by authors David Campbell and Robert Putman is a case in point, but there are several others. The respected Pew Research Center has conducted in-depth research and sponsored seminars that remind journalists that the Mormon faith is a fascinating subject for the serious minded. This should be greatly welcomed.

This week, a trio of sociologists from the University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University-Purdue will release a new study that captures just how deeply committed Latter-day Saints are –not only to their own faith, but to their wider community. According to this independent and robust study of churchgoing Latter-day Saints, Mormons are the most “pro-social” members of American society. Evidently, an average church-attending Latter-day Saint provides more than eight hours of volunteer labor a month compared with the average American’s contribution of about one hour per month. Even when all of their considerable service within the church is extracted from the data, Latter-day Saints still equal the national average for volunteering to secular causes.

In ways few people realize, the Mormon people have already become an integrated part of the fabric of American society. I’m not talking about famous Mormons or Broadway musicals or other elements of popular culture, but of millions of ordinary folks who live their values and work every day side by side with their fellow citizens. And since Mormons are here to stay, journalists owe it to their audiences to begin to capture the essence of what it is to be a Latter-day Saint, in ways that faithful Latter-day Saints themselves would recognize.

I have been a member of my church for 45 years since I converted as a young man in England, and have lived among Mormons where they are a tiny minority and a substantial majority. I have worshiped with fellow-Mormons on every continent and been in their homes. I think I have a pretty good handle on what the Latter-day Saint worldview is, what their core values and beliefs are and what they are not. And while the worldwide membership today is one of remarkable ethnic and cultural diversity, the common threads that define Latter-day Saints are easily identified but frequently missed.

So here is my invitation to serious journalists. Get to know us, properly. Drop into our services, talk to our people, have dinner with a local leader, spend a family home evening with a family, be present when a young soon-to-be missionary opens his or her “call letter” and learns where they will be spending the next couple of years. Join with us on a service project. And then, when you have scratched the surface in this way, closely observe the transformation of people’s lives outside the church as missionaries teach them and they go through the conversion process. Watch those who transition from attitudes of hopelessness to lives of purpose and meaning and learn new ways to follow Jesus Christ. Talk to a Mormon bishop –our version of the local pastor, but who is unpaid for their volunteer work –as he helps people grapple with problems of addiction or shaky marriages or unemployment. Examine the doctrine – not through the simplistic “us and them” comparisons that we see so often, but in ways that explain how the doctrine of the church influences behavior.

This is the church I have known in my life, and these are aspects that few journalists have ever explored in their frenzied world of Internet-driven deadlines and 600-word limitations. The “Mormon moment” has simply become the cliché of choice, and it’s time to move past it. It’s more than a Mormon moment. It’s time for a new paradigm.

More On Faith and Mormonism:

Otterson: What baptism for the dead means to Mormons

Kathryn Skaggs: For Mormons, this moment is personal

Sally Quinn: Mormonism’s modern-day problem

Michael Otterson is an On Faith panelist and heads the worldwide public affairs functions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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  • FriendofKeyserSoze

    “to become today the fourth largest Christian church in the country.”

    Mormons may be many things (polygamists, gold-worshipers, white supremacists), but they are not followers of Jesus Christ.

  • Shingo56

    Mormons can call themselves Christians but that does not make it so. Cannot add in any other prophets, saints, or new books and follow Christian scripture. Mormons may be nice people but they are no more Christians than Muslims or Jews. Can’t separate Christ from God or the Holy Spirit. Can’t have anyone attain god-hood in heaven. Mormons can call themselves Christians but that does not make it so. Do Mormons have the right to run for President? Yes. But it is my right to follow my religious beliefs and I would never vote for a religious organization that makes themselves equal to God, horrible stances on women and people of color. Their core values are not there for me.

  • bolojse

    I am a Mormon and truly believe in Phil 2:3. And since Christ was the only perfect one, how can anyone but him judge us, since all of us have failed in one respect or another. Isn’t that the reason for Christ, that he might heal us all?

  • bolojse

    I am a Mormon and truly believe in Phil 2:3. And since Christ was the only perfect one, how can anyone but him judge any of us, since all of us have failed in one respect or another. Isn’t that the reason for Christ, that he might heal us all? Christ lives and his arm is stretched out still.

  • bolojse

    The early christians believed that the testimony of the Holy Ghost was that Christ can bring us into the oneness of God. John 17. We can enter into the divine “nature” of god. With the advent of today’s Nicene Creed Trinity Christian, is it any wonder that the ideas of God have changed from the original thinking of the early Christians, to cause many to stumble over such sublime ideas.

  • TLUnrine1

    How about reading 2 Timothy Chapter 4 – it’s in the New Testament, if you have one, instead of a BOM.

    And see what Christ instructs regarding false teaching, false prophets, and false gospels.

    Then continue to Galaltians Chapter 1 – ending with Mormons being accursed for leading Christians astray.

    If you only pick one scripture, Christ can be made to say almost anything, especially when taken totally out of context.

    But even the Devil can quote scripture to deceive.

  • KayMoody1

    Thank you Washington Post for publishing this well thought out piece by Michael Otterson. I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my entire life. I have members of my family who are also Evangelical Christians. I love them and cherish their devotion to the Savior Jesus Christ. I am glad they accept my faith in the Lord, just like how I accept their faith. Yes, we have different beliefs than other Christian denominations. But by their fruits, ye shall know them.

    The LDS Church produces clean, respectful, faithful people who love their families, love and serve their communities and love and serve their country. We serve our fellow men and women in their time of need. We uphold and sustain the law of the land.

  • kdoxey

    I’d just like to say that I believe in Jesus Christ and I’m a Mormon. I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and another testament of Jesus. I believe the Bible to be the word of God, I believe in the power of the Atonement, and I know my God has not forsaken me just because I was born after Biblical times. Anyone who reads the Book of Mormon and prays to God asking with a sincere heart if it’s true will get an answer. I got my answer and no matter what anyone else says I’m sticking to it.

  • bolojse

    I can see you know very little about Mormonism, TLUnrine1. So I take it from your response that you don’t like Phil 2:3 and don’t believe what it says. Okay. You may pass, except that the Nicene Creed adds to the gospel and leads the majority astray, being “another gospel” truly. So, I think I support your interpretation of the Galatians and Timothy, especially as to leading those astray. It has been shown in recent scholarship that Joseph Smith really did restore the original. The Mormons really have similar beliefs as the original teachings in Christ’s days. Today’s Evangelicals cannot say that at all. I don’t agree with the harsh judgement upon those that have lead others astray, I prefer to leave that in the loving God who has died for each of our sins. Peace be with you.

  • bolojse

    Mormons actually make claim to the original principles of Christianity being restored today in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Scholarship really points to the reality of these claims. Scholarship of this nature was not known in Joseph Smith’s days.

  • Mormondude1

    Shingo56, can so.

  • Finisterre

    It’s amazing how so-called Christians decide who is and who isn’t a follower of Christ. I thought the inquisition ended in the Middle Ages.

  • Mormondude1

    FriendofKeyserSoze, we are so, followers of Jesus Christ. So much so, we named His Church after Him (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).

  • peaceman2

    Joseph Smith was very progressive for his times, and many Black people in his day wished to return to Africa. Most people don’t understand that the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS was unique among others on their progressive pro-Black stances. Obama’s Congregationalists were also some of the most progressive. Congregationalists claim to be first in America to ordain a Black
    man to Priesthood in a white Church (before Catholics, Methodists etc).

    Unfortunately, according to the naacp this man (part Black) was run off when they found out he was Black. Shortly after this Mormons were ordaining full Blacks.
    Anti-Mormons in the 19th Century attacked Mormons for our teachings on equality.
    Anti-Mormon attacks eventually turned to rape, massacre, tar and feathers etc. (some 19th Century anti-Mormons were, ironically, leaders of the Church Dozier preaches for).

    Some of the first anti-Mormon publications said: “As the promulgators of this extraordinary legend maintain the natural equality of mankind, without excepting the native Indians or the African race, there is little reason to be surprised at the cruel persecution by which they have suffered…”

    “The believers in this miserable production, are known by the name of “Mormonites,” and their book is commonly called “The book of Mormon.”…” Among them is a man of color, a chief man…” (From “Hearken O Ye People” discussing an early Black Mormon leader in 1831, whose “Black Spirituality” greatly influenced the beginning of Mormon thinking)

    (From Black lds) The Manifesto of the Mob.
    “This manifesto calls for the “removal” of the Mormons. For (among other things, like believing in miracles) : “…inviting free Negroes and mulattoes from other
    states to become “Mormons,” and remove and settle among us.

    This exhibits them in still more odious colors….”
    Joseph Smith taught that all were equal and that if slaves were set free and allowed education they would outshine the highest white dignitaries. He ran for president trying to free slave

  • peaceman2

    You probably won’t be able to vote if you can’t forgive people. Santorum’s Church has much more serious issues with racism and women, and Obama’s Church is more white than the Church of Jesus Christ, and arguably had some more serious racial issues also.

    Some people don’t understand that Mormons are Christians.
    Here is a list of things taught by Jesus, His apostles, or early Christians:
    Temple rituals: (see FAIR lds Early Christian temples, and many Christians still practice these, including the oldest surviving Christian Church-the Armenian Apostolic).

    The doctrine that God, the Son was born of Mary and became man: This is central to all true Christianity, and the doctrine that men can be called gods is central to many Christians (especially Eastern Orthodox etc) and, according to non-LDS scholars, was central to “all” early Christian Fathers. See: 1 Cor. 15:21,Romans8:17, John10, John3:13,Galatians 4: 4, Phil. 2: 9 etc.

    The Christian Doctrine of Deification
    Edward T. Jones
    From early Church Fathers … “this (deification) they (all early Church Fathers) regard as a point beyond dispute, as one of those fundamentals which no one who calls himself a Christian dreams of denying.” ” Irenaeus: “We are not made gods from the first, but first men, then gods’ Polycarp, himself a disciple of the apostle St. John … man is a creature who has received a command to become God. Basil: “Man received order to become God.”2…Crawford Knox writes that “virtually all the early Church Fathers” taught deification.4 French Jesuit Henri Rondet wrote that “[deification] is found in all the Fathers,” was the “universal teaching of the Catholic Church and her Fathers.” …“most central theological theme of the patristic tradition … “fundamental axioms for the early Church Fathers.”Joyce “the Fathers of the Church from the earliest times with one consent take the apostle’s words [of II Peter 1.4: ‘participate in the divine nature’] in their literal sense. There is no question of any figur

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Who on god’s green earth would take offense to being considered unchristian.

  • ccnl1

    From the Land of Loading More Comments;


    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    “Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah.”

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this “tin-kerbell” got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other “no-namers” to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these “pretty wingie/horn blowing thingies” to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us

  • Secular1

    Although J Smith was a con man and lot of other despicable things, nonetheless he was indeed progressive WRT to races. The same could not be said of that bigot B Young. During BY’s tenure as the messiah of the mormons, there was a black priest William McKay by name. He was having a frolicking time with several white sister wives. BY could not take this. So he run him out of the church and decreed that he consulted with the sky daddy and was told that blacks cannot be priests. So it came to pass, until 1968.

    Back in 1968 the so called living prophet of the times, went back, because of the civil rights legislation and overall bad press in this regard, to consult with the sky daddy about the same. Wonder of all wonders the sky daddy told him that it was now ok to ordain blacks into priesthood. I always wonder, why the living prophets of the intervening years see fit to consult sky daddy or that sky daddy did not volunteer his change of opinion until 1968.

    I wonder our overly zealous LDS folks would shed their light on the subject. Also about their hero and once living prophet BY got a diametrically opposite revealtion from the sky daddy. And why in teh blazes did their infallible sky daddy change his mind in matter of 150 years. How is it that what 150 years ago was a taboo, can be become acceptable and even recommended act. These things just baffle me. I don’t know is it because I am too jaded oe is it because this crap looks like is made up as they go, or is it just that i don’t much trust snake oil salesmen. What is it, can one of teh LDS folks enlighten me on this? Thanks in advance.

  • Secular1

    This is all interesting mormons claiming they are christians and the other christians saying they are not. Actually not interesting, it is all hillarious. Especially each other quoting from the book of fairy tales to justify their positions. It looks like i am in the midst of a debate amongst Al chemists. Each arguing about their recipes, for turning lead into gold, is better than the other Al chemist’s. Mind you none of them has ever turned lead into gold using theirs or anyones else’s recipes. There we go scores of blind buffoons arguing about the description of the elephant. HEE, HEE, HEE, HEE, HEE, HEE, HEE, HEE.

  • chispaquitena

    The definition of Christian is: one who accepts Christ as deity in human form.
    Of course Mormons are Christians. Every religion has aspects that seem ridiculous to nonbelievers, and every religion contains a portion of the ultimate truth we all aspire to understand. Some religions stand out because of their impact on society, and Latter Day Saints deserve credit for the contributions they have made to better the world.
    As an outsider, my impression of Mormons as a whole is that they are honest, hard working, loving and compassionate. Whatever the truth about their life-style, it is not imposed upon the rest of us, and it is not violent. Can your religion say the same?

  • TLUnrine1

    Praying about the Easter Bunny always produced similar results, along with the Tooth Fairy to leave money under my pillow, and Santa Claus to leave presents.

    But sooner or later we all have to grow up, and realize that when the truth of the false history over the book of mormon shows it was produced by a con-man – well that says it all

  • CherylWatson

    Okay, thanks for all that.

    But it seems to me no matter how progressive Joe Smith might have been, “shipping them all back to Africa” was anything but an inclusive view.

    I have not read much about Brigham Young on race. Was he really a bigot?

    And Peaceman, thanks for that too, but I am confused. You say B. Young “believed in some mainstream Christian teachings.” But wasn’t the whole point of the LDS church that it was not part of “mainstream” Christianity and that is was a revelatory church? And wasn’t Young supposedly the one prophet of the one church getting revelation from God? Shouldn’t God have been telling him to treat all people the same?

  • TLUnrine1

    PEACEMAN2 – yes old Joe Smith was very progressive.

    He WAS the first Mormons to have multiple wives – thirty plus.

    Cults are always about sex and power.

    But I give him credit, he married a woman before bedding her, not like modern Republican Governors of NY, SC and CA in recent years.

    Isn’t Romney also a former Republican Governor?

  • TLUnrine1

    Like a conservative calling himself conservative, or a Mormon calling themselves Christian – it isn’t necessarily so.

    In fact Mormons insult the Bible by taking on the name of Christ in the name of a church developed by the serpent who bequiled Eve, and beguiled Mormons, and GAL 1:9 Mormons are accursed due to false doctrines and false prophets.

    Mormons CAN become Christians, through repentance and denying the Book of Mormon, and returning to Christianity and the New and Old Testaments.

  • sfcanative

    Here’s the simple truth regarding the declare to the world that a message about Blacks and the Priesthood was finally in from Kolob:

    (An interview with Apostle LeGrand Richards by Wesley P. Walters and Chris Vlachos on 16th August 1978 at the LDS Church Office Building)

    RICHARDS: . . . Down in Brazil, there is so much Negro blood in the population there that it’s hard to get leaders that don’t have Negro blood in them. We just built a temple down there. It’s going to be dedicated in October. All those people with Negro blood in them have been raising the money to build that temple. If we don’t change, then they can’t even use it . . . [Kimball] asked each one of us of the Twelve if we would pray – and we did – that the Lord would give him the inspiration to know what the will of the Lord was. Then he invited each one of us in his office – individually . . . to see how we felt about it . . . See, he was thinking favorably toward giving the colored people the priesthood.

    And then the next Thursday . . . the Presidency came with this little document written out to make the announcement – to see how we’d feel about it – and present it in written form. Well, some of the members of the Twelve suggested a few changes in the announcement, and then in our meeting there we all voted in favor of it – the Twelve and the Presidency.

    WALTERS: Now when President Kimball read this little announcement or paper, was that the same thing that was released to the press?

    RICHARDS: Yes.

    WALTERS: There wasn’t a special document as a “revelation”, that he had and wrote down?

    RICHARDS: We discussed it in our meeting. What else should we say besides that announcement? And we decided that was sufficient; that no more needed to be said.

    WALTERS: Is there still a tendency to feel that people are born with black skin because of some previous situation, or do we consider that black skin is no sign anymore of anything inferior in any sense of the word?

    RICHARDS: Well, we don’t want to get that

  • sfcanative

    It should be noted that in addition to the matter explained by LeGrand Richards (one of my favorite apostles when I was a Mormon), there were two other pressing issues facing the ‘brethren’. First, college sports teams were refusing to compete with BYU because of the Mormon position on blacks–it was becoming a PR nightmare. Secondly, there were several legal negotiations in process between LDS, Inc., the federal government and The Boy Scouts of America. Since Mormons require Boy Scout youth and adult leaders to hold the priesthood, black scouts associated with LDS troops were automatically disenfranchised from the program. The matter was rearing its ugly head as a civic rights issue, and losing tax-free status with the IRS was going to create a financial nightmare for the bean counters in SLC. It was a convergence of thought, and financial pressure, that ultimately opened the heavens to this modern day ‘revelation’ to a prophet.

  • SixMom

    I’ve seen this before on this thread…

  • SixMom


    To be fair, that’s your story, and that’s all it is…a story,

  • SixMom

    Two things here:

    Romney did what he wanted anyways. So the fairy tale that Mitt will somehow carry out the directives of his LDS Church is just a conspiracy theory. Look who raised Mitt!

    Second, oops, I see someone already explained JS’s position on race.

    Yes, BY was a bigot. And no more than any other religion of his day. If you will Wikipedia “Cain’s curse” you will see that all the protestant churches of North America and Western Europe taught that doctrine. BY didn’t make it up, he was raised with it. Several times in the Bible, prophets have been prejudiced and chastised for it. The LDS church has officially denounced the racism and we know it wasn’t OK. Wish we would have stayed on course with JS’s racial views.

  • SixMom


    You’re a victim of anti-mormon literature of poor scholarship. You don’t have facts, you have slants and mis-information.

    False info, quotes taken out of context, competitive agendas. Don’t be deceived…ask a Mormon what they believe.

  • CherylWatson


    I am not a Mormon but have been studying it. Your note about stipends gets to a point I saw some bickering about.

    Can you tell me where you got the information? What do you mean about “modest” stipends. is there a place I can find out what they are? I have been looking all over for the REAL facts on this. Some people say the top leaders are paid. Other people say they are not. You say they get a “modest stipend.” Can you point me to what they ARE paid?


  • iltstt

    Sometimes I think the most sure witness that Mormons are the true followers of Christ, are all the devils screaming around us.

  • CherylWatson


    Okay, that is good. And I really want to learn about the Mormon church. But I am confused. You say Young was a bigot, and then you say he was “raised with it.” I understand that. But wasn’t he supposedly God’s real prophet on the Earth? Do you believe that? I am just trying to wrap my head around how God would let his prophet say things Young said. They sound really hateful. I struggle to understand how he can be THE prophet, and then excuse things he said as “Well, it was how he was raised.” And then I here, “Well, he wasn’t perfect.” It seems to me there is huge difference in “perfect” and saying the things he said if he was really a prophet.

  • TLUnrine1

    Best kept secret of Mormons is how much their leaders are paid.

    But the Mormons DO point out they are non-salary positions – some can live like Royalty on stipends – especially since stipends are a way of dodging income taxes.

  • TLUnrine1

    More is available to prove the fairy tales about Mormonism, than any truths that a Mormon can produce in archeology or other authentic sources.

    If twelve guys go to their deaths and never change their story about being on a UFO and circling the moon – that doesn’t make a true story.

    There is NO PROOF of Mormonism. Where Christian scriptures can be found in scrolls dating back thousands of years, and while the Bible has been re-translated many times – when compared to the oldest of the original scrolls – there are pretty darn accurate.

    Most errors are man induced – Monks adding their own “corrections” or man making purposely a new addition to slip into scripture.

    Figures can be found authenticated in Roman history, scrolls, other local stories, historians of the period.

    Mormonism – – what proof? A conman’s word of “honor.”

  • SixMom

    They’re basic living expenses are taken care of. No mansions, no resorts, etc. They travel and do LDS Church admin 24/7. They have no other life, no vacations. I think you get the picture. Historically, the LDS prophets and apostles have signed over all their wealth to the LDS church. It serves the purpose of keeping their focus where it’s needed and removing distractions. Do they disclose what the stipend is? Not that I know of. But those who surround them and work with them every day constantly report the modesty of their life style and arrangements and daily activities. For example, you never, ever hear of one taking a cruise or hitting the golf course.

  • SixMom

    “some can live like Royalty on stipends ”


    In that case there should be plenty of pictures and articles of such things in the news. Salt Lake Tribune is very lib and hates the church. There should be plenty of snapshots and evidence of “Royalty”. The Tribune would waste NO time exposing such things.

    Links please? Oh, of course not. Those are just aspersions.

  • CherylWatson

    Okay, here we go again. SixMom, please give me sources. Where can we see how little they are paid. I want to tell people they are wrong, but so far no one can show me how little (or much) they make. Does the LDS church not publish that info??

  • sammomoh

    The Mormon message is not meant for those who have invested in the “Jesus Industry”. It is not meant for those Lucifer’s agents who have enjoyed inventing
    derogatory phrases to down play the restoration. There is no longer a “Mormon
    moment” but a “Mormon advanced epochal history” because “Zion” has been established and the message of the restoration is spreading throughout the
    world like wild fire.

  • rockyrd

    Many Church leaders have made their own way to some wealth. Some need a stipend on which to survive. None of them are pocketing great wealth from Church funds. A few years ago, I stumbled upon the place where the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles park their cars. I always felt this was an indication of personal wealth. There were one of two Cadillacs, a few Buicks, lots of Chevys and a few old clunkers. You can, in your imagination, try to figure out the motivations of the leaders of the LDS Church, but expensive stipends and the accumulation of wealth are not it.

  • rockyrd

    It is an easy thing to make fun of another’s beliefs by relating them to Easter Bunnies and Tooth Fairies. To do this is baseless, anti-intellectual and non-productive. Kids in lower grades of elementary school call names and that is where the intellectual level of such things begins and ends.

    I wonder if the reader has read the Book of Mormon. A con man could not have written it. Perhaps the best proof (if there can be such a thing) is in the lives of Latter-day Saints. We are an imperfect people who are trying to do better and make the world a better place, as are many of our fellow Christians. Read the lead article above and take the challenge. Spend some time with the people and their leaders. And read the Book of Mormon. I challenge anyone to read Mosiah 4 in the Book of Mormon and tell me it was written by a con man. It is some of the most beautiful and inspirational writing in existence.

  • CherylWatson

    What do you mean, Sammomoh? I am trying to learn about the Mormon church.

    What do you mean it is spreading like wild fire?

  • CherylWatson

    So is there a source for the information or not? Does the LDS church publish a financial report?

  • rockyrd

    In the give and take of of comment sections, one must be skeptical of those who use name calling or make light of anthers beliefs.

    To answer your question here is a quote from the Book of Mormon, published in 1830:

    2 Nephi 26:33

    33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

    I also will add that since the beginning, congregations in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been integrated. That has been 182 years ago during which time many African Americans, and others, were being shot and hung. While the Church generally supported emancipation (which was rather amazing for the day), it also supported the rights of slave owners who emigrated to Utah to maintain ownership of their slaves. Slave holding in the Church did not last long and even so, no black person, slave in the old days or not, has ever had to walk past a white LDS congregation to get to a black LDS congregation. The Church has always been integrated.

  • CherylWatson

    I don’t get that. I am reading things Young said, and I see nothing in it that is anything but discriminatory. Wasn’t he like the third prophet of your church?

  • CherylWatson

    And Rockyrd, thanks.

    I am, I suppose, trying “to figure out motivations,” but what I’d really like is facts. I had read a post that the LDS give a financial report twice a year in some conferences. I went to the LDS Church websites but could find nothing but a bland statement that all the money is spent by the rules in place. But that doesn’t do it for me. Can I see somewhere where the money comes from and where it goes?

    (I am getting hit from both sides of this. Some people who I think don’t like the Mormon church say it is all a scam. People who are obviously Mormons say don’t worry, just “join the church” and you’ll see how great it is. I’d just like to know the facts before I get too far. I understand if I join they will want me to give 10% of my income. I’d like to know where it goes before I get too far into this.)

  • sfcanative

    The only place where you could possibly find any financial information about the LDS church is in the UK or Canada. Both countries require all charities to disclose financial information. As for the worldwide LDS church, that information is not disclosed (hasn’t been since 1959) to anyone other than IRS filings required for the hundred plus shell corporations used by the Mormon church to disguise their money-making operations which, for the most part, are totally unrelated to religion, charity or humanitarian aid. It’s a fairly well known fact that the Mormon church brings in between $100-$150 MILLION per week from member’s tithes.

  • ccnl1

    Reiteration is a great education tool.

  • BrownrB

    To CherylWatson: Learning about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is as simple as visiting You can search questions, listen to real LDS members share their stories, and you can find a chapel nearby to visit.

  • Tornogal

    Thanks, I have been there several times.

    I will admit I’m a bit put off by the whole financial transparency thing, but I may be able to get over that. I just don’t know why your church won’t let anyone see where the money comes from and where it all goes.

    Thanks for the note, though.

  • Tornogal
  • emmakt08

    I very much enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

  • EButler2

    You wrote:
    “Thanks, I have been there several times.

    I will admit I’m a bit put off by the whole financial transparency thing, but I may be able to get over that. I just don’t know why your church won’t let anyone see where the money comes from and where it all goes.

    Thanks for the note, though.”

    Are you speaking on behalf of CherylWatson here, responding to BrownrB’s comment at 12:28 PM? Hmm…..

  • peaceman2

    Tornogal is employed full time to attack Mormons. I know, it’s odd that we have this sort of thing in the 21st Century, but….you know, some people are slower than others to let go of bigotry and all that. She posts under many different names, and sometimes she pretends to be LDS.

  • EButler2

    Thank you for your kindness and understanding! We LDS most certainly see ourselves as Christians and worship Jesus of Nazareth as our Saviour. We also appreciate goodness and truth wherever it is found in the world (including that found in other faiths), because we believe that Jesus Christ is the source of all light and truth. He taught us to build others up, to love and serve our neighbours rather than tear them down. We are not perfect, but generally as members of the Church which bears His name, we do try to follow His example.
    It’s disturbing to see such hateful comments about my faith as can be found in this comment section, but when I read comments such as yours, I’m grateful to know that some people do see through the vitriol and make a sincere effort to understand my faith.

  • peaceman2

    Oh, ps, like the other anti-Mormons here…. ; )

  • peaceman2

    I’m just wondering if Cheryl went to : )
    And, areyousaying seems to be confused. The LDS Church condemns all racism, and teaches compassion for all. They have called upon lawmakers to add special protections for gays.

    I think where your confusion might be coming from is that the gay community has some serious issues with racism that they aren’t dealing with (past and present) and you may have heard something about that and confused it with the LDS stand against racism, past and present, it’s funny because we are actually sort of on opposite poles on that…..

  • Tornogal

    I was responding for me, and TO Cheryl. I have been put off by the financial transparency thing for several years, since my husband and I looked into the Mormon church.

    I have posted only under my name and no one else’s.

    Peaceman, you know nothing about me. But your comments are amusing. If I am employed doing this, I am owed a lot of back pay. I have received none.

  • peaceman2

    Sorry, had you confused with all the other Tornogal’s. The one on the Associated Baptist Press, the one on the Deseret News, the one that posts all the same comments as the Washington Post Tornogal 9who may or may not be you) and that other one who posts all the same comments as you and Tonya/Tanya : ) better flag it.

  • noDUH316

    just like noah was crazy for building a ship…no one believed him and what happened to those people (TLU) Just like the non-believers of Christ. Good luck…I would jump on that boat now if I were you

  • tbehrend

    The author’s invitation to learn more about Mormons through direct contact and inquiry is timely in this latest of “Mormon moments” in US society. But always be cautious with anyone who thinks they “have a pretty good handle on what the Latter-day Saint worldview is, what their core values and beliefs are and what they are not”. Despite his nod to the real diversity within the Mormon faith community, Mr Otterson (like many Saints that you might happen to meet) seems to believe that there is something that can be called THE Latter-day Saint or Mormon world view (usually identical with their own). There isn’t. That would be a socio-cultural impossibility. There are, in fact, many Mormon world views — interacting, inter-penetrating, ever-changing, each one with multiple facets. Even the Corporation of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through its control of official publications, pronouncements and ecclesiastical affairs, does not present a single voice when viewed from decade to decade. The Restoration Movement, and the LDS church near its heart, are rich, deeply human traditions that should require no justifications or apologies in an educated society. But like all social discourses and cultural constructs, there is no monolith, there is no centre, there is no one in control of the juggernaut. The authority claimed by its chief leaders and bureaucrats is rhetorical and (in contemporary times) dedicated to brand management; it is not in control. The more Mormons you know well, the more clear its kaleidoscopic humanity is. As for its institutions, they are like all institutions.

  • qskirk

    What a great article. I think that it is odd that bible belt states (Christian States) despies Romney because of his faith. His personal life record alone shows how good of a Christian he really is. Mormons are great people BECAUSE of their deep love of the Savior and the lessons he taught. We believe in him and want to be like him.


    It’s a cult just like Scientology. Historically and actually, Haitian voodoo has more claim to the status of real religion.

  • txmalaika

    You must be a very ignorant person to post something like this on the web. Go do a dictionary search for the word ‘cult’ and then when you are finished with that, go to the website and read the information given on what a Mormon is and believes. Ignorance is never an excuse for slander.

  • txmalaika

    I have a couple of issues with this post… 1st and foremost. This is the definition of Christian:
    Chris·tian   [kris-chuhn] Show IPA
    of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith.
    of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ: Spain is a Christian country.
    of or pertaining to Christians: many Christian deaths in the Crusades.
    exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike: She displayed true Christian charity.
    decent; respectable: They gave him a good Christian burial.

    Look at the Mormon Faith and teachings… Go read the stuff on & Go to the LDS Bookstore, and look at the books we sell. All about Christ and following in his footsteps. Look at the songs we sing, and teach our children. Look at the Manuals that we use to teach our classes. They ALL center around Christ and His teachings.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Notice how mormons literally never fail to steer people to their own church’s exercise in propaganda website for more information about the movement. This is tantamount to sending someone to santorum’s campaign website to get a full picture of his policies and history. They’d love for you to learn more about the church, just stay away from wikipedia, or newspapers, or scholarly journals, because these tend to contain a bit more information than mormons are comfortable giving out.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Trust me, there are people outside of flyover country that have far better reasons for distrusting mitt. He embraces mormon doctrine, which either makes him incredibly disingenuous or incredibly stupid, neither quality being a good fit for the oval office.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Trust me, there are people outside of flyover country that have far better reasons for distrusting mitt. He embraces mormon doctrine, which either makes him incredibly disingenuous or incredibly stupid, neither quality being a good fit for the oval office.

  • txmalaika

    The first thing that I said to do was look something up in the dictionary. I did not say for people to not go and look at wikipedia, newspapers and scholarly journals. I want people to get the whole picture, and then take that picture to their knees and pray about it for themselves. I grew up in the Church, and went through a rebellious time where I wanted nothing to do with it. During that time, I learned all kinds of things that people say about the church, and I read a lot of books, articles and blogs about pro and against the church. I’ve looked into the history of the church, and I have prayed about all of these things, and received answers that made me into a stronger member than I can possibly explain. I currently work with the youth. I can see as I teach them the things that I have learned that the gospel is true and that the Holy Ghost is touching their hearts and telling them also that these things are true.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    As wonderful as the image is, I hate to have to inform you that these things are only ‘true’ because you really, really wish it was so. As for the children, the gospel is touching their hearts because indoctrination works, switch to scientology for tomorrow’s lesson and I’m afraid they won’t know the difference.