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4/2/12

Ask a Mormon: Your Questions Answered

Well folks, you asked, and my Mormon friend has responded.

Even with cutting out the fluff and just keeping it at a Q and A, this is 3,200 words of honest answers to questions.

Feel free to read your answer alone, or everything in whole.  If you have any other questions, my friend E stalks this blog fairly regularly and I'm sure she'll answer with a comment below.

Ready?  Here we go....  (if you see red writing, it's my snarky comments, which I will try to keep to a minimum...)


The best way I can think of to answer these questions is to just address you all one at a time. I will answer these questions the best I can, and I will keep it real. If it waxes too spiritual, I apologize. I am not in any way speaking for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Brandon’s first question –
"Any Christian, or anyone who has seen The Ten Commandments movie knows the story of the golden calf and the 'graven images' commandment. Yet, on every temple, there is a golden statue of the angel Moroni. Why isn't this considered to be a graven image or false idol?"

We believe the Ten Commandments. I have even seen the movie. It’s long but not a bad movie. We have statues and we have pictures. The difference is we don’t worship them. They are symbols and reminders of what we believe. It’s art. We don’t have crosses on our buildings, but we have our own symbols and images that we like to see. The key to that graven images and false idols is the act of worship.

I must admit that I don't know much about the Mormon religion, so please forgive my ignorance. I did have some Mormon friends, before they moved to another state and always found their practice of stock piling food quite interesting. They also don't drink alcohol because it's against their religion, but they were always quite happy to be our DD and never appeared to be judgmental when we were all crazy drunk asses. But, what's up with the no caffeine thing? My Mormon friend said her Mountain Dew habit was the one "sin" she just couldn't give up

There is no official ban on caffeine. This is one of those things that is left up to the judgment of the individual. Many people think it is a “sin” due to its addictive nature and due to the fact that coffee is specifically mentioned in the Word of Wisdom (the LDS health code). We have a joke among members – What is the difference between a Mormon and a non-Mormon? The temperature of their caffeine. This is one that will cause arguments between Mormons. I am on the side of – just a second let me get a Dew – it’s your free agency, figure it out on your own.  (however, if you're ever on a BYU campus, good luck finding caffeine.  All their soda machines are loaded with juice, water, or caffeine free 'diet' sodas...)


I may have religions confused, but why does every Mormon Church I pass have NO WINDOWS!? No matter where I am, no matter how large or small the little "kingdom halls" have no freakin windows. Why would you want to worship in hiding?

Mormon churches do have windows. Even the temples have windows. Natural light is a wonderful thing. The windows are frosted in most of the churches I have seen or there are curtains, but who doesn’t like a nice window trim. If you look on the regular church buildings there is a sign that says – all are welcome. There is nothing to hide in a church service. We just don’t want gawkers peeking in the windows – kidding. I believe it is just a bit of a privacy thing, especially for those that are talking to their ecclesiastical leader. I think they should put in more stained glass like other churches I have seen. It would be pretty.

Mormon LDS Garments Sacred Underpants underwear

Okay, my question is this: What's this I hear about Mormon underpants? You know, the special and possibly magic ones that protect you from evil? Is this a commonplace belief among Mormons, and what does the typical Mormon think about these?

Your question is a little more difficult to address. There is special underwear, but I don’t know that it is magic. It is associated with the covenants made in the temple. They are viewed as a protection and a shield, but I would say they are symbolic. Symbols are commonplace in many religions and societies and that is the closest thing I can compare them to.


My reworded comment/question: I was raised in the LDS religion and left the church many years ago. Although I am no longer affiliated with the church and I no longer believe in all of the doctrine, it is the subculture that I come from and some of my friends and family, people I love, are active members. Ironically, I often find myself defending the church to people I meet who call themselves "Christian". I don't mind answering questions about the Mormon church, but I have repeatedly experienced "Christians" telling me that the LDS church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) is not a Christian faith. When I explain that the Mormons actually are Christians, these people argue and insist that I grew up non-Christian. I don't know where they are getting this false information, but they are so insistent that I'm inclined to think they might be learning to hate the Mormons in their churches. My question is, "How do you deal with this?" Here's a link to an interview I saw recently, an example of what I am talking about.

Honestly, I have mostly lived in a Mormon bubble aka the “Jello Belt” so I haven’t been posed that question personally. I do however have an answer. My wonderful husband is a historian so he has told me the origin of the modern definition of Christianity. Saying that Mormons aren’t Christian has nothing to do with actually believing in Christ (which of course we do, the church is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). The origins of Evangelical Christianity began with the Nicene Creed.  The LDS church wasn’t around at the time. We don’t believe in the traditional view of the Trinity. We don’t believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are literally one. We believe they are one in purpose, but not the same being. They are three separate beings. So because we don’t necessarily hold to the Nicene Creed, we aren’t considered Christian.

Mooner JohnsonBrandini. OK, once more for emphasis. Mormon- one little "m" from the truth".

Yes there is a person in the scriptures called Moron. There is also a Nimrod.


Bart

are mormons freaks in the sack?

 Depends on the Mormon. I posed this question to my husband. He says yes. He has been married to a Catholic, a Lutheran, and a Mormon. He says the Mormon is the most fun in the sack. We have quite the active sex life. I can’t really speak for anyone else.

Brandon (again) –

OK OK OK, I'm having fun with this too.

If you go on craiglist and search "LDS" on the casual encounters section, you find a lot of married mormons looking to hook up.

With fellow mormons, you know, to keep it in the church. Heathen dick in their butt is nasty, but it's ok when it's a brother...

I know it's a generic question, but WHAT'S UP WITH THAT? And do you personally know any mormon 'swingers?' or is this just an isolated thing?

I don’t personally know any “swingers” I was actually shocked when you posted that. All I can say is those Mormons aren’t living in line with the Doctrines of the LDS church. What I have figured out is that if you are looking for something, you will find it. You can find alcohol on the BYU-I campus. You will find those breaking the honor code, but will hide the fact. What it comes down to is personal accountability. The bishop isn’t going to bust you, you in essence bust yourself. I will give the example of the basketball player at BYU suspended last season for Honor code Violations: He confessed to the violation. It was him who busted himself fully knowing the consequences. As for the Swingers – It seems isolated but you will find all kinds. Ultimately it’s their consequences and up to them to confess and decided to stay Mormon or take the consequences.   (E - If you'd ever like me to introduce you to some mormon swingers, I met a fun couple in Logan this past week...  You know... just saying....)


This may be me mixing up the LDS church with that of Jehovah's Witnesses so I guess it's two-part. Do you guys celebrate the major holidays? If so, ok, nevermind it's the JW's I'm thinking of. If not, why not?

That is totally the JWs. Mormons go all out for holidays and birthdays. Mormons are what keep the craft stores in business lol. We try to remember the real reasons for the holidays, but you will never go hungry on Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas in a Mormon home. You might not be able to find a place to sit, but that is another story.   (Craft Stores = MORMON CRACK.  No joke)

D4

Have you gotten to deal with those people who try to knock your beliefs down using their forms of logic? And if so, is it just as annoying, or would you (or Mormons in general) consider yourself to handle that differently than other religions?

I still talk to Brandon. Lmao. I have found it is IMPOSSIBLE to argue or talk about religion. People have their own belief systems and rightly so. They are entitled to what they believe. One of my husband’s step-nephews was telling me one time about a Sunday School class he took on how to “testify” to a Mormon. I wanted to laugh. As far as religion goes, logic goes out the window. I have tried to argue with people about religion. I can guarantee I wasn’t persuaded and neither were they. I find it annoying when people do that. All I think anyone can do is state their beliefs simply. If someone wants to pursue it further, it’s up to them. I think that goes for any religion. All I am offering here is my beliefs, do with them what you will.

Anonymous –

As for the question- I have heard numerous times that when a couple who is high up in the mormon church gets married they go into a room with the preacher and strip naked and get married naked. Is this true? Because if so, I think it is super-duper strange. Also- why have the mormon scriptures changed repeatedly over the years. It is like every so many years they are updated and changed. I know that this has happened- and I want to know why- because if they are supposedly true then why would they need to be changed? Also- what is the deal with the password that you supposedly get when you get married- isn't it supposed to help you find your spouse in heaven? What if your spouse dies and you remarry- do you get another password?

 You have definitely been deceived. First point – there is one Mormon Temple in Idaho Falls. There is also one in Rexburg. What you see everywhere are the meeting houses. In Utah there seems to be another one every block. Having been married in the Temple, I guarantee we didn’t strip down naked. We were dressed completely in white. We were in a room with friends and family who were invited to be there and held LDS Temple Recommends. They brought our children in later to be sealed to us, but no one was naked in that or any other ceremony I have been to in the Temple.

Second Point - I am not sure what you mean about the scriptures changing over the years. Any “changes” have been updating punctuation and basic formatting. They have added footnotes and cross-references but nothing has been changed. The look has changed but the words are the same. They have just wanted to make them easier to study and look up similar references


Third Point -  There isn’t a password. You are given a sacred name to remember which you only get once. I don’t understand all of that completely, but that is what I can honestly tell you as I know it.

On a side note – you commented about worrying about putting your kids in private school. I honestly don’t think they would be outcasts. There is more of a variety of religions in Idaho Falls than you might think. In my small town school I knew a handful of non-Mormons in high school. I didn’t really see them as outcasts.

(Back to Anon, if you're reading this.  I know a few 'cool' mormons in Town, and E is one of them.  If you come to town, I'll introduce you two.  Maybe over coffee?  HA!)


I dont know much about mormons, but I wanted to ask this question to all those religious fanatics.
One of my Christian friends asked me this "how do you tolerate gays?"
This is my response, "as long as they dont knock my door, and disrespect me and my orientation and ask me to ask for forgiveness for my lifestyle and principles in a condescending tone and ask me to donate and dedicate my life to the homosexuality and my life savings and go to gayparade and ask me to participate in gay orgies and RAPE me - I can "tolerate" them totally well.

By whom should I be offended the most - religion rapists or homosexuals?

I am not going to judge a homosexual. That is not my place. It goes back to judge not that you be not judged. My personal beliefs are that it is a sexual sin, all people are given different urges and it is a choice whether or not to act on those urges. I am not free from this. I have had urges and attractions towards other females, but I haven’t acted on these. I am not saying I am better than anyone, there have been things that I have done when I wasn’t going to church that I am not proud of and I worried that people would judge me because of them. No one is perfect. I don’t want PDA shoved in my face from any group. I don’t agree with the practice, but I don’t love my Lesbian cousin any less. It would be difficult to have a child come to me and tell me they were homosexual but I certainly wouldn’t disown him or her. People’s lives are their own responsibility. What they do is between them and their God. That is about as much as I can say. I am certainly only speaking for myself at this point. I am not speaking for the church. Just my own views.

I wasn’t offended by the question. I don’t think anyone else should be, ultimately someone would choose to be offended. I hope I don’t offend too many with my answer.

JJ

I guess everyone has seen the Mormon "underpants" but it's not really underpants. The garments that are to be worn under clothes. Do all Mormons use this and what's the deal?

Yes, they are called garments and are to be worn under the clothes day and night. Exceptions are like swimming or sports uniforms. The Mormons who wear these have been through a Temple ceremony and have made certain covenants and promises.

Anonymous –

According to Mormons, why are we here? What's the point of life?

The purpose of life is to be tested! Start studying! In all seriousness it is about seeing how we react to different situations. We are proving to ourselves what we can do. We are here to have families and put up with and endure what we have to face. Most important – We are here to have and experience Joy!


Here's my question: How do you feel about the things that Brandon writes about Mormons? Do you find the things he says to be accurate? Off-base? Hilarious? Offensive? Perfectly dead-on?

I am friends with Brandon. I have actually talked to him about some of his posts and clarified points that he has made. Some of it’s funny and I have led him to different information that has made its way. Some of it is new to me, like the swingers thing. I don’t necessarily agree with everything, or find it funny, but he has an interesting view of our valley. It needs to be scrutinized sometimes. There are things about Mormons that are very peculiar and sometimes very funny.  I find it most hilarious when we make fun of ourselves. I find Brandon to be mostly respectful and just pointing out the peculiarities.

(If I'm treading into some murky water, I've used E to fact-check some things or get clarification.  I'm not here to offend, just point out the things I find amusing.  There was only one time that mormons truly pissed me off, and that was when I first moved here.  I was job hunting, and was turned away numerous times because I didn't answer the 'which ward do you belong to' question correctly....)


I grew up in the Boise area so I know a little more than the average person about the Mormons, and even visited a ward a couple of times. One thing I can't understand is what your view of salvation is all about. It seems like you have to work and perform all sorts of things before you are able to enter the highest celestial kingdom. And what's up with all the different levels of heaven?

I am not going to do this question justice. I have had many years of learning about it and still am not quite sure how to explain it. I want to be able to answer in a way that will help you understand, but in this format, I am really not equipped to answer in a way that would be satisfactory to you. I am not an expert so any answer I give would be lacking.

The LDS church has a website for non members that answers the doctrinal questions - http://mormon.org/plan-of-happiness/ might help you more than I can if you genuinely want a better answer to this question. It also has answers for the second anonymous question.

Ado

So glad you linked up so I could stumble across your FUNNY blog and read some of your posts.
I have many questions for Mormons. Once I dated a Mormon (they are all so darn good-looking, aren't they? How do they do that?) Yeah that is my question - how come they all have perfect teeth? Are there any Goth-Mormons? Also, on a more serious note - my ex who was a good-looking Mormon had a falling out w. his parents because he went outside in 90 degree LA heat to play b-ball in a tank top - meaning - he wasn't wearing his church-approved undies - and they had a cow.
This scene nearly did him in. He was so torn between Mormon life and regular American culture (or lack thereof). The underwear thing really seemed to not be a good thing. Got any thoughts on the undies front? Is it ok to wear just a b-ball top - or not?

Considering the BYU basketball team wears tank tops, and many of them are Returned Missionaries and Married, they don’t wear their garments when they play. Steve Young didn’t wear his when he played football. Sean Bradley, I can go on and on. I don’t wear mine while swimming. It would be difficult to wear with even a modest swimsuit.  We aren’t supposed to look for opportunities to not wear them, but if it is a circumstance where they could be damaged or where it would be difficult to wear them it is allowed. Honestly, it’s between him and his conscience.

As far as Goth Mormons, I don’t know. I am sure there is at least one somewhere. People are still people with personalities.

Perfect teeth – lots of Mormon Dentists and good clean living. 





And there you have it!  If you have any other questions/comments/concerns/complaints, feel free to leave a comment below (anonymously, if you like...).  I'll let E know this post is live, and I'm sure she'll interact if anyone has anything else they'd like to know.

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26 witty retorts:

Zombie said...

That was fun!! You gotta do something like this again! :D

Mooner Johnson said...

Brandini and Mormon Buddy of Brandini. OK, first, thanks for the many insights into what is an interesting subject. I have a close relative who converted from Southern Baptist to Mormon in order to marry. She was totally wacked before conversion and more so afterword, so I've never taken her views to heart. It's interesting to read what you have to say.

Second, most of your answers seemed sincere, but some sound like "party line", like with the difference between placing idols in clear and prominant view on your church and "worshipping" said idols. That's like saying, "I only have a swaztica tatooed on my forhead, I'm not really a Nazi."

Third, your Nimrod comment makes me want to get to know you. I think not many people will get the reference to the confusing Biblical figure, and I'm guessing that you invision me as the horned version of the King of Balal. Good call.

Sweety Darlin said...

Thanks for the insight! I always find it intriguing to learn about religions. My own path led me to Buddhism from Southern Baptist, much to my parent dismay. Of course once I gave them the book that led me that direction, they understood and agreed.

www.sweetydarlin.blogspot.com

A Beer for the Shower said...

Agreed with Zombie, this was great! Thanks for answering my question, and also for posting a picture of Mormon underwear, which is giving me the weirdest boner right now.

Bozo said...

E, this was very interesting! Thanks for sharing something so personal with all of us. I hardly know a thing about Mormons and so all your answers were very enlightening.

Brandon, great idea for a post. Thanks!

Gia said...

Hah - your husband BETTER say mormons are best in bed!! That's an easy question for him ;)

CrazyTragicAlmostMagic said...

Thanks for answering my question and the others. It provided insight to a way of life I knew nothing about.

E said...

GIA - haha yeah, but you would be suprised some of the things we have done in bed. I think it would shock people.

I was honestly expecting a different set of questions. Some of you went really deep.

Mooner Johnson - I know some of them sound like a party line, but there are only so many ways to explain some of it without going too deep. Some of it is really too close to my heart to do it justice or set it up to be made fun of. Keeping it simple just seemed to work best. I was hoping I could have had a bit more humor but some of these questions didn't warrant it.

The picture of the underwear was Brandon. I wouldn't have gone that far lol!

E said...

Oh and thanks for letting me do this, I would totally do it again!

Speaking of the job hunting thing, my husband ran into the "what ward are you in thing" that is so not legal to discriminate on when looking for employees.

E said...

Bigger crack for a Mormon than a craft store, A SCRAPBOOK STORE! Though I don't scrapbook. I may have to hire your girl, Brandon. I just don't do the scrapbook thing.

Workingdan said...

I must have missed the post where we get to ask q's! Those are some interesting answers though.

The thing about Mormon underwear is just a bit weird though. I mean look at those things! I would shoot myself if I had to wear them. Unlike Bryan from ABFTS, I do not have a boner! lol

Leon Kennedy said...

i'm intrigued by this special magic underwear.

E said...

not magic. Symbolic. it is what it is. No one is asking you to wear it. There is a lot of covenants involved. You have to want it to get to the point where you wear it.

Youngman Brown said...

Thanks for answering my question, and really good post overall. Thanks for doing this.

Lady Estrogen said...

Many Married Mormons (i kinda want to say that 5 times fast) looking to hook up... wuh? Hummm...

Not the Hero said...

As an Excommunicated Mormon I'll vouch for everything E said. I served my mission, wore the special underwear, which are probably the most comfortable things I've ever worn.

My favorite thing E said was that there is no room for logic when talking about religion. This is why I left the church. I was far too logical and the doctrine of the church didn't fit the way my brain worked.

I will never bash the church. It is an amazing organization that does some fantastic things for people the world over. There is a reason it is the fastest growing form of Christianity in the world. However if you have a predilection towards using your brain to understand the world instead of faith, you're going to have a bad time.

PS. Still wish I could get the bottom Garments to wear as briefs without a temple recommend, So comfy.

Mandy_Fish said...

It seems like the symbolic underwear would get in the way of certain clothing ... skinny jeans, dresses, skirts, shorts, etc. I have a Mormon friend and she wears shorts and there's no way she's got those bloomers tucked up under there!

At what age do people start wearing the underwear? Or is it like a hijab and it's the wearer's choice of whether they ever wear it or not?

meandmythinkingcap said...

Thank you for answering my question. I wouldn't say right answer but appreciate your honest and brave response without taking offense. Underwear reminds me of my catholic allgirls school drama days. We wear special underwears like these to play boy roles. Moving bulges up and down ;)

D4 said...

This was an insightful read, I'm glad I stopped by to ask and to see the end result

G said...

I like the concept that we're all here to be tested...like some great divine Turin test

E said...

Mandy_Fish

There really is no age. For guys its either at about 19 when they go on a mission or when they get married if they decided to stay with the church and not go on a mission. For a girl its when she gets married or decides she is ready to go. Sometimes at 21 when she is eligible to go on a mission.

As far as clothes go, the LDS church emphasizes modesty so most people wearing the garments aren't going to wear the mini skirts and short shorts. My husband laughs every time he sees a cute blonde lady in a mini van wearing a pink t-shirt and tan capris, usually two or three kids in tow. That seems very stereotypical Utah Mormon, but they are everywhere. I know some that wear shorts, but usually to the knees as long as they are covered it is okay.

Not the Hero - I agree it is comfortable. When I said there is no room for logic. I meant you can throw all the logic you want at someone who believes something and if they believe it enough it will not change your mind. Though, I am glad you aren't one of those that left the church and decided to bash it. I think if you don't like it, just leave it alone. stop trying to make everyone else miserable. :)

For all your curiosity about the underwear. My husband is a recent convert to the Mormon church. He hated the idea of the underwear especially white. He is doing just fine now. He calls them angel chaps. something from his days teasing a friend of his about being mormon.

I hope I am doing this justice.

Out of Barnes said...

I was a little disappointed my question wasn't answered, but I understand it is a little difficult to answer such a theological question on a blog like this. Thanks for the link though. It seems like the Mormons are just as normal as any other Christian religion, and you have your share of strange concepts like everyone else.

Sonja said...

I REALLY enjoyed this post. as a practicing pagan, one of our "things" is acceptance. I think we are so used to being persecuted and judged that we try not to do that to other ppl. One of the things that has helped me in doing this is learning ABOUT those other regions and not pointing my finger at the differences or practices. Especially if they seem "weird" or "odd", since we have quite a few of our own. One of the religions that I haven't had a lot of experience with is Mormons, so reading this was very informitave. Thank you for the post.

E said...

Out of Barnes, yours was one of the deeper questions. When the missionaries teach that subject it takes more than one lesson and visual aids and that is just the simplified answer. Yours went deeper. I wanted to answer it, but I still don't see how I could have done it justice.

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog and comments. The problem about understanding the Mormon faith is the same problem as 12 blind men touching different parts of an elephant. Limited experience will give you a distorted view. it is easy to indict the whole religion based on an experience with one crackpot i.e. We don't pray over everything. Mormons have high standards of virtue, modesty, chastity, honesty, Sabbath observance. They have a high degree of belief in their doctrines, a high level of commitment of their time, talents and money to the church and also helping people in their own communities as well as foreign countries. They do not, or should not judge other people by the same standards they apply for themselves. Some members lack experience with a more diverse community and they may say or do something stupid. I.e I would never ask a job applicant what ward they go to and seek any information that would disclose their religious beliefs. And I don't think well of anyone volunteers the information that they are Mormon in a job interview.
One interesting thing to note is that belief in the faith and committed practice of the religion actually is greater among Mormons with a higher level of education. The religion/science war is not widely prevalent in the faith.

Anonymous said...

HI, TEMPLE OF DOOM OCCULTS, WHAT DID YOU MORMONS DO TO BILL SHOEBELEN, THE EX DRUID, DID HE WANT MORE SEX MONEY WHAT> TALK ABOUT BEING EXPOSED, AND THE LIE CONTINUES, BOY YOU GUYS WANT THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT, OR THE LAKE OF FIRE, THAT IS, AND IS HAPPENING TO YOU MORMONS THE DIVINE JUDGEMENT IS UPON YOU, AND YOUR LITTLE SATANIC BROTHER OF JESUS IS CRYING LIKE A BABY, WHEN THE LION OF JUDAH COMES, AND THE WRATE OF THE CUP OF ALMIGHTY GOD WILL EXPOSE YOU ONCE AND FOR ALL.

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