The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon Church” by the media) invites other people to come unto Christ. All services and activities center around the Savior Jesus Christ.
Who Funds the “Mormon Church”?
Many other Christian churches may pay their clergy but the “Mormon Church” depends upon volunteers. The bishop (local pastor) asks members to teach classes or volunteer their time and talents to bless those around them. Under the bishop’s direction, I have enjoyed teaching various gospel doctrine classes, play the piano, play the organ, organize musical numbers and plan activities. My family has helped clean the chapel, cooked meals for sick neighbors, and done various community service projects.
Members of the Latter-day Saint Church pay tithing money (10% of one’s income) which is distributed as needed.”Tithing funds are used to build churches and temples, to sustain missionary work, and to build the kingdom of God on earth (Tithing, “The Guide to the Scriptures”).” Tithing has always been a commandment from God and modern prophets today have taught us to still obey this commandment. Read more
The recent PEW study released on Mormons in America has added to the discussion in the media about Mormon beliefs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is commonly referred to as the “Mormon Church” by those of other faiths, is still plagued by misconceptions which run rampant in the media and in society.
One of the most prevalent topics of discussion by critics of The Church of Jesus Christ is that of polygamy. Mormon polygamy was a reality for several decades in the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith, the first latter-day Mormon prophet, received revelation from God to re-institute the practice of one man having more than one wife. Many theories about why the institution existed have been put forward by different people, both in and outside of the Church, but the truth is there is nothing in Mormon historical records which show that the Lord gave any reason. For faithful Latter-day Saints, what it boils down to is that God gave a commandment and it was to be obeyed.
Very few of the Saints ever practiced polygamy. It was generally viewed as something people did not want to participate in. No one was ever forced to live this commandment and even the women who did choose to participate had the option of divorce if they found themselves unhappy in the situation. When the early Saints began to practice polygamy, it was not clearly illegal. This quickly changed, however, when opponents of the practice took up the cause and the U.S. Congress eventually passed acts clarifying that the practice was now illegal anywhere in the country. Joseph Smith and the other Saints felt that what they considered as a religious act was protected under the U.S. Constitution.
Over decades, societal pressure became so great that Church leaders who were following what they believed to be a commandment from God were forced into hiding. Eventually, Wilford Woodruff, fourth president of the Church, received another revelation from God. In this revelation, God told Woodruff that if Church members continued to practice polygamy, the government would disenfranchise them and destroy all they had built. God withdrew the commandment for His Saints to practice polygamy at that time. In a declaration which Woodruff issued in 1890, which came to be called the Manifesto, the practice ceased. Those who had previously entered into polygamous marriages continued in them, supporting their wives and children. However, no more polygamous marriages were sanctioned by the Church after that time. Those who continue the practice today are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though some refer to themselves as “Mormons” they are fundamentalists.
The PEW study states that among the people it studied, many found polygamy to be morally wrong. At least, this is how the PEW study stated their findings. Taken out of context, it is hard to define what this means—if the participants said this, or if this is how PEW interpreted what the participants said. If this is what the participants meant, then this shows that the negative portrayal of fundamentalists practicing polygamy today has had a profound influence upon current members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon doctrine clearly states that the original practice of polygamy was under a direct command from God. This means that doctrinally it is not considered morally wrong. When God withdrew the command to live polygamy, that did not mean something about the practice had suddenly become evil. It merely meant that God did not find it prudent at that time for His Saints to practice it any more.
This may seem capricious and even contradictory, when Latter-day Saints believe in the scriptures which say that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. They continue to believe that. However, men do change; radically and frequently. What might be prudent for one generation of mankind may not be prudent for another. The omniscient God knows what is best for His children and gives them commandments accordingly.
The practice of polygamy is not morally wrong. It may go against everything we have been raised to think, but that is largely a societal influence. Christians who today believe in the Bible easily look over the practice of polygamy in the Old Testament. Just because it was practiced anciently does not mean it is savage and barbaric. God led His people then just as He does now. That does not make His commandments easy to live. God is the sure standard, and what He says is right is right, and what He says is wrong is wrong when He says it is.
Accepting that polygamy has been a commandment of God for His people in the past and that it is not presently, is a trial of faith.
Of all the numbers in the Pew Research Center’s recently released survey of “Mormons in America,” the highest, most overwhelming numbers are these: 98 percent of respondents said they believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and 97 percent say their church is a Christian religion.
This comes on the heels of earlier surveys indicating that 32 percent of non-LDS U.S. adults say the LDS Church is not a Christian religion, and an additional 17 percent are unsure of LDS Christianity. The theological and semantic reasons for this can be complex, but for the 1,019 self-identified Mormons who participated in the Pew survey, their theological position is clear: Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, and they consider themselves to be Christian.
“Certainly in Latter-day Saint theology is this idea that if you understand who you are, you understand that there’s a purpose in life, you understand your connection to God, that certainly has an impact on how you live your life and what you do, but also how you feel about your life and what you are doing,” said Michael Purdy of the LDS Church Public Affairs office. Read more