|Mormon temple ceremony|
What do Mormons believe? Are they really Christians? How many wives do they have, anyway? Such talk arises whenever Mormons step into a more prominent role in American public life. In the nineteenth century, the talk was about Mormon polygamy and Utah statehood. In the early twentieth century, it centered on apostle Reed Smoot and whether he could assume elected office as a Utah senator. Now the talk surrounds Romney’s presidential bid. Some of the punditry has been less than edifying. Jacob Weisberg wrote in the online journal Slate that he could never vote for someone whose religion “is based on such a transparent and recent fraud.”Private Mormon temple rituals have been laid bare in the media, and Romney has had to endure one too many stories about traditional Mormon undergarments. Having taught about new religious movements at the College of the Holy Cross for several years, I’ve found that my students combine a personal openness to Mormonism (one had a long-term boyfriend who was a Mormon) with deep skepticism about details of Mormon belief. Like many people, my students tend to find the Book of Mormon fanciful at best. Translated by Joseph Smith from golden plates he claimed to have unearthed in 1827 on a hill in upstate New York (Smith said he was guided there by Moroni, an angel who also gave him seer stones with which to translate the plates’ strange markings), the book is both a “testament of Jesus Christ” and a history of two rival American nations founded by the sons of Lehi, a prophet who sailed from Jerusalem to America in 600 BC. Link to full article (here) entitled, Meet the Mormons: from the Margins to the Mainstream by Mathew N. Schmalz , Mathew is the director of the College Honors Program and associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross.
Read about the distinctive beliefs of the Mormon Church (here) at Catholic Answers