THE CHURCH of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – colloquially referred to as the Mormon church – is a Christian religion that was founded in Upstate New York in 1830.
According to the church, in 2009 there were 13,824,854 Mormons worldwide – with over six million believers in the United States alone.
Ireland has small Mormon community, consisting of about 2,799 members.
What is Mormonism?
Although the church is considered a Christian faith, it is seen as distinct from Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Churches, because of significant difference in beliefs and teachings.
This basically comes down to the Mormon cannon, which contains four scriptures. Like other Christian faiths, Mormons read the Bible (both Old and New Testaments); however, is is the remaining three books in the Mormon cannon that mark a departure from a traditional Christian faith: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
These scriptures contain revelations by the religion’s founder, Joseph Smith, which Mormons believe are missing parts of the Bible.
In everyday practice, Mormons are expected to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea and premarital sex. They are also expected to give 10% of their earnings to charity.
Criticisms of the faith
The motivation behind a new video campaigns launched in the States, which attempts to show Mormons as regular people, is likely to be the fact that the religion has many detractors.
From its inception, the church has been regraded warily by non-believers.
The church’s practice of polygamy came under such heavy criticism that by the end of the 19th century the practice was officially abandoned (although, unofficially, it continues to be practiced by some).
More recent criticism has also focused on accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia and historical revisionism within the church.
The videos feature artists, surfers, skaters and other people who seem to be generally nice and all-round normal. And while we have to admit that it’s a little uncomfortable to watch the inevitable “shock reveal” that they are Mormon, which seem to have a bit of a confessional tone (“My name is Josh, and I’m a Mormon”), it’s easy to see why the church feels it needs better PR considering other ‘informational’ videos that have been produced in the past, like this one.
Some of the videos:
Hi, I’m Joy. I grew up on Hawaii, love my Savior Jesus Christ and am a Mormon
Hi, I’m Emily I’m a wife, a mother & a public health professional. I’m a Mormon
Hi, I’m Josh, I am a follower of Jesus Christ so yep, I’m a Mormon
Hi, I’m Ron I spent most of my career working to put men and women into space. I’m a Mormon