Here's my Top 10 List of unusual Mormon beliefs and practices.
'temple garment' under their clothes at all times. These sacred underwear are thought to provide protection from evil and are a sign of Mormon covenant fidelity and faithfulness.
# 9: Mormons revere the Christian Bible, but they have added to it three other scriptures of equal value: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Many of their most unusual doctrines and practices come from these other scriptures. In addition, the Mormon President--as the 'Prophet, Seer, and Revelator'--can add new revelations/scripture anytime he feels so inspired (although these days that rarely happens).
Book of Mormon is alleged to have been found on ancient golden plates buried in a hill in upstate New York, just outside of Rochester. Furthermore, Mormons teach that these plates were translated from their original 'reformed Egyptian' language into English solely by the uneducated, 24-year old Joseph Smith. He did this supposedly by looking into a hat, where his magic 'peep stone' was sitting. The English words appeared miraculously in the stone.
# 7: Mormons believe that the American Indians are descendants of ancient Jews, who migrated to America (the new Promised Land) from Israel long before the birth of Christ. The Book of Mormon teaches that these Jews crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a large, Ark-like ship.
# 6: Joseph Smith taught--and thus Mormons believe--that the original Garden of Eden was located, not in the Middle East, but in Missouri.
# 5: The Book of Mormon teaches that Jesus appeared after his resurrection to the Indians (ie. Jews) in America, and that Jesus' coming millennial kingdom and New Jerusalem will also be in America (again, probably in Missouri). This shows the special place that America (and Missouri) has in Mormon theology.
|Washington D.C. Mormon Temple|
# 3: The Mormon Endowment Ceremony, conducted in the Temples, has long been controversial for its connection to Masonic traditions. Before it was eliminated in the late 1980s, the Endowment Ceremony contained a Masonic-like ritual in which a vow was taken, with appropriate motions, that the vow-taker would be subject to having their throat slit and their intestines disemboweled if they ever revealed the contents of the ceremony.
|'The Tree of Life' by Steven Loyd Neal, M.D.|
And finally, # 1: The good news is that marriage in a Mormon Temple guarantees that you will be married for eternity in the celestial kingdom (and possibly, for you men, with many wives, as had the 19th century Mormon polygamists). And like God the Father and Mother, Mormons will continue to have heavenly--and I do mean heavenly--sexual relations for eternity, producing innumerable 'spirit children' that will populate the unique planet of their father and mother, who have become gods themselves. (All this has led some to charge Mormonism with effectively being polytheistic in their theology.)
But the bad news is that all non-Mormons will only be non-sexual spiritual beings in the lower levels of heaven. Better give that some thought before deciding not to become a Mormon (though being an angel is still a lot better than burning in hell!).
[You can see all my posts on Mormonism here.]