Remember the days before Google? Before we carried one of the world's most powerful tools–the internet–in our front pocket?
If you had a question about something, you either asked someone (a real-life human being, in-person) or found a book on the subject.
And the questions you were more shy about, you maybe never asked.
The internet, smartphones, and Google have changed all of that. Answers to any question you can imagine are at your fingertips. Which also means a lot more people are asking Google (instead of their LDS neighbors and friends) about "the Mormons."
Today, we'd like to highlight some of the top questions your friends are asking Google about our Church and offer answers to some of the best ones.
Question 1: "Do Mormons drink?"
Answer: No, we don't.
From Mormon.org (an official website managed by the Church):
"Our body is a precious gift from God. To help keep our bodies and our minds healthy and strong, God gave a law of health to Joseph Smith in 1833. This law is known as the Word of Wisdom. In addition to emphasizing the benefits of proper eating and physical and spiritual health, God has spoken against the use of:
Coffee and tea
God promises great physical and spiritual blessings to those who follow the Word of Wisdom. Today, the scientific community promotes some of the same principles that a loving God gave to Joseph Smith nearly two centuries ago."
Question 2: "Do Mormons believe in Hell?"
Answer: Yes, we do.
From the official Church web site:
"Latter-day revelation speaks of hell in at least two senses. First, it is the temporary abode in the spirit world (before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ) for those who were disobedient [on Earth]. In this sense, hell has an end. Second, [Hell] is the permanent location of those who are not redeemed by the atonement of Jesus Christ. In this sense, hell is permanent. This is the place where Satan [and] his angels … will dwell eternally."
Question 3: "Do Mormons believe in the Trinity?"
Answer: It depends on how you define it. We believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, yes.
From the official Church web site:
"The Mormon view of the members of the Godhead corresponds in a number of ways with the views of others in the Christian world, but with significant differences. Latter-day Saints pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. They acknowledge the Father as the ultimate object of their worship, the Son as Lord and Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as the messenger and revealer of the Father and the Son. But where Latter-day Saints differ from other Christian religions is in their belief that God and Jesus Christ are glorified, physical beings and that each member of the Godhead is a separate being."
Question 4: "Are Mormons Christians?"
"Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pray and worship in the name of Jesus Christ. He is the center of our faith and the head of our Church.”
Question 5: "Is Mormonism a cult?"
"Why do some call Mormonism a cult? One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is 'a religion regarded as unorthodox.' Since the roots of Mormonism are not a break off from the Catholic or Protestant churches, it is seen by some as 'unorthodox.' The 'cult' label is usually applied by Church opponents attempting to criticize or discredit the Church. However, sometimes it’s simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding. Such misunderstandings often vanish when people begin to realize the commonality of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really teaches and believes. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world whom we love and worship. When people begin to see and recognize these things about Mormons, then their opinion of the Church usually changes, and old beliefs are replaced with new understanding."
Question 6: "Is Mormonism true?"
Answer: Yes, it is.
This may be the only question I cannot site an official source for since discovering the truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints depends entirely on a person's faith and desire to ask God to reveal the truth unto them.
"God is the source of all truth. He loves you and wants to answer your questions. He will help you recognize the truth as you sincerely seek it and ask Him for guidance. Sincerely pray to your Heavenly Father, ask Him if what you are learning is true. Continue to study and give thoughtful consideration to what you are learning. Listen with your heart for … feelings of inspiration from the Holy Ghost, who will to whisper the truth to your spirit and mind."
Question 7: "Is Mormon trademarked?"
"In some countries, 'Mormon' and some phrases including the term are registered trademarks owned by IRI. In 2002, the LDS Church applied for a trademark in the United States on 'Mormon' as applied to religious services; however, the United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the application, stating that the term 'Mormon' was too generic, and is popularly understood as referring to a particular kind of church, similar to 'Presbyterian' or 'Methodist,' rather than a service mark."
Question 8: "How did Mormonism start?"
Answer: It's a long (but great) story.
There are lots of details to cover when answering this question. To begin learning about how Mormonism started, here are a few helpful resources:
1. Visit Mormon.org - "Where did Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints begin?"
2. Visit Mormon.org - Request representatives (missionaries) to come teach you about how Mormonism started
3. Read Mormons: An Open Book (details and options to buy here)
Question 9: "Why can't LDS Missionaries swim?"
Answer: Maybe they never took swimming lessons.
The real answer is Missionaries follow a list of guidelines to ensure their protection and one of the many guidelines they follow is to avoid swimming.
Some unofficial, but helpful information comes from the Mormon myth debunking site (think Snopes but for Mormon Topics), HolyFetch.com.
They explain: "Before the advent of modern air travel, all overseas missionaries were required to travel by ship to Europe, Asia, and other foreign lands. Missionaries, of course, bathe and perform baptisms in water. The Church has a general policy prohibiting full-time missionaries from swimming. This is simply a safety precaution to prevent drowning or other water-related accidents. There are a number of other mission rules that vary depending upon the mission. For example, some missions prohibit missionaries from playing basketball or other physical sports. Rock climbing is usually a prohibited activity. Mission rules are designed to keep missionaries safe by preventing them from participating in high-risk physical activities."
Question 10: "What makes Mormonism unique?"
Answer: "How much time do you have?"
We could go on all day about what makes members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Church itself unique from other religions, beliefs, and cultures.
For starters, we believe God speaks today through prophets just like in the Bible. We believe that our families can live together even after this life. We believe that Jesus Christ visited the Western Hemisphere after His resurrection and that ancient prophets recorded His visit in scripture now called The Book of Mormon. We believe our Church is the same church that Jesus Christ built while He was on the Earth.
And so much more!
Again, to start your journey in learning more about "The Mormons," try a few resources listed below:
1. Visit Mormon.org - Request representatives (missionaries) to come teach you about how Mormonism started
2. Read Mormons: An Open Book (details and options to buy here)
These are just 10 of the many questions people are asking Google about "the Mormons." To arm yourself with the ability to answer questions when your friends or neighbors come asking, try reading The Power of Everyday Missionaries or the missionary manual, Preach My Gospel.