17 Things People Get Wrong About Latter-day Saints

“What are you doing? You can’t use a calculator!”

My hands froze on the keypad, and I looked to my fellow seventh-grader who had made the statement. We were in math class working on a homework assignment, and I hadn’t realized calculators were prohibited. It looked like all my classmates were tapping away on their electronic math aids. So I asked back, “Why?”

“Aren't you Mormon? You can’t use calculators.”

And that’s when I realized: my classmate thought being a Latter-day Saint was the same as being Amish.

After assuring him that I had arrived at school that morning in a car and that I had plans to use a computer later, I got back to my assignment, calculator in hand.

But that wasn’t the last time I’d hear something strange from one of my classmates, co-workers, or even close friends who had an odd idea about what it meant to be a Latter-day Saint. 

From carbonated soda consumption to having horns and tails, here are a few more things people get wrong about us Latter-day Saintspulled straight from the real-life encounters of our readers.

Remember: While some of these misunderstandings are humorous or downright strange, every time someone tells you something incorrect about your faith, it's a perfect missionary opportunity. Don't ridicule—teach. 

1. “But you don’t celebrate Christmas.”

The birth of Christ is definitely something Latter-day Saints do celebrate (since we are Christians). We also observe Thanksgiving. And New Year’s. And other state and national holidays. A recent survey even found that 95% of us celebrate Halloween.

When someone first accused me of not celebrating Christmas in junior high, it took me a few days to realize where he probably got that idea from: Latter-day Saints are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. And we do celebrate holidayswith cake, decorations, presents, and everything. 

2. “So, you dig up dead people and baptize them?”

No. I corrected the high school senior who asked me this and explained that “baptisms for the dead” aren’t a literal baptism of a deceased person’s body. This ordinance is done in the names of the deceased and by proxy in temples. And we’re not forcing the deceased person to be baptized—it’s up to that person’s spirit whether or not they accept the baptism on the other side of the veil. But the moral of the story? Latter-day Saints aren’t grave robbers, either.  

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