2012 marked a historic year for the United States presidential campaign. As with all elections, a candidate’s religion is brought to light and their personal faith becomes a matter of question. Mit Romney was the first president to follow the belief system known as Mormonism. While many religions are surrounded in secrecy, Mormonism is known for its extreme views and vague beliefs shrouded in mystery. Mormonism share common ground with the view of Christianity but share no unity among believers. Relationships among different religions are few and far between. Why would two belief system based on the same principles be so different? Why Mormonism is often referred to as a cult is a question often raised and the mystery behind the church is something to be investigated.
Around 1820 a young man named Joseph Smith began a search for a religion in which he could call his own and would be a source of truth during a time he felt was full of religious corruption. Joseph Smith lived in the state of New York during this time of his life. Smith went to the Bible to search for answer and found James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God”. Smith prayed to God and asked for wisdom. According to the book of Mormon, Smith saw a pillar of light that came around him and consumed him. Two men appeared before him and it is said that two men were God the Father and Jesus Christ. Smith was told that all churches at that time were wrong and corrupt and that he would lead the creation of the rebirth of the new church. After this vision Smith is said to have encountered an angel Moroni who aided in the discovery of golden tablets which Smith spent the next few years translating. According to truthnet.org, Smith’s father in law questioned the validity of Smiths claim and caused Smith’s wife to doubt her husband and eventually leave him. Although Smith encountered issues, the book of Mormon went to printers and was published for sale around 1830 even though it was labeled as blasphemy.
Upon the publishing of the book of Moron, Smith; along with David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, began the building of the church. The Church formally organized in Ohio but moved to Missouri soon after due to persecution from the people who did not believe their religion to be truth. The early church reports may times in which the people claimed to have seen angels and oddly, some revelations contradicted what Joseph Smith claimed was truth. Regardless of any outside rejection and or contradicting viewpoints, Mormonism stood strong. In light of rejection and cultural differences, Smith took his followers to Independence Missouri where he began his work to establish the City of Zion. Local upheaval and rejection again pushed the church to move it location to the city of Far West Missouri, a city located in Caldwell County. It was during this time that the name “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. 1838 marked a year of historical conflict. The Mormon War of 1838 was a time where the mentality of the church led to spilt in beliefs. The conflict escalated to the point of government interaction where in Smith was imprisoned and many followers had their property, home and lands taken from them and they were forced to leave.
By the late 1830’s Joseph Smith and the followers of Mormonism had moved to Illinois and reestablished the church under the previous rule. During this time the Mormons lived in an area called Nauvoo and in a defensive effort, founded the Nauvoo Legion. This establishment was the final push my Smith to develop the church he felt he needed to. It was during this time that many of the Church’s controversial rituals and or practices came to fruition. Smith created the ritual of baptizing someone on behalf of someone who died as a way to atone for their sins and create a way for them to cross into heaven. Nauvoo marked the end of the line for Smith when he was killed at the age of 38. Joseph Smith was killed after he was imprisoned...
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