If you’re familiar at all with Christianity, you’re probably familiar with the practice of tithing — giving a percentage of the money you earn to your church. It keeps the church functioning, provides a salary to employees, and allows the church to do good works. Mormons do the same thing, with a twist.
Followers of the faith are required to give one-tenth of their annual income to the church as it is one of the commandments given to them by God. Thanks to this practice, the Mormon church reportedly receives something in the realm of five billion dollars in tithing money every year.
Baptism After Death
Like many other sects of Christianity, baptism is a big part of the Mormon faith. However, they have a little bit of extra detail there in that they believe in posthumous baptism.
They believe that if someone is not baptized in the Mormon church during their lifetime, they will go to a Spirit Prison, where they learn the Mormon gospel until a living person is baptized on their behalf. Although out of respect, they do not baptize people with a sensitive history or political standing.
One for One
One of the most well-known things about Mormons is their adherence to polygamy, but that is actually not true. While polygamy was accepted during the early years of the church (Joseph Smith himself was thought to have over forty different wives), the LDS Church banned the practice in the late eighteen hundreds.
In fact, even during Smith's life, members of the church spoke out against the practice. There are still some fundamentalist groups of the LDS movement that continue to practice polygamy, but the mainstream LDS church states it clearly — one man and one woman.
Mormon? LDS? The Church? What's Their Favorite?
There are a number of names for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The one that everyone knows them by, of course, is “the Mormons,” but they don't prefer that title. They prefer the full name of the church, LDS, or LDS Church for short.
The reason for this is that Mormonism is a larger theology as a whole, and there are a number of off-shoot groups such as Mormon fundamentalism and other groups. There is also the fact that people who identify with the culture but not the theology call themselves “cultural Mormons,” which further dilutes the term.
A Good Old Fashioned Schism
As you might imagine, fundamentalist Christians and the LDS Church haven't had the best history together. Smith and his followers were persecuted heavily during the early years of the church, including being chased out of several towns in the midwest before settling in Utah.
Smith himself was also under constant life threats and even died when one of those threats turned into actions while awaiting trial. Since he was running for president of the United States at the time, he is also the first presidential candidate to suffer such a fate. It took moving to the untamed wilderness of Utah and Salt Lake City for the LDS Church to find safety.