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  • Mormons. We know the name thanks to high-profile members like Mitt Romney and a popular Broadway musical,

  • but according to a recent survey, most Americans don’t know much about them.

  • In fact, critics suggest that voters didn’t ally with Romney in 2012 because they were

  • suspicious of the Mormon faith. So who exactly are the Mormons?

  • Well, let’s break it down. Mormons identify themselves as Christians, belonging to the

  • Latter-day Saint movement of Restorationist Christianity.

  • They follow the teachings found in the Bible and The Book of Mormon amongst others.

  • The religion itself is actually quite young.

  • The church was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith in upstate New York.

  • Smith claimed that he received a revelation from God saying that Jesus would one day return to a New Jerusalem in America.

  •  When Smith died, Brigham Young led a significant number of Mormons to Salt Lake City in Utah,

  • where the religion’s headquarters was established.

  • By and large, Mormons are considered a conservative religion, abstaining from drugs, alcohol,

  • pornography, gambling, and even drinking caffeine.

  • The majority of Mormons are also outspoken about being opposed to abortion, homosexuality, and sex before marriage.

  • Most people also believe them to be polygamists, yet the Mormon church denies it,

  • saying it discontinued the custom over a century ago and anyone who practices it will be excommunicated.

  • Reports suggest that Joseph Smith had up to 40 wives and it’s noted that there are some fundamentalist sects

  • of the Latter-day Saints that continue to practice that tradition.

  • While some Mormon beliefs seem to go against the grain of modern society,

  • according to the church, it’s the fastest growing faith in the world.

  • Since it was established with just six followers, the church now boasts 15 million members.

  • With new members, the Mormon church has grown in more ways than one.

  • Mormons practice something called tithing where each person is required to donate 10% of their earnings to the church.

  • And with 15 million followers worldwide that amounts to a lot.

  • So just how rich is the Mormon Church, and how influential are they?

  • It’s true, the Latter-day Saints are pretty wealthy but they are also notoriously tight-lipped about how much they earn.

  • It’s reported that tithing brings in around 7 billion dollars annually.

  • In fact, Mormon’s have developed a solid reputation for being great business leaders

  • and it’s understood that the church's holdings are immense, comprising around 35 billion dollars worth of

  • corporate commercial ventures including temples, ranches, and shopping malls.

  • Religious scholars suggest that for Mormons, giving to the poor and making a million dollars is all part of doing God's work.

  • Aside from their economic wealth and power, Mormons have also started to get more involved in the political arena.

  • According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey, 74% of Mormons lean toward the Republican Party

  • and although Mitt Romney recently withdrew from the 2016 presidential race,

  • experts suggest that with financial backing from the Mormon church and community business leaders,

  • we may see more Mormon candidates representing the Republican party in the future.

  • However, they might have to work on their relatability to the voting public, first.

  • Does believing in God have anything to do with how smart you are?

  • Turns out, researchers have investigated this question in the past. Learn what they found on DNews!

Mormons. We know the name thanks to high-profile members like Mitt Romney and a popular Broadway musical,

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How Powerful Is The Mormon Church?

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