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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!
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How Powerful Is The Mormon Church?

1396 Folder Collection
Cheng-Hong Liu published on February 15, 2015
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