Themes

Members of the Mormon church, leading writers and historians, and supporters and critics of the Mormon faith discuss topics, people and events explored in The Mormons.

The Mormon FaithPolygamyThe Mormon MissionariesHistoryThe 20th Century

The Mormon Faith

Joseph Smith
He is one of the most complex figures in religious history and the enigma at the core of the Mormon religion.

Joseph Smith's Revelations
The story Smith told of his first, astonishing vision and the visions/revelations that came after became the anchors for the Mormon faith and what devout Mormons believe happened.

The Book of Mormon
A look at the book's historical claims, the challenges to its authenticity and how Mormons have rooted their faith in the truth of the golden plates from which it was translated.

Revelation
The process of revelation is a central and defining one in the Mormon faith and is supposed to be possible for everybody. Five Mormons talk here about revelation and how it works in their own lives.

The Temple
Mormons describe the experience of being in the temple, what happens there and why the temple is the essence of Mormonism.

The Afterlife
Mormons talk about their very real and personal sense of what awaits them in the afterlife -- what it will be like and who will be with them.

Baptism for the Dead
An overview of the religious reasons behind the practice of trying to baptize the world's dead and the continuing controversy about it.

Are Mormons Christians?
LDS Church members have always regarded themselves as Christians, but there are some differences between them and institutional Christianity.

Living a Mormon Life
Views on how the Mormon belief system and its culture work at an emotional, spiritual level that can powerfully influence how people live their lives.

Why I am a Mormon
The personal testimonies of Mormons.

Why I am not a Mormon
The personal testimonies of former Mormons.

Polygamy

Smith's Revelation on Polygamy
Polygamy's origins are unclear. What is known is that in 1843, Joseph Smith dictated the revelation authorizing polygamy, claiming God had commanded his people to live in plural marriages and thereby progress to the highest level of heaven.

Polygamy's Religious Context
Plural marriage was far more than a sexual arrangement; it tied directly to spiritual principles and Mormon theology -- for example, how one is saved.

The Renunciation of Polygamy
In 1890, under enormous pressure, prophet Wilford Woodruff issued a manifesto that he would only years later describe as a revelation. In it he announced that the Mormon Church renounced polygamy.

The Mormon Missionaries

Personal Stories
First-person accounts of how the missionary experience is an often transformational rite of passage for young Mormons.

The Massive Missionary Program
Some views on the mission program's role in the church, its history and challenges it confronts today.

History

The World Into Which Mormonism Was Born
It was a place and a time where there was an outpouring of religious expression, where seers and prophets roamed the countryside, each claiming to possess God's truth.

Mountain Meadows
Over 150 years later, people still argue over its ghosts -- who gave the order? It is the episode in its history that, to this day, the Mormon Church has not fully come to terms with.

The Smoot Hearings
This famous set of hearings into whether Mormon apostle Reed Smoot, Utah's newly-elected senator, should be seated in the U.S. Senate, led over time to a profound shift in America's perception of Mormonism.

The "Mormon Problem"
Mormons' history of persecution in the 19th century is a part of understanding who they were, who they are and how they present themselves in the world.

The 20th Century

The Great Accommodation
In the early part of the 20th century, the path taken by the Latter-day Saints helped them emerge as a new face of Americanism.

The Prohibition Against Blacks in the Priesthood
A look at the forces at work that culminated in the lifting of the ban in 1978, and President current LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley's personal account of this landmark moment.

Growth and Conversion
An overview of how Mormonism became an international, multicultural church and some of the inherent tensions that came with such growth.

Women and the Mormon Church
In the Mormon faith, gender roles are ordained by the church. Fathers preside over the family and hold the priesthood. Mothers are primarily responsible for nurturing the children.

The Mormon Church and Gays
While the family is the spiritual core of Mormon life, not everyone feels welcome at the table.

The Mormon Church and Dissent
In the mid-20th century, the church began to forcefully discipline its intellectuals who challenged the orthodox view of Mormon history.

Humanitarian Programs
Born out of their own dark days and their theology, Mormons' extensive preparations for their own welfare now have been enlarged to reach out to the wider world at times of disaster or crisis.