In light of some of the most recent inquiries at work, I thought I'd make a list of some of the things that folks wonder if mormons really believe or do and include a simple explanation/answer.
Keep in mind, we aren't perfect so despite the counsel sometimes we slip up....
DO MORMONS REALLY....
- not drink caffeine?
We don't consume coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or illegal drugs. It's a pretty simple health code that was revealed in the 1800's that helps us keep our bodies healthy. We are promised in exchange to receive blessings.
Some members of the church choose to exclude other items from their diet based on an individual basis if they feel that it's harmful to their bodies.
-only marry other mormons?
No. Typically people marry people who share their same goals, beliefs, interests, etc. LDS people aren't exempt of this desire. We are urged to find a companion who shares the same goals and standards so that we can work together towards those goals.
-wait until marriage to have sex?
We are counseled to have high morality standards. One of those is to save this intimate act for the person we are married to. We exercise self discipline and control in order to accomplish this and in exchange there are many blessings receive.
-go on a 2 year volunteer mission in which they can't talk to their family?
Yes, but not everyone. At age 19 young men and at age 21 young women are given the opportunity to do this. It's optional. We don't receive any pay for this, in fact we pay in order to cover expenses. We volunteer 100% of our time to sharing the gospel, we don't have contact with our family and friends in order to stay focused. It is one of the most rewarding experiences!
-not watch rated R movies?
We are counseled to keep our thoughts clean. In order to do this we try to keep from watching or listening to innapropriate movies and music. What goes in is what comes out. My 11 yar old niece once asked me "Tia, would you feel okay watching this if Jesus was here too?". You'd be surprised at how easy it is to make movie choices based on this question. Because of how much what we watch can effect us, we are counseled to chose appropriate movies by not watching rated R movies.
-go to church for three hours every sunday?
Yes. We have three seperate classes. First "Sacrament Meeting" where the families are all together, there are usually some speakers, songs, and this is the meeting in which the "sacrament" (bread & water) is passed out. Second, "Sunday School" based on age we attend seperate classes where we are taught a specific lesson. Third "Young Women/Men" or "Priesthood" or "Releif Society". The youth attend their own classes divided by gender and age. The adults attend their own class, Priesthood is for the men, and Relief Society is for the women.
-have super short engagements?
Not always. However, because getting married is the official start of our lives together we don't really see any sense in delaying it. If we've found "the one" and we are sure about, why wait!?
-have to be white, rich, and/or from UT?
Nope. Those of you who don't know me... my family is from El Salvador, far from rich, and far from being from UT. I've often heard "I didn't know hispanics could be Mormon?". The LDS church is a worldwide church, missionaries are sent all across the world, membership is not denied to anyone because of their ethnicity/race, financial situation, or the state they live in.
All in all, we aren't all that weird. I'll be the first to admit, mormons do have a specific lifestyle "mormon culture, if you will. But we are just a group of Christians who are trying to be better....we aren't perfect...don't judge us with out getting to know us. You might find we aren't all that different from you!