The 2012 American Presidential has come to an end, the Americans have made their voices heard and Barack Obama has won a second term. The other candidate to presidency, now defeated, was Mitt Romney, a Mormon. Everyone mentioned it, but do we know what it means?
1. The word Mormon comes from the prophet to which the religion was attributed, Mormon, and its sacred book, the book of Mormon, translated “from an unknown language” and published in 1830 by Joseph Smith. The term was actually born to mock the people who followed the religion at the beginnings, and then was commonly accepted because Smith explained the original meaning of it, from the Egyptian Mor-Mon, “more good”.
2. The religion was founded by Joseph Smith in Fayette, in the State of New York, on April 8th 1830, as “the church of Christ”. By April 26th the name changed to the final one, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Joseph Smith Portrait
There was a schism when Smith and his brother were killed in prison, convicted after having destroyed a magazine’s typography that was supposedly averse to the religion. Smith’s designated successor, Brigham Young, took charge of the role, not without contending enemies, like Sidney Rigdon who at that point founded minor Mormons religions. The main group lead by Young preached the religion all over the U.S. and in the world.
3. Today, the Mormons are 14 millions all over the world, mostly distributed in North and South America. But we find a significant number in Italy, too: 24.560 (updated to December 31st 2011), mostly female, distributed more in the North Italy, with the Lombardy region leading. The religion was first preached in Italy with a mission in Genoa on June 25th 1850.
Joseph Smith's first vision
4. For Mormons their religion is the restoration of the original Church of Jesus, in which Jesus Christ is the center of everything. In this sense, Mormons differ completely in the conception of the Trinity followed by Christian Catholics (with which they are often confused).
5. Mormons have been polygamous for over 40 years, but in 1890 the church forbid polygamy and never restored it. Today, the polygamous groups existing have nothing to do with the Mormon religion. The most famous one is The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, located in Utah. Among Mormons’ rituals there is the Baptism of the deaths, that converts those who died without being Mormons by the baptism of those still living as their Mormons descendants. Another rules implies that tenth of a Mormon earnings be donated for the “edification of God’s Reign”. Also, every first Sunday of the month a fast (no food or water) of 24 hours is required as well as the donation in money of the equivalent of two meals. No nicotine, alcohol, coffee, tea can be consumed. After the endowment session, Mormons have to wear the special underwear (called garments), which must be worn day and night. They have to get married early, with no pre-marital sex nor living together before wedding. They have to have many children. Young men (age 19) are to serve a two year mission to attempt to convert others to Mormonism, at their own expense. They are not allowed to visit family during this time. College becomes a priority only after a mission has been served. Mormons also have to wear only modest clothes.
Written by: Elisa della Barba