There are many things that are shrouded in mystery: the vastness of the universe, the number of species floating in the deep sea, how much of a sausage is actually hoof and snout, and the Mormon church. There's a lot about the Latter Day Saints that people just don't know, something that is both a curse and a blessing to the church. It's a curse because this lack of knowledge leads people under the erroneous assumption that Mormons are something strange and scary, a pinkly-scrubbed army of Stepford husbands and wives with bizarre lifestyle choices. It also a blessing because, well, there are a number of things about the church that are just plain odd to those on the outside. Your typical Christian-based faith does not have the instantly-recognizable image of the Mormon missionary, all wearing their standard uniform black slacks and impossibly crisp white shirts. Also, the idea of a sequel to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, understandably strikes a majority of Christians as insulting, in the same way that designating the Jewish Bible as an "Old" Testament is probably insulting to a majority of Jews. Then there are the contents of the Book of Mormon itself, which makes such claims as Native Americans actually being Jews and Jesus spending a brief stint in the New World to preach the good news to said Indians/Jews. Not to mention such divine pronouncements as plural wives, blood atonement, and baptism of the dead, two of which have been done away with and continue to be an embarrassment to the church. As such, the church is extremely sensitive about its image to the world, and continues to work hard to show the world that they are nothing to be afraid of, that they are nothing more than your pure, dutiful, hard-working neighbor ready to lend a hand when in need.
That is not my interest with this series.
I have a deep, sometimes frustrating love of the Latter-day Saints. It is one of the most fascinating religions in the world because unlike the other major world religions, there is a crystal-clear written record documenting the creation of the church and the life of it's founder, Joseph Smith. That alone makes it fascinating. There is also the matter of the Book of Mormon, which can either be seen as the divinely inspired word of God in the New World, or the lengthy first novel of an exceedingly religious and cash-strapped con man. The Mormons tend to get ignored in history classes, with maybe the odd mention of Brigham Young. What I hope is that I can bring you some of the juicier, more interesting aspects of Mormon history, along with analyses of their sacred texts, reviews of Mormon books/movies/documentaries, and other assorted goodness. I am not personally a Mormon, but I am definitely an unabashed fan, and everything I plan to write in this series is the product of both love and respect for this church and their members. Now sit back, take a swig of your favorite decaffeinated beverage, and let's begin.
Note: This series is confusingly called Mormon Mondays, Since this is Scott's blog and he owns Monday, this gets posted on Tuesdays. However, I still love the name "Mormon Mondays," so I kept it.