Why are mormons so pretty

Why Mormon Women Are So Prevalent in the Beauty Industry

The Look of Mormon

Courtesy of @amberfillerup

Any insomniac who has tried to convince herself that “just a few minutes” on Instagram will beckon back sleep has landed, circa 3 a.m., on the feed of a Mormon lifestyle blogger. Although she probably has no idea that’s where she is. The blogger’s faith is never foregrounded. It’s obvious, though — once you know what to look for. She’s white and under 30 and married. Fit and given to flattering dresses that hit the knee and cover the shoulder, she has multiple children and Lady Godiva hair. She knows her way around a braid. She is wholesome but not dowdy; her posts are relentlessly positive but never pious. Until you Google her name and see that she was married at the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), you might not know that she routinely asks herself, while shopping or applying eye shadow, Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?

Amber Fillerup Clark, aka the Barefoot Blonde, is 27 years old and lives in Arizona with her husband, their two young children, and a golden retriever. They all appear on her blog, alongside pictures of Fillerup Clark herself, who is breathtakingly pretty. She offers up beauty and fitness tips and bubbly accounts of her balmy days, as well as a line of clip-in hair extensions, which are for sale on her site for roughly $200 and given names that sound like nail polish shades (“Melt My Heart,” “Platinum Status”).

Like most Mormon girls, Fillerup Clark was encouraged to keep journals and scrapbooks growing up, and she thinks this early education in archiving one’s own life is what leads so many Mormon women to take up lifestyle blogging. Today, Fillerup Clark, who has 1.3 million Instagram followers, just about perfectly embodies LDS church doctrine: She married young, had children soon afterward, has a job that keeps her at home, and — perhaps most importantly — makes Mormonism look not just normal but enviable. She’s not wearing gunnysack dresses and praying beneath a high desert sun. She’s eating shaved ice with her kids and prancing around in a bikini, which, while technically in defiance of Mormon scripture (“Thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain”), is overshadowed by the fact that she continuously promotes an idealized vision of domestic Mormon life.

When Mormons first came to Utah in 1847, Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS church, instructed his followers, “Beautify your gardens, your houses, your farms; beautify the city. This will make us happy, and produce plenty.” The direction was an early example of an animating Mormon sentiment that still plays out today: Outward appearances matter. “Your dress and grooming influence the way you and others act,” reads “For the Strength of Youth,” a widely distributed Mormon pamphlet. Tattoos are discouraged, as are multiple piercings. The LDS church’s website has an entire section devoted to grooming and dress, complete with makeup tutorials. “You are not required to wear makeup; however, wearing makeup can help you look your best,” it reads. “To minimize the appearance of dark circles under your eyes, use a yellow- or pink-toned concealer lighter than your skin tone. Use your fingers to gently apply and blend the color under your eyes, along the lash line.” Celebrity hairstylist and Kardashian inner-circler Jen Atkin, who was raised in the LDS church, describes the Mormon look as “pretty, relatable beauty, with nothing too out of reach. ..though they really know how to put on a face of makeup!”

Mormonism “is and has always been very gender-organized,” says Megan Sanborn Jones, a professor at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. The system “promotes a kind of biological determinism. If you’re a boy, you must want to be strong, play a sport, and then go on a mission. If you’re a girl, you must love makeup. Mormon girls, early on, are introduced to makeup and hairstyling and fashion.”

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It’s a fact that flies in the face of Young’s warning to women to “spend more time in moral, mental and spiritual cultivation, and less upon fashion and the vanities of the world,” which he gave just 20 years after offering up his arguably contradictory domestic instructions. “There’s been a tension throughout church history,” says Kate Holbrook, a specialist in women’s history in the church-history department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “On the one hand, you’re taught that your appearance represents the church. But on the other, we’re taught to be modest and not to put too much time and resources into superficial things.”

Witney Carson, a dancer, model, and fashion blogger who appeared on Dancing With the Stars in 2013, explains how the two seemingly contradictory tenets can be simultaneously embraced: “From a young age, we’re taught that our bodies are sacred temples where we make covenants with God. It’s about self-confidence from the inside out. Inner beauty is really important, too.” To watch her toned legs kick up and platinum hair fluff about as she shimmies across the stage is to be momentarily converted.

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There’s another, more pragmatic way this all plays out, though. Since 1833, when the Lord allegedly revealed to LDS founder Joseph Smith which substances are harmful to the human body, Mormons have abstained from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, coffee, and tea. And it shows. “I look at my aunts when I go home, and it’s like, Wow! They look so good,” says Atkin. “But of course, they don’t smoke or drink — not even coffee. Their skin is amazing.” She admits that she always makes a concerted effort to stop drinking wine for a few weeks before she visits.

And since, according to former Deseret News columnist and Mormon feminist Courtney Kendrick, Mormons “are somewhat missing out on what the rest of the world does to be entertained,” they exercise together: Fitness groups are incredibly popular in Mormon communities. Only after Kendrick told me this did I realize that of the handful of instructors at my small Pilates studio in Brooklyn, two grew up Mormon in Utah.

When I visited Pink Peonies blogger Rachel Parcell at her sprawling house in a tony suburb of Salt Lake City, she had just returned from a Zumba-inspired class led by a friend. With her lanky limbs and glossy brown hair, Parcell, 26, could pass for an aspiring model in New York or L. A., but in Utah, she looks like an ordinary mom. “We want to be healthy for our family,” she told me. “I don’t think every Mormon girl is obsessed with fashion and beauty, but we do like to take care of ourselves.”


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Don’t let the Zumba classes and work-at-home statuses mislead you, though­ — these women are ambitious. When I traveled to Utah, every Uber driver asked if I was in town for “Young Living.” I assumed it had something to do with the LDS church. Finally I asked. “It’s like...essential oils, I think?” the driver said. “There are thousands of women here right now for it.” Young Living is indeed an essential-oils company. It’s also a multilevel marketing operation, one of dozens based in Utah and sold in Mormon living rooms. Others include Jamberry (nail wraps and polishes), NuSkin (skin care), and Younique (makeup and self-tanners). “These businesses allow Mormon women to make money and be ambitious, all while not working outside of the home, which in lots of ways is still frowned upon,” says Jones. And they perfectly align two common skill sets: a deep knowledge of beauty products and a willingness to make a pitch. “One thing we’re taught is sales and marketing,” says Atkin. “Think about it: Mormon missionaries are always knocking on doors. You’re taught to get involved in your community, to never be afraid to talk to strangers.” While you’re at it, why not ask them to consider a holographic nail wrap?

Interstate 15, which begins at the California–Mexico border and runs north to Alberta, bisects Utah County, with a population that is over 80 percent Mormon. Driving along it, one passes housing developments, empty expanses of arid land, and billboards for body modification: teeth whitening, CoolSculpting, liposuction, and breast augmentation. They sprout up as often as­ — and often right next to — signage for the Church of Latter-day Saints.

Though it’s the capital of one of the most religious states in America, Salt Lake City has more plastic surgeons per capita than Los Angeles. “It doesn’t line up, does it?” laughs Julie de Azevedo Hanks, a Salt Lake City–based psychotherapist specializing in Mormon women’s emotional health and relationships. “It’s a culture with very strong ideas about humility, modesty, and...double-D boobs.”

It can seem as though a Mormon woman in Utah is almost fated to go under the knife. “It’s a culture that prizes marriage and family, and there are more women than men,” says Jones. “It makes for competition.” (For every three Mormon women in Utah, there are two Mormon men.) The state’s statistics — 88 percent white, 57 percent Mormon, the highest marriage rate in the country, some of the fastest-growing income rates — paint a picture of exactly who is most likely to get plastic surgery: a white woman with disposable income and a few pregnancies behind her, living among people like herself. A recent report from the Utah Women & Leadership Project attempts to make sense of what to some seems like a complete cultural paradox: “Utah has the highest fertility rate and stands among the highest in breast-feeding rates [in the U. S.].... Many Utah mothers respond to cultural pressure to undergo the Mommy Makeover, which local doctors advertise as a solution to young mothers’ bodies ‘trashed’ by motherhood.”

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“When you come from a patriarchal religion, your best bet for gaining power is to be appealing to the men in charge,” Kendrick told me. “It can be very hard for women who are outside of normative standards of beauty.” Harder than you can imagine. “In my religion you’re not just talking about having to look good now,” says Kendrick. “You’re also talking about your eternal salvation. Ultimately these beauty standards are connected to what gets us into heaven.”

On a warm Saturday night, I drove an hour south from my hotel in Salt Lake City to Provo, home of BYU and one of the highest concentrations of Mormons in the country. Downtown was quiet but relatively bustling, with young people, mostly in couples, strolling down the sidewalks of the extra-wide streets (Young wanted to be sure that a wagon team could turn around without “resorting to profanity”). There was one bar at the edge of town, but it was grimy and filled with the seedy type of guy every woman knows instinctually to avoid. Everywhere else was sanitized, brightly lit, and seemingly stocked with dessert (the Lord did not apparently reveal to Smith that sugar was harmful to the human body). Beautiful young girls with freshly shampooed hair sipped virgin piña coladas while their boyfriends — or, more often than not, husbands — licked ice cream cones and offered them tastes. It was like Stars Hollow, Desert Edition: creepy at first glance, and sort of great at second. It compared favorably, I had to admit, to my own college town, which on Saturday nights reeked of tobacco and vomit. What do I know, but everyone seemed happy. Not vain or insecure, and certainly not mentally calculating the cost of a boob job.

A version of this article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Allure. To get your copy, head to newsstands or subscribe now.

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Why Are There So Many Beautiful People in Utah?

My last cartoon was about a very lop-sided marriage. Maybe I like ’em like that.

Today’s column was sparked by a recent article in Allure. I rarely read Allure, with their clickbait titles, which aren’t as cute or clever as they think they are, but this one had some good research in it: Why So Many of Your Favorite Beauty Personalities are Mormon.

I have definitely noticed this, too. So many of the most gorgeous dancers on So You Think You Can Dance, and Dancing with the Stars are Mormon (including my ex-TV boyfriend, Derek Hough!), as well as huge bloggers like dooce. I look at young women like Lindsey and Witney, best friends, and they end up on the same TV show? And even the talented Lindsey Stirling as a star last season is LDS. These 3 were the finalists! (Deseret News has a list of 90 LDS members on reality shows recently.)

The Allure article tends to generalize about Mormon beauty bloggers:

Shes white and under 30 and married. Fit and given to flattering dresses that hit the knee and cover the shoulder, she has multiple children and Lady Godiva hair.

[But] she routinely asks herself, while shopping or applying eye shadow, Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lords presence? [This last is a quote from the church’s rules on modesty.]

Here’s the part that really fascinated me: a major religion has a doctrine that it’s not only okay to look your best, and be beautiful, it’s imperative! So many Christian religions preach vanity as a sin.

When Mormons first came to Utah in 1847, Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS church, instructed his followers, Beautify your gardens, your houses, your farms; beautify the city. This will make us happy, and produce plenty. The direction was an early example of an animating Mormon sentiment that still plays out today: Outward appearances matter. Your dress and grooming influence the way you and others act,

The LDS churchs website has an entire section devoted to grooming and dress, complete with makeup tutorials. You are not required to wear makeup; however, wearing makeup can help you look your best, it reads.

The article goes into more, including the training Mormonism gives on marketing and promoting…which supports these beautiful women to go public and influence other women.

Like all religions, the LDS church says it’s what’s inside that counts, too. And psychology would agree.

Dr. Vivian Diller says that beauty self-esteem is based on 3 things:

1) How we actually look (genetics)

2) How we take care of ourselves (health and grooming)

3) How we feel about how we look (positive self-regard)

I would rewrite these as:

  1. Our physical selves
  2. What we do about our bodies, or what actions we take
  3. How we think about them

Mormon celebrities are paying attention to what they can most easily control (how we enhance our bodies, #2) and doing something about it. Kudos to them!

Does this give you permission to let your beauty show now? What do you think about the article?

Recommended reading: Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty, which takes an evolutionary approach to your appearance, and is refreshingly positive, too.

If you want more cartoons, check out myfirst book (chocolate) and my second book (love, sweet love).And Like my Facebook page to get notified of new cartoons.Feel free to share this anywhere but Pinterest and Instagram. All rights reserved, and content including cartoon is Donna Barstow 2018. Thanks!

Note: Salt Lake Magazine took offense to the Allure article, but I saw nothing of substance in their rebuttal. What do you think?



Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

The story of a girl who ran away from three mothers and 27 siblings

  • Zaria Gorvette
  • BBC Future

27 siblings,” says Faith Bistline, who was born into a polygamist Mormon family

Faith Bistline grew up in a polygamous family. In 2011, the girl ran away. In an interview with BBC Future, she spoke about what life was like in a religious commune. nine0018

140 km northeast of the Grand Canyon, in a barren desert surrounded by red cliffs and majestic canyons, lies the town of Short Creek (now known as Colorado City).

It was founded by followers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a group that broke away from the Mormon religious movement in the early 20th century.

The community is known for its extremely conservative lifestyle: television and internet are banned here, women wear long dresses. nine0011

The commune professes polygyny - a type of polygamy in which a man can have several wives.

  • "Quiet water, lower than the grass" - how LGBT people live in Ukraine

After a series of scandals, the leader of the religious movement, Warren Jeffs, was imprisoned. But the commune, which lives in the cities of Gildal and Colorado City, continues to lead a lifestyle founded a century ago.

Many years of polygamy has led to serious genetic problems. Doctors recently discovered fumarase deficiency, a metabolic disorder that affects brain development, in several children in the community. nine0011

This genetic disease is extremely rare - only 13 cases are known to doctors in history. However, the disease was diagnosed in eight children living in a family of polygamists.

A BBC Future journalist spoke to a former resident of this religious community and asked her about her polygamous lifestyle and the night she decided to run away.

Tell us about your family

I have three mothers and 27 brothers and sisters. The oldest brother is 42 and the youngest was four when I ran away, so now he is 10 years old. nine0011

My father was kicked out when I was 13 and I haven't seen him since.

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

Mormon community in Colorado City, Arizona is polygamous

Except for the one time he came to my grandfather's funeral six months after he was kicked out. But he did not recognize many of us, it was somehow strange.

Almost every adult in Colorado City lives in a polygamous marriage.

They believe that a man must marry at least three women in order to enter heaven. Of course, not everyone manages to have many wives. To do this, a man must be recognized as worthy. nine0011

Therefore, some have only one or two wives.

What was your daily life like?

We got up at five in the morning. The whole family gathered for a Bible lesson, during which the father read the sermons of the prophet to us.

After that we all knelt in a circle and prayed. Then one of the mothers cooked breakfast, and the father went to work.

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for raping two minors

Some of the mothers also worked, they went to work, and one of them stayed with the children.

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I was at school all day, and in the evening after lunch we again gathered for prayer.

Every day was the same.

After all, you t o would have to get married?

Of course. It was the system. To get married or get married, your father had to go to Warren Jeff and say, "My son or daughter is ready. " nine0011

After that, Jeff arranged some sort of marriage for them. If you were your husband's first wife, over time he could have another one.

If some men have several wives, does that mean that others can have none?

This was not usually a problem because many young men were pushed out of society when they were still teenagers. Some of them watched films, and this is forbidden. So there were more girls than men.

Image copyright Getty Images

Caption before photo,

Everyday life in the commune: men work, women take care of children

Why was your father kicked out?

In fact, he never found out. But when Warren Jeff was arrested, the police released his records.

It turned out that he kept records of absolutely everything. He thought my father turned him in to the FBI. Perhaps this was the reason.

Did any of your brothers leave the commune ? nine0018

Yes, my three brothers. One went to college a few years after he left, where he studied biophysical engineering. The other two live in Los Angeles. One of them is still trying to repent because he wants to return to religion.

At first he also wanted to, but now he seems to be adapting to the outside world. After you leave the commune, you are not allowed to communicate with your family. So, I only found out about the life of the brothers when I ran away.

Have you ever questioned this religion? nine0042

In the church we were always told if you have questions, forget it. They meant we don't have to worry about anything because Warren Jeff knows what he's doing. I don't think people talked about it much because they were followed.

Image copyright, Faith Bistline

Image caption,

Faith Bistline before and after she left the Mormon community, whose religion requires women to wear long dresses

I was sure that being born into the community of the Church was a blessing. We were frightened that the outside world was very bad, impious. I believed that ordinary people suffer a lot. nine0011

When I was trying to decide whether I should leave, I called my brother, who had left the commune six years earlier. I asked him if he had any regrets and he said it was the best thing he ever did.

That's when I suddenly started to think, I had questions.

When did you decide to run away?

After meeting my boyfriend. At first, I just thought about calling him. I got angry because he started telling everyone that we were dating, and this is forbidden. By that time he had already left the commune, but he came to the city to see his friends. nine0011

We finally met.

There was a high brick wall around my house and he parked his car out of sight. I quietly slipped out of the house, but my family soon noticed my absence.

My five brothers jumped into the truck and ran after me. My boyfriend was very worried.

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community lives in a small town in the middle of the red rocks of the Grand Canyon

The brothers demanded that we stop. But when I asked what they were going to do, they said they would break my boyfriend's neck.

We went even faster. It was already getting dark, and as we turned the corner, we nearly crashed into it. I got scared, asked to slow down and jumped out of the car. Then my brothers took me home.

The next day I was able to see my boyfriend, whom I had only seen a few times before, and he gave me a phone number so we could contact him. nine0011

I hid it in my bra. Later that night, I turned on my phone and saw a message from him: "I love you."

How did you escape?

A few months later I was kicked out of the church, but left in the commune - that's how they punish people. My family started to shun me. It was very painful, and that's when I knew I had to leave.

My boyfriend picked me up at night, he also parked the car behind a brick wall and turned off the headlights. There were five other people in his small car, but I managed to grab a few bags. nine0011

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

"I was surprised I wasn't struck by lightning when I ran away"

I took all my diaries, a box of letters, three pairs of jeans and three shirts. I left all the traditional clothes that I wore in the commune, except for the dress that I was wearing.

I was so brainwashed that I was surprised I wasn't struck by lightning when I fled.

What was the hardest thing to get used to ? nine0018

Everything was very different, but I tried to adapt. It sounds crazy, but for a long time I did not know what to do with my hair. We always wore them tucked back, and I just couldn't understand how girls have them so beautifully around the face.

One more thing - makeup. For a long time I could not learn to paint my eyes so as not to stain my eyelids. And it took me a whole year to get used to the trousers.

I suddenly felt very attractive - I got legs! nine0011

Do you think polygamous marriage is right?

No, not at all. I think this is unfair. In the polygamous marriages that I have seen, the men were in the top positions and the women were lower in status.

This is unacceptable to me. I believe in gender equality, but polygamy is not.

0204 You can visit the website e BBC Future

Mormon secrets. What happens in one of the most closed churches in Ukraine

This material is not a preaching of Mormonism and is purely educational.

They baptize the dead, "seal" marriages forever. They don't drink coffee and tea. Recognize two testimonies of Christ the Bible and the Book of Mormon. They have living prophets and apostles, and temples are headed by presidents. nine0234

They don't have icons, crosses or other items of worship.

They are often called a "sect" and accused of polygamy.

Their church is a well-oiled machine comparable to a large and successful global corporation.

There are no random people among its members.

Who are Mormons really and what are their goals in Ukraine? nine0234

This material is not Mormonism and is for educational purposes only.

Everyone is allowed to enter the territory of the Mormon temple, but to get inside the cult building, you need to become a member of the church

42 meters high with a spire surmounted by the gilded angel Moroni. Three floors of five meters each. The cladding is Portuguese granite in tan tones with quartz crystals that reflect the light. nine0011

The building, resembling either a mausoleum or a Stalinist skyscraper, impressed so much that the Ministry of Regional Development awarded it the first place as "The Best Religious Building in Ukraine in 2010".

Today the Kyiv complex serves the Mormons of several countries that are part of one "temple district": Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and the Baltic countries.

According to the rules, only rituals are performed in the temple. Meetings, sermons and services - in houses of worship.

House for worship at Kievskaya Okruzhnaya was made according to a standard project

On the territory of the complex of five hectares there is a guest house with a laundry and a dining room, a house of meetings and worship. It has its own utility equipment, a boiler room, power generators, a water purification system, tanks with drinking water and water for irrigation.

There are 159 temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world, and the number of Mormons has reached 16 million. Most of them in America 6 million. In Europe, 500 thousand. There are a little more than 11 thousand people in Ukraine.

Mormons live in almost all corners of the world, with the exception of some areas of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where the loyalty of the authorities and society to this religion, apparently, is close to zero.

At the entrance, parishioners are greeted by a temple attendant at a counter that looks like a hotel reception. It scans special passes issued to Mormons


Vladimir Denshchikov from Kiev private entrepreneur. His business is related to IT. He got into the Mormon church in the 90s, when missionaries began to appear on the streets of post-Soviet cities in search of lost souls.

As a child, I subscribed to the magazine "Tram". There were pictures on religious themes, and I often asked my parents questions, - he says.

Like all members of the church, Vladimir Denshchikov donates 10% of his income for its needs

The turning point was the meeting with the missionaries in 1993.

Their invitation to worship lay at home for about a month, he recalls. But one day my father said: "Let's go."

Meetings were then held in the House of Trade Unions on the Maidan. Gradually, I began to find answers to my questions.

Today Denshchikov - is one of the leaders of the so-called "Kyiv Stake". Col - territorial unit uniting several parishes.

Vladimir's area of ​​responsibility - Kyiv, Bila Tserkva and Brovary. He is also a spokesman for the "National Public Relations Committee".

Vladimir, as a member of the church, can freely enter the temple on Okruzhnaya in Kyiv. Unlike other mortals who are not parishioners.

Inside the temple looks like someone's expensive mansion. There are no crosses, icons and other religious objects here that remind you that you are in a church

Closed access breeds speculation. When asked why such a mystery, the Mormons claim that their church is open to everyone. You just need to follow certain rules and commandments.

After the construction of the temple, in whatever country it is, we organize open days for the first month. Everyone can enter. Then we consecrate the building, after which it is open only to our parishioners.

For us, this is the house of the Lord, the most sacred place on Earth, explains Vladimir.

To get into a Mormon temple, you need to meet several criteria. A person must become a member of the church by passing the rite of baptism in it. He must assimilate information about what is happening in the temple, and why he goes there.

Church buildings use secular paintings with scenes from the life of Christ instead of icons

Final stage interview with the bishop. nine0011

You will be asked standard, understandable questions, says Vladimir Denshchikov. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you recognize him as a Savior? Are you honest in dealing with people? In a relationship with a spouse?

A member who meets the criteria of the church receives a small but important document - "temple recommendation".

It says my name, date of issue, Denshchikov explains. My signature, which testifies that I am worthy of the rituals. There is also a barcode.

You are met at the temple by a brother who scans the recommendation. Information appears on the computer screen confirming that you can enter.

With this document, you can visit any temple of the Church, in any country where it is.


Briefly, the history of Mormonism is as follows. The world's 16 million people believe that in 1820, 14-year-old Joseph Smith, from a poor farming family, was chosen by God to restore the true doctrine and organization of the church. They were supposedly lost after the death of the apostles. nine0011

Church members recognize the Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, as a second testament of Jesus Christ

Mormons recognize the Bible and the Book of Mormon as testimonies of Christ, which, according to belief, was originally written in ancient language on gold plates.

The last prophet who participated in its writing, - Moroni. He hid the sheets on a hill in present-day New York State.

In 1827, legend has it, the spirit of Moroni appeared to Smith, told him about the cache of gold plates, and instructed him to translate and distribute the scripture. Smith completed the translation in three years. At 1930 he founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, becoming its first prophet and president.

Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, tea, coffee, infidelity of spouses are some of the main Mormon taboos. They are encouraged to play sports, eat more vegetables, fruits, cereals and be moderate in eating meat. Early to bed and early to rise.

More than 100 volunteer missionaries from America and Europe preach Mormonism in Ukraine

As a rule, Mormon families have many children. Mormons only recognize heterosexual marriages. nine0011

Vladimir Denshchikov says that church members have much in common with Christians of other denominations, but there are also differences.

We always turn to Heavenly Father , he shares. We pray to no one but him. Not Jesus, not the Virgin Mary, not the saints.

People usually come to the conclusion that God is nowhere and everywhere, that it is impossible to comprehend him. We believe a little differently. God is for us a specific person. He also has arms, legs, head. Looks like us. nine0234

God eternal, perfect personality, continues Vladimir. We believe that he can be somewhere in one place. It cannot be all over space, like, say, a large gas cloud.

We believe that Christ the son of God is also a separate person. And the Holy Spirit Deity without a body, which we feel simultaneously in all corners of the world. He is the messenger through whom God communicates with us. nine0234


Mormons include Hollywood actors Ryan Gosling, Amy Adams, screenwriters Cinco Paul, co-creator of Minions, Despicable Me, politicians US Senator Mitt Romney, US presidential candidate in 2012

Some of the sacrament rooms in the Mormon temple look like conference rooms

11 thousand Ukrainian Mormons people of various professions: teachers, nurses, doctors, IT specialists, businessmen, military and policemen. In the Kyiv church they say that you will not meet famous Ukrainians "from TV" here. At least for now. nine0011

Romano-Germanic philologist and translator from Kiev Katerina Serdyuk has been living by Mormon rules since 1996. She met the missionaries in the capital's Mariinsky park.

Katerina Serdyuk says that she has been looking for answers to spiritual questions for a long time, including in Orthodoxy. But I found them in Mormonism

When asked why she chose Mormonism, the woman answers:

0234 yours. But you can't explain.

Thanks to this religion, I know that our marriage with my already dead husband is forever. In other religions they say: you came naked, you will leave naked, you won’t take anything with you to another world.

But it turns out that from this world we can take our relationships with friends, relatives, as well as our knowledge. Therefore, the Church encourages Mormons to maximize knowledge, study and strengthen all types of human relationships ".

According to Katerina, her mother and sister, unlike her son and daughter, never joined the Mormons. They remained Orthodox. But the family tries to respect each other's choice.

Mormons play during church services playing musical instruments and singing hymns

When asked if she feels restricted in a church where many rules must be followed, Katerina Serdyuk says that Mormonism is not just a faith, but a way of life.0011

We are not limited to faith and church attendance on Sundays, a parishioner shares. We are encouraged to learn. We have a choir, organize music festivals. We communicate with brothers and sisters from other countries.

One of the provisions of our Church is to be active and law-abiding citizens. My brother-in-law - is an active member of the Church. When he received the summons, he went to serve in the ATO. nine0234

We have people with different views. We obey the authorities, go to the polls, and everyone votes for whom they want.

Structure and mission

Like any church, the Mormon church has a clear structure. For the majority in Ukraine, it looks at least strange.

Representatives of the highest church authority - is, first of all, the so-called "First Presidency", which includes the "president of the church" and his two advisers.

Mormons keep a strict record of church members in order to exclude random people among the parishioners who do not live according to all the rules and commandments

Today the head of the church - Russell M. Nelson, a former surgeon. Mormons consider the president to be a prophet who has the same authority and "keys" that Peter had in the time of Christ.

Second Authority - Quorum of the 12 Apostles. Then comes the Presidency of the Seventy and the Quorum of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, and a few other structures.

American Edwin Kamferman has been living with his wife in Kyiv for a year and a half. In worldly life Kamferman Professor of Russian language, culture and history at a private university. Today he is - President of the Ukrainian Kyiv Mission. Leads hundreds of missionaries. The same volunteers, like him, who do not receive money.

American Edwin Kamferman came to Ukraine for three years to coordinate the work of missionaries.

Our missionaries in Ukraine are asked: "Why are you here? We are already Christians!" "Okay, great!" But we believe we can give more to Christianity , - says Kamferman.

Edwin does not hide the fact that 11 thousand Mormons in Ukraine - is "less than we would like".

Of course we want hundreds of thousands, he smiles. But people should have a choice. We do not want them to be baptized into our Church against their will. nine0234

Edwin Kamferman characterizes Ukrainians as follows: "I see faith in their faces. They are gentle, polite, reliable. They are ready to sacrifice everything so that the next generation would have more rights, freedom, happiness."

Mormon missionaries live according to a strict daily routine and have a uniform similar to office suits

But the mission president has no answer to the question why Ukrainians are in no hurry to become Mormons.

When I talk about Mormons, I usually hear two words in response: "sect" and "polygamy" (Mormons practiced plural marriage in the 19th century; it is now practiced by a small group of "Fundamentalist Mormons" - UP) . I don't understand where these ideas come from. People are afraid of what they don't know.


Mormon temples have their own presidents.

Today the head of the Kyiv church - Austrian Gerold Roth . Together with his wife Trudi, he came to Kyiv for three years. They have six children, 23 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Kyiv Mormon Temple President Gerald Roth says there are more spiritual people in Ukraine than in his homeland, Austria

Roth is now retired. Previously, Trudy ran her own children's school. Herold was engaged in the processing of precious metals, real estate and a bit of journalism.

Now Herold Roth is responsible for the work of the temple in Kyiv and for how the ceremonies are held in it. One of them causes the most controversy among Christians and theologians. nine0011

One of the important purposes of the Temple vicarious baptism for the dead , he tells.

Mormons believe that baptism is necessary for everyone. Including for those who died without being able to be baptized in earthly life.

Mormons are interested in genealogical research. Using their results, they perform temple ordinances for their ancestors. nine0011

We dress in all white, Gerald Roth briefly talks about the rite. Pronounce the name of the deceased. The prayer sounds: "We baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen!".

Everything happens simply, without any "mysticism". Man (who "replaces" the deceased - UP) is lowered into the font, which stands on 12 oxen, symbolizing 12 tribes of Israel .

Baptismal rooms with fonts standing on 12 oxen are found in every Mormon temple and are similar to each other.

Other Mormon temple rites - include baptism, communion, family sealing (conclusion of "eternal" marriage), and endowment (eng. endowment - "giving"), which is essentially the teaching of covenants.

All these ceremonies are held behind closed doors of the temple for members of the church only.

UP reporters were shown only a few non-ceremonial rooms on the first floor. nine0011

Mormons only allow members of their own church into the ordinance rooms

The decoration of the temple is more like a rich mansion or five-star hotel than a church. Here are expensive carpets, marble, crystal chandeliers, flower vases and noble woods.

At the entrance to the temple you are met by a man sitting behind a wooden counter. He is wearing a white suit, white shirt, white tie and white shoes. nine0011

White - a symbol of purity and a required color for parishioners coming to the temple.

The largest and most beautiful room in the temple, accessible only to church members - celestial (eng. celestial - "heavenly"). For Mormons, this is a space for personal communication with God.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not from the poor, despite the fact that it includes people of different incomes and social groups.

Mormons invest in agriculture, banking, education, and construction. nine0011

According to the Austrian Gerold Roth, the church is mainly based on tithes. Each parishioner is required to donate 10% of their income. They do this through online banking. Or fill out a special receipt and give the cash to the bishop.

Like most Mormons, the Austrian Gerald Roth has a large family: six children, 23 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren

At the same time, they assure the church, the leadership does not specifically check what the income of each of its members is. That is tithe - the personal readiness and responsibility of every Mormon.

The principle by which the Church lives is to use the funds received over the past year. That is, we never have debts to anyone. The ministers of the church do not receive a salary. The money we pay is mainly to employed professionals, such as electricians, shares Roth.

Another item of income is "Lenten Sunday".

On the first Sunday of every month, Mormons keep dry fast - without water and food. The money saved on this day is accumulated in a fund intended for humanitarian programs around the world.

Mormons have only one figure to show how financial they can be: since 1995, in Ukraine alone, they have spent about $52 million on humanitarian projects. Mostly for food, basic necessities and clothing for the poor.

The Mormon Sunday worship house is more like a concert hall. Every member of the church can preach from the podium

Due to its clear structure and financial activities, the church may seem like a large corporation or business project, the main goal of which is to enrich a narrow circle of people. But parishioners do not even allow such an idea.

- The structure is designed in such a way that enrichment of individual people is not possible, - assures Vladimir Denshchikov from Kiev. - There is strict accountability and an independent audit committee.

- Those who are in the leadership of the Church have no material motive - believes Vladimir. – All of them are successful people who already have families, houses and money.

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