We realize there’s a lot of things about Mormonism that people don’t know. Lack of knowledge breeds distrust. A recent poll ranked Mormonism as one of the most distrusted religions in America. We hope that by being honest with you, you’ll begin to trust us, and understand our perspective on things.
First, Reform Mormonism isn’t LDS Mormonism (the church in Salt Lake City that sends out missionaries.) Most people don’t realize that there are many types of Mormons, just as there are many types of Protestants. We aren’t the Fundamentalist Mormons either, the ones who practice polygamy in Arizona and Texas. We’re completely separate from these organizations, and our beliefs and philosophies are different.
The history of Mormonism is fascinating. It is one of the true American religions, having been born and developed entirely in the United States over the past 170 years. Because Mormon pioneers were part of the U.S. expansion westward in the 19th century, Mormonism’s history is intertwined with American history.
Mormonism changed a great deal over the years. It started as a simple evangelical/Pentecostal-type religion in 1830. It later developed a more structured priesthood as it moved from New York to Ohio and on to Missouri, along with new beliefs in being the “one true church.” By 1840, unitarian and universal themes were introduced. By the time its founder, Joseph Smith, was murdered in 1844, concepts entirely heretical to Christianity had developed. Schisms occurred frequently. Most Mormons moved to Utah after Smith’s death, lead by Brigham Young, but many remained in Illinois. Sizeable groups continued in Michigan and Pennsylvania, having broken from the main group over the years and for different reasons. All of these Mormon groups developed in their own way.
As Utah joined the United States in 1910, the LDS church in Salt Lake City was forced to give up their practice of polygamy. Those who disagreed with this decision broke off and formed their own Mormon group, the Fundamentalists Mormons.
Reform Mormons broke off from all of these groups (but primarily the LDS Church) in 2002. In some ways we’re very different from our LDS and Fundamentalist cousins, although we share a common history.
We’re individuals who have moved away from organized religion and have found peace and satisfaction by concentrating on the important things in life. We’re just like you – parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends and partners. We’ve settled on a personal philosophy that makes sense in the 21st century. It’s personal, important, and best of all, it isn’t scary like so many churches these days.
Some of us are completely new to Mormonism in general. Others have left other paths, such as the LDS church, seeking something more tolerant, inclusive, and rational.
Unlike most religious organizations, Reform Mormonism is a home-based spiritual path. Reform Mormons focus on the processes of self-actualization and eternal progression. Reform Mormonism has its own version of traditional Mormon ordinances such as Endowments, Washings, Anointings and Sealings. Reform Mormons are not fundamentalists or literalists in their approach to religion, but view all scripture and ordinances as artistic and symbolic endeavors, meant to inspire and assist individuals in their eternal progression. We are a much more liberal and progressive Mormonism than the LDS or Fundamentalist churches.
Reform Mormonism was formed in 2002. Its founders are still active within the movement. If Reform Mormonism sounds interesting to you, please take a moment to subscribe to our email list, or join our Facebook group where other Reform Mormons would be happy to meet you. You can also read more about Reform Mormonism in our Library section.