The Insularity of Mormon Culture

The Insularity of Mormon Culture


        “An Institute teacher asked us, “Does anyone remember about the Nazarites?”   No one in our OT class answered, so I said that the Nazarites abstained from wine and any intoxicating drinks and they could not cut their hair for the period of consecration.  The teacher said, “Yes, and they did not touch any dead person.  The Nazarites were a peculiar people, like Latter-day Saints.  We are consecrated for the Lord, we do not drink alcohol and ‘hot drinks’ (tea and coffee).”


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nicknamed as the Mormon Church, has two aspects: aggressive missionary zeal and insularity.   The Mormon culture with the “peculiar people” mentality, other than at their place of employment, isolates their members from the rest of the world.   The Mormon Church strongly stresses being “worthy”, and stresses uncompromising chastity.   I heard a young Australian Mormon girl say, “ I love my (non-Mormon) sister, but I don’t want to lower my standards, by drinking coffee. I don’t want compromise my standards!” 


It is difficult for us to develop genuine relationships with Mormons because of the way they have isolated themselves. Many Mormons seem to think that they are on a University degree level (as Mormons have four scriptures and a ‘Living Prophet’), and “other Christians” are on a kindergarten level.


Secondly, Many Mormons have a persecution complex mentality.  In the early history of the Mormon Church they were driven out of several states and locations, resented by many for their practice of polygamy and their claim to be God’s chosen people.  When we say Mormons are not Christians, they see this as persecution. They think that they are true Christians, therefore they are persecuted.  In fact, we strengthen their faith when we attack Joseph Smith and other church leaders or we say that Mormons are not Christians.


Thirdly, The Mormon Church encourages their members to work hard and be self-sufficient.  Each family is to store a year’s food supply to carry them through bad times.  The Mormon Church offers programmes like self-improvement classes, career workshops, craft classes and dance nights etc…  Mormons become wrapped up in the church activities.  Their being busy contributes to their being insular.  Each member is expected to write up his/her journal every day and do the genealogy for their family.  I saw the same people at Hyde Park Chapel attending a Career Workshop (3 hours a day), from Tuesday to Thursday and planning to go to a dance night at Baulkham Hills Chapel on Friday.  Mormons in good standing seem to spend more than 10 hours a week in their church, as their Sunday service is three hours (Sacrament service, Sunday School and Priesthood meetings for men and Relief Society for women).  Many Mormons have no time to consider other people’s points of view because they are too busy.  Mormons are busy at home, in their work place and at their church.  See what their late president, Joseph Fielding Smith said, 


 Membership in the Church is not for the idler.  He who seeks an easy road to salvation must go elsewhere, it is not to be obtained in the Church.”  (The Way to Perfection, Deseret Book Company, 1970, p.149 - a non- official Mormon source)


Even though the Mormon Church teaches a weak view of sin, sincere Mormons try to achieve perfection by their own efforts, thus their church puts them under stress.  Average Mormons seem to think that keeping the commandments of the Mormon Church is a manageable burden.  They seem either complacent about the serious consequences of sin or hypocritical.  Many Mormons I have met are like the Pharisee who trusted in himself that he was righteous in God’s sight (Luke 18:9-14).  We should share the parable of The Pharisees and The Tax Collector with our Mormon friends in a loving manner. 


To reach out to Mormons be sensitive to their mindset, their special terminology that sounds Christian and their culture.



§ Special thanks to John Farkas (President of Berean Christian Ministries) for commenting on this article.


Copyright© 2004 Mormon Outreach Ministries, Sydney