Lots of people think Mormons are weird. I actually agree with them. Let me tell you why.
Mormons are members of the only church on the planet that attempts to incorporate the structure and ordinances that Jesus Christ established while he was on the earth. That structure is found in the New Testament.
The thing is…people thought that members of the New Testament church were really weird as well…only they didn’t use the word “weird”. They used the word “peculiar”.
That word “peculiar” is interesting. Interesting because even Peter (the chief apostle) used the same word to describe the New Testament Christians he was addressing. Here are a few synonyms from the thesaurus for the word “peculiar“:
- Strange, Unusual, Odd, Funny, Curious, Bizarre, Weird (There’s that word again) Abnormal, Anomalous, Out of the ordinary…
Peculiar is just a fancy way of saying weird.
If there was ever a time in which I was proud to be called weird…it is now. If what I hear in the General Conferences of the church is weird by the worlds standards…then we’re in some serious trouble. Have you watched a TV show lately…been to the mall…or hung out on a college campus? And people think Mormons are weird?
Actually…to quote Peter, he said to those New Testament “weirdos“; “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, [and] a “peculiar” people. (1 Pet 2:9)
Back in the day they used to talk about the “strange” doctrines of the Christians. They used to say that Christ, “the nobody from Nazareth” was a delusional story teller that went around tricking people. A 2nd century Greek philosopher by the name of Celsus wrote with certainty that Jesus’s father wasn’t God…but a Roman soldier named Pantera. He continued in asserting that “Jesus performed His miracles by sorcery.”
“You’re telling me that someone walked on water and then awoke from the dead and then flew into heaven! Bizarre!”
To the world…Christ and His church were always weird. Peter agreed.
Mormons today are weird because they have prophets and apostles like the New Testament church of old. (Eph 2:20)
The peculiarity continues as you notice that Mormons have the office of “Seventy”, (Luke 10:1) and that they send missionaries “two by two” (Luke 10:1) in order to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt 28:19)
Those missionaries are oh so weird as they go around in a white shirt and tie…clean cut…and committed to Christ. Would they be less weird if they spent their days at the local frat house or bar hopping on weekends?
I’ll bet those missionaries from a couple thousand years ago were made fun of quite a bit. Loin cloths and robes, locusts and wild honey…and a message about a carpenter that does magic tricks?
It’s also interesting that Peter referenced the “priesthood” before calling those early Christians “peculiar”. Who really cares about the priesthood in these days anyway? Mormons do.
On another note…Paul…what were you thinking when you said that there was “One Lord, one faith, and one baptism”, or that we could ever possibly “come in the unity of the faith” (Eph 4:5,13) We have over 40,000 christian denominations on the earth today. Why aren’t they just one denomination? Was a “restoration” to primitive Christianity needed?
Peter thought so. (Acts 3:19-21)
And Paul…while were looking at your teachings…why did you say that you met a dude that was in a “third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2-4) or that there were three different degrees of glory in heaven? (1 Cor 15:40-42)
Jeepers Paul. Did you also teach about baptism for the dead, while Peter was teaching that the gospel would be preached to those that were living in the spirit world? (1 Cor 15:29) (1 Peter 4:6) That’s crazy talk!
In those early days there were bishops, deacons, evangelists, elders and others that were tasked with running the local branches of the church. None of those people had theological degrees or got paid for what they did. Paul had to build tents and Peter had to catch fish. That’s unusual by today’s standards.
Then there’s that weird requirement to be baptized by immersion. You have Christ telling Nicodemus that you must be “born born of water and of the Spirit, or you cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
John the Baptist and Jesus both understood that the word “baptize” in and of itself means to “dip or immerse”. Mormons actually believe that what took place in the river Jordan was an important part of salvation!
But it’s not like John the baptist held the priesthood authority to baptize did he? Wait. Yeah… he did. He was the son of Zechariah, a temple priest, and held the priesthood through heredity.
Mormons even believe that Christ still has his body and that His resurrection was literal. They think He wanted to actually keep his body when He went to visit His Father and not float into some kind of ethereal essence in undefined space. (Luke 24:36-39) (Acts 1:11) (John 20:17) Lunacy!
Those Mormons even believe that when Jesus went to go see His Father for the first time since being resurrected…that He actually would have been able to give His Father a hug, and that He wouldn’t have been giving himself or some kind of manifestation of Himself a hug. That a father and a son greeting each other in heaven would have looked similar to a father and son greeting each other here on earth.
Most unbelievable is the fact that Mormons actually believe that both God and nature have testified that a man should actually marry and procreate with a woman…and not another man. (1 Cor 11:11) (Romans 1:26-27)
They curiously believe that by being the children of God…it actually gives them the opportunity to become “gods” or become like God. But then again…C.S. Lewis agreed with that peculiar mindset.
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship” (C.S. Lewis – The Weight of Glory)
C.S. Lewis was probably just paraphrasing Paul when he told the Romans that “…we are the children of God…And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:16-17)
It’s so abnormal and downright obnoxious that Mormons would consider their bodies to be a “temple” and actually want to live by a strict health code like Paul directed the Corinthians to do. (1 Cor 3:16 & 1 Cor 6:19)
I’m not sure if I missed it, but was there some sort of a revelation given to the world that said we should all depart from the original structure and teachings that Christ established in the New Testament? Maybe people were sick of being so peculiar over the last 2,000 years…because as far as I can see, no one has even attempted to mirror the New Testament church according to the record we have in the Bible.
I’m ok with weird…
But there’s a lot more to the word “peculiar” than most people initially realize. While the things that the early Christians did were weird to the world, Peter wasn’t calling them weird or odd or any of the other synonyms that were listed above.
The Hebrew word for “peculiar” is “segullah” which means “special”. Peter wasn’t labeling the saints derogatorily. Peter was telling his listeners that the church and organization that was established by Jesus Christ himself was special!
When I see all of the ways in which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mirrors the New Testament church…I can’t think of any other way to describe it.