10 Things You May Not Know About Mormons (But Should)
Fast facts about the Church of Latter Day Saints
By Rosemary O. Fernandez
Curious about the Mormon faith? Here are 10 facts you might find interesting:
- In 1830, Joseph Smith founded Mormonism in Palmyra, New York, which is near Rochester.
- Mormons count the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon as their sacred texts. They believe the Book of Mormon is an account of Jesus’s ministering to native people in the Americas following his Ascension.
- There are currently 15,082,028 practicing Mormons in the world; 6,398,889 of those members live in the U.S.
- 5,218 Mormons call the Valley home.
- According to the Latter-day Saints annual statistical report, 282,945 people converted to the faith in 2013.
- Mormon congregations are called wards; congregations with a small number of attendees are known as branches. The Valley has 13 wards and branches. These meeting halls are where Mormons conduct their weekly Sunday services.
- A collection of wards and branches (denoted geographically) is called a stake. Valley Mormons belong to either the Newburgh or Albany stake.
- Mormon temples (the closest to the Valley is in Manhattan) are used only for special ceremonies like baptisms and marriages. Only practicing Mormons are allowed to enter, and must present a card proving their membership before they do so. Non-Mormons are allowed only in visiting sections.
- The majority of Mormon youth are sent on humanitarian “missions” throughout the world. Generally, men serve when they are 18 for a period of two years; women go at 19 and serve for 18 months. More than 80,000 missionaries are currently active around the globe.
- Contrary to popular belief, Mormonism does not endorse polygamy. Only certain sects encourage this practice, and these are not officially recognized by the Latter-day Saints.