Mormonism and Judaism: Wikis

  
  

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The doctrines of the Latter Day Saint movement commonly referred to as Mormonism teach that its adherents, Latter-day Saints, are either direct descendants of the House of Israel, or are adopted into it. As such, Judaism is foundational to the history of Mormonism; Jews are considered a covenant people of God, held in high esteem, and are respected in the Mormon faith system. The LDS church is consequently very philo-Semitic in its doctrine.

From the perspective of the Jewish community, Mormon beliefs regarding their membership in the House of Israel are generally rejected from both a theological and cultural standpoint.

The concept of claiming membership in the House of Israel produces various interfaith problems. Though conflicts exist, relationships seldom if ever rise to the level of Anti-Semitism or Anti-Mormonism.

Contents

Background

Mormonism considers itself to be a Christian religion in which Jesus is the promised Messiah and son of God. The LDS church teaches it is necessary to proselytize nonbelievers through an active missionary program. Judaism does not believe in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah and the active process of proselytizing among the Jewish people is rejected.

There are similarities between the two groups including, but not limited to:

  • an emphasis on family and using the family unit as the foundation for religious life and the transmission of values,
  • both groups insist that religion is part of daily life,
  • both groups have in the past opposed marriage outside their respective faith community,
  • both have dietary rules and strictures, though each originates in distinct ideologies and traditions
  • both emphasize the importance of the Sabbath day and its observance.
  • both groups include some forms of ritual washing as part of their worship.

Major differences between the two groups include, but are not limited to:

  • Differences in scriptures.
  • The nature of the godhead, and of Jesus Christ.
  • The Jewish use of Hebrew in worship as opposed to the Mormon use of vernacular throughout.

Mormon claims of House of Israel descent

Mormons consider themselves to be the descendants of the Biblical Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (also known as "Israel") or adoptees into the House of Israel, and contemporary Mormons use the terms "House of Israel" and "House of Joseph" to refer to themselves.

The Book of Mormon tells of families of the Tribe of Manasseh and the Tribe of Ephraim that migrated from Jerusalem to an unknown location in the Americas. According to Mormon doctrine, this migration fulfilled the prophecy of Jacob on his son, Joseph: "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall" (Genesis 49:22). The Book of Mormon also tells of a group from the Tribe of Judah who came to the Americas after its defeat by Babylon around 600 B.C.E.

The official position of Latter-day Saints is that those who have accepted Mormonism or are a part of the Latter Day Saint movement are primarily from the House of Joseph. Adherents believe they are members of one of the tribes of Israel, either by blood lineage or by adoption, when the recipient is not a literal descendant of Jacob, also known as Israel. Individual church members are told their tribal affiliation through a patriarchal blessing. Latter-day Saints believe that all of the tribes exist within their numbers, though not every tribe in every country. Ephraim and Manasseh are by far the two largest tribes in the LDS Church. Some Latter-day Saint patriarchs believe the one country to have the most confirmed coexisting tribes is Mongolia, missing only the Tribe of Zebulun.[1]

Tribal affiliation is not usually discussed in everyday LDS life, and all members, regardless of tribal affiliation, worship together. The knowledge of one's tribal affiliation is usually only shared with one's immediate family.

In modern Jewish culture, by contrast, it is generally accepted that knowledge of individual tribal affiliation has been lost to antiquity, except in the case of Levites and Cohens, where such knowledge is relevant to religious practice. Some Jewish families, however, hold family traditions of descent from certain tribes. The Sephardi Chief Rabbinate of Israel has recognized the Beta Israel of Ethiopia as the Tribe of Dan, and the Bene Menashe of India as the Tribe of Menasseh. The Bene Israel of India and the Lemba tribe of Africa claim descent from Kohanim - according to a government report, these claims are supported by DNA analysis.[2]

The position of Jews with regard to Mormons is similar to Jewish feelings about other Christian groups— while peaceful coexistence is strongly desired, attempts at conversion are considered inappropriate and unwanted.[3] Jews do not, in general, accept Mormon claims with regard to Mormon descent from, or membership in, the tribes of ancient Israel.

Jewish symbolism in Mormonism

The LDS Church includes among its traditional symbols the Star of David, which has been in use among Jews since at least the 13th century[4]. For the LDS Church, it represents among other things the divine Israelite covenant, Israelite regathering, and affinity with the Jews, and is prominently depicted in a stained glass window in the landmark Salt Lake Assembly Hall.

Calendar

While not a central part of Mormon belief, Mormon scholars have pointed out that several major events in early Mormon history fall on Jewish holidays, either by divine design or coincidence. (It should be noted that Jewish holidays can last from two to eight days, and that "Erev" signifies the day before the holiday begins. Months in the Jewish calendar start on the new moon - the first day of the month, the day of the new moon, is referred to as "Rosh Chodesh". Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath is referred to as "Shabbat"). The following date correlations have been provided by members of the Mormon church:

  • December 23, 1805 (Hanukkah: 8th Day) - Joseph Smith Jr. Born (Founder of LDS Faith)
  • September 21, 1823 (Sukkot I) - Joseph prays and is visited three times during the night by an angel named Moroni. Moroni tells him about a hidden book and quotes scriptures from the books of Acts, Joel, Isaiah, and Malachi.
  • September 22, 1823 (Sukkot II) - Joseph goes to the place where the gold plates are concealed, but is instructed by the angel Moroni not to retrieve them.
  • September 22, 1827 (Erev Rosh Hashana) - Joseph receives the gold plates.
  • July 1, 1829 (Rosh Chodesh Tamuz (the first day of the month of Tamuz)) - According to David Whitmer, the translation of the Book of Mormon was completed July 1, 1829.
  • April 6, 1830 (Rosh Chodesh Nisan (the first day of the month of Nisan)) - The "Church of Jesus Christ" is officially organized in the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr., in Fayette, NY.
  • March 24, 1832 (Shabbat Parah) - Joseph Smith is tarred by a mob.
  • April 3, 1836 (Pesach I) - Mormons believe that following the dedication of the Kirtland Temple (on Pesach I/Easter Sunday, April 3, 1836), Jesus, Moses, Elijah, and Elias appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, restoring specific "keys," or blessings, powers and authority as held in previous dispensations of divinely revealed truth. They committed to Joseph and Oliver the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, the leading of the ten tribal families from the north, the administering of the keys of the Abrahamic dispensation, and the keys of sealing powers (compare with the apostolic binding power that Jesus bestowed on Peter). (D&C 110:3–4, 7).
  • July 24, 1847 (Shabbat Nachamu) - Mormon settlers first arrive at what becomes Salt Lake City and the home the LDS Church. Brigham Young predicts only 10 years of peace.
  • September 9, 1850 (Rosh Hashana II) - The Great Compromise of 1850 is signed into law, creating the Utah Territory and appointing Mormon Prophet Brigham Young governor.
  • July 23, 1857 (Rosh Chodesh Av (the first day of the month of Av)) - June 29, 1857: U.S. President James Buchanan declares Utah in rebellion of the U.S. government. Buchanan appoints Alfred Cumming as governor of Utah. Cumming is to be escorted by a regiment of the U.S. army, initially led by Col. Edmund Alexander.
    Joseph Smith marshalling the Nauvoo Legion
  • July 18, 1857: Two Mormons, Porter Rockwell and Abraham Owen Smoot, learn of Buchanan's declaration in Kansas City while on a mail run. The same day, Col. Alexander and troops begin the journey to Utah.
  • July 23, 1857: Rockwell and Smoot arrive in Salt Lake City and inform Brigham Young of the government's plans to overthrow Utah. 10 Years of predicted peace comes to an end.
  • September 18, 1857 (Erev Rosh Hashana (the day before Rosh Hashana)) - United States Army starts marching towards Utah to take control of Territory. Col. Johnston and troops leave Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
  • October 5, 1857 (Sukkot II) - Nauvoo Legion engages United States Army in first armed conflict of Utah War. Fight for freedom begins.
  • April 12, 1858 (Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyyar (the day before the first day of the month of Iyyar)) - The U.S. Army and Cumming arrive in Salt Lake City. Mormons surrender Salt Lake City. United States gains control of Utah. Alfred Cumming assumes governorship.

Mormons and Jews

LDS assert peaceful coexistence with the Jewish people, whom they recognize as Israelites who simply never lost the knowledge that they are Israelites. The Church is consequently very philo-Semitic by doctrine, and the Jewish people are generally held in high esteem; they are looked upon as a covenant people of God.

Jews in Utah

The first Jewish cemetery in Salt Lake City, Utah, was on land donated by the LDS church, and the first Reform temple in Salt Lake was funded by the LDS Church.[citation needed]

The fourth Governor of Utah was Simon Bamberger, a Jew. Anti-Semitic publications denouncing Bamberger and exaggerating his nose were denounced by leaders of the community and Church at that time. B. H. Roberts, a Mormon politician and church leader, supported Bamberger's campaign wholeheartedly.[citation needed]

Baptism for the dead

A longtime practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been to vicariously baptize their ancestors, both direct lineal ancestors and related lines. This stems from the LDS belief that all individuals must receive all saving ordinances (i.e., sacraments) to achieve exaltation. Under Mormon theology, vicarious performance of the ordinance of baptism and other temple ordinances does not automatically make a deceased individual a Mormon, but rather allows the person (believed alive in the after life) the option of freely accepting or rejecting the ordinances performed on their behalf. Mormons do not believe they have the right or power to compel acceptance of vicarious ordinances or change a deceased person's religious affiliation against his will. From time to time, and contrary to LDS Church policy, zealous Latter-day Saint genealogists have submitted the names of other prominent individuals, including at one point the Holocaust's Jewish victims and others. Official Church policy states that Church members submit the names of their own relatives for these type of ordinances, and requires that permission of the closest living relative be obtained for any baptism that is to be performed for deceased individuals born within the last 95 years.[5] However, some Baptisms were done for Holocaust victims, without proper approval or permission. When this information became public, it generated vocal criticism of the LDS Church from Jewish groups, who found this ritual to be insulting and insensitive (attempting to contact the dead is forbidden under Jewish law, as one of the 613 basic commandments). Partly as a result of public pressure, Church leaders in 1995 promised to put into place new policies that would help stop the practice, unless specifically requested or approved by relatives of the victims.[6]

In late 2002, information surfaced that members of the Church had not stopped this practice despite directives from the Church leadership to its members, and criticism from Jewish groups began again. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles, is on record as opposing the vicarious baptism of Holocaust victims. Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Center said: "If these people did not contact the Mormons themselves, the adage should be: Don't call me, I'll call you. With the greatest of respect to them, we do not think they are the exclusive arbitrators of who is saved." Recently Church leaders have agreed to meet with leaders of the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.

In December 2002, independent researcher Helen Radkey published a report showing that the Church's 1995 promise to remove Jewish Nazi victims from its International Genealogical Index was not sufficient; her research of the Church's database uncovered the names of about 19,000 who had a 40 to 50 percent chance of having "the potential to be Holocaust victims...in Russia, Poland, France, and Austria."

Genealogist Bernard Kouchel conducted a search of the International Genealogical Index, and discovered that many well-known Jews have been vicariously baptized, including Rashi, Maimonides, Albert Einstein, Menachem Begin, Irving Berlin, Marc Chagall, and Gilda Radner. Some permissions may have been obtained, but there is currently no system in place to verify that these permissions were obtained, which has angered many in various religious and cultural communities.

In 2004, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Jewish genealogy columnist for The Jerusalem Post, noted that Jews, even those with no Mormon descendants, are being rebaptized after being removed from the rolls. In an interview, D. Todd Christofferson, a church official, told The New York Times that it was not feasible for the church to continuously monitor the archives to ensure that no new Jewish names appear. The agreement referred to above did not place this type of responsibility on the centralized Church leadership.

On April 11, 2005, Jewish and Mormon officials met and created a joint Jewish/Mormon committee with the goal of preventing future issues. The committee met only once, in June 2005. At the meeting Mormon representatives cited Church policy that any individual Mormon could posthumous baptize any relative, no matter how remotely related, and this included Jewish relatives. Jewish representatives noted that the 1995 agreement limited posthumous baptism of Jews to direct ancestors. Mormon representatives stated they would not change Church policy. This position was subsequently confirmed by Church officials. This controversy remains unresolved, and has generated notable animosity on both sides.[7][8]

Mormons and the State of Israel

Mormons, generally but not exclusively, are largely pro-Israel. Mormons, as well as many Jews, are also in favor of peaceful coexistence between Jews and non-Jewish (Muslim and/or Christian) Arabs in the Holy Land. The LDS people consider non-Jewish Arabs to be children of Abraham.

The LDS church has two congregations in Israel. These are the Galilee Branch in Tiberias and the Jerusalem Branch in Jerusalem. Latter-day Saints in Israel hold their worship services on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.[9]

Mormons do not proselytize in the area and the members are discouraged from proselytizing. There are legal restrictions in Israel concerning this issue.

Descendants of Israelites who can verify a claim to that descent (genetically or religiously, including in some cases relatives of Jews who are not themselves Jewish) are allowed by the Israeli government to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return. Mormon theological claims of descent are not considered a sufficient basis for immigration under the Law of Return. (See Operation Moses, Lemba)

Brigham Young University has a study center in Jerusalem that is active in research and cultural activities (e.g. classical music concerts). Its creation was initially protested by Haredi Jewish groups which claimed, despite Mormon reassurances, that it would be a center of proselytizeing activities - but these soon died down. The courses at the center, attracting students from BYU in the US who wanted to do credit coursework in Israel, were (at least temporarily) suspended due to the security situation.[10]

Mentions of Jews in Mormon literature

Scriptural teaching about Jews and the House of Israel

The Book of Mormon, part of the scripture of Latter-day Saints, on its title page states that its purpose is "the convincing of the Jew and the Gentile that Jesus is the Christ." However, it contains a specific condemnation of Anti-Semitism:

"Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor of any remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn."3 Nephi 29:8

The Book of Mormon also specifically mentions "synagogues," in Alma 16:13:

"And Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people in their temples, and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews" (Alma 16:13).

The Doctrine and Covenants, a collection of canonized prophecies of Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders, contains prophecies regarding the return of the Jews to the land of Israel:

"And the children of Judah may begin to return to the lands which thou didst give to Abraham, their father."[11]

In addition, it states:

"Let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion. And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord’s house."[12]

The Book of Mormon also calls for Jews to repent and accept Jesus Christ but also emphasizes that the Jews remain the Lord's chosen people with whom he has made a covenant.

Other Mormon literature

In 1982, the late Elder Bruce R. McConkie published a book titled The Millennial Messiah,. The book devotes an entire chapter to “The Jews and the Second Coming.” It states:

”Let this fact be engraved in the eternal records with a pen of steel: the Jews were cursed, and smitten, and cursed anew, because they rejected the gospel, cast out their Messiah, and crucified their King.”

McConkie continues by stating

“Let the spiritually illiterate suppose what they may, it was the Jewish denial and rejection of the Holy One of Israel, whom their fathers worshiped in the beauty and holiness, that has made them a hiss and byword in all nations and that has taken millions of their fair sons and daughters to untimely graves.” (a possible reference to the Holocaust).[13]

McConkie’s cites Mormon scripture to support his statements:

"What sayeth the holy word? “They shall be scourged by all people, because they crucify the God of Israel, and turn the hearts aside, rejecting signs and wonders, and the power and glory of the God of Israel. And because they turn their hearts aside,...and have despised the Holy One of Israel, they shall wander in the flesh, and perish, and become a hiss and by-word and be hated among all nations.: (1 Ne. 19:13-14; 2 Ne. 6:9-11.) Such is the prophetic word of Nephi."

Comparison between Mormonism and Judaism

Nature of God

Although monotheism is a fundamental tenet of Judaism, the Jewish religion arose and was codified during a time when polytheism and idolatry was the norm. In polytheistic religions, gods are typically ascribed human or human/animal bodies (including gender and race), family relationships, and human failings (including intra-familial struggles, jealousy, revenge, and a whole host of negative human traits). It was rejection of this belief, as well as a rejection of idol worship, that separated Judaism from its neighbors in the ancient world. A basic belief of Judaism, as reiterated in the daily prayer Shema Yisrael, is that God is one. In addition, Judaism does not assume the deity has a human form - God never was, nor will be, a human being.[14]


LDS theology maintains that God the Father (Heavenly Father), Jesus Christ (His Son), and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct Gods (Joseph Smith, Ensign, March 2008, p. 68). James E. Faust, in an LDS General Conference, also expounded this LDS Church doctrine, when he said that, "The First Vision confirms the fact there are three separate Gods: God the Father-Elohim, to whom we address our prayers; Jesus the Christ-Jehovah; and the Holy Ghost-the Comforter, through whose spirit we may know the truth of all things." (James E. Faust, "The Magnificent Vision Near Palmyra," Ensign, May 1984, online LDS.org p. 67). Together, the three comprise the Godhead, unified in purpose and heart. God the Father and Jesus Christ have tangible, perfected bodies of flesh and bone (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22, Gospel Principles, chapter 47). Humans are literal children of a Father in Heaven, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ they can return to Him and become literal Gods (Doctrine and Covenants 132, Gospel Principles, chapter 47, LDS 1985 Melchizedek Priesthood study guide, "Search These Commandments", pp. 151-157/Lesson 21).

Jesus

See also Judaism's view of Jesus and Jesus in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Nature of Jesus

Jesus of Nazareth is not mentioned in Jewish records of the time, and no Jewish religious practice acknowledges or recognizes Jesus as a divine figure. Jewish responsa to Jesus in the modern day takes two paths, addressing the issue of divinity and the issue of Moshiach (the Jewish word for Messiah). With regard to the divinity of Jesus, a basic tenet of Judaism is that God is one; therefore a trinity, even of divine persons, can have no place in the Jewish belief system. Jews also do not believe that God has a physical manifestation. As a result, God cannot have aspects of a physical body such as race or gender; the idea that God might have physical, "begotten" children is therefore not possible. In addition, Jews believe that God must be approached directly, without any intermediary. To do otherwise is considered heretical.[15]

With regard to the question of Jesus as the Messiah, there have been many claimants to the title in Jewish history, and none are regarded as having fulfilled the requirements of that role. Jesus[16] is not considered differently from any of the others. What individual Jews think of Jesus ranges from "never existed," to "irrelevant," to "actually Mithras," to "Jesus never claimed to be a messiah or a prophet." In any case, however, the Jewish Messiah was never expected to be, or described as, anything but an ordinary person.[17][18]

According to Mormon beliefs, Jesus Christ was the Only Begotten Son of God the Father. Latter-day Saints identify Jesus with the Old Testament Jehovah (not with God the Father), indicating that the Jews' covenant with Jehovah was actually with Jesus. Because of Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection, all mankind is saved from death and will rise again and receive a perfected physical body. Furthermore, the Atonement satisfies the demands of justice; grace, forgiveness, and mercy (i.e. salvation) are extended to all who accept Christ as their personal Savior and become His life-long disciples. A disciple of Christ follows His teachings in humility, with faith, hope, love, charity, and gratitude.

It is worth noting here that in Latter-day Saint beliefs, the atonement goes so far as to cover everyone who is doing his best to be good (including Jews, Buddhists, etc.), eventually even rescuing the spirits of the wicked from hell. The type of reward they receive, however, depends on the level of their acceptance and obedience.

Idols

Judaism expressly forbids idolatry in any form, considering it to be a violation of the first commandment. Among observant Jews, this extends to a prohibition on any representation of the human body, particularly in a religious context.

Similar to Judaism, Latter-day Saints do not prescribe to or generally own crucifixes or idols, and do not have idols or statues at their meeting houses (local wards) because these items do not fit into the purpose of these buildings. An exception is made for statues of an angel blowing a trumpet, commonly identified as Moroni, which are placed on the tallest spire of many of the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, generally facing eastward. Mormon belief holds that on the night of September 21, 1823, Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr., who would later become the founder of Mormonism, and told him about the Golden Plates buried in a hill, which was a few miles from Smith's home. A profile of this same statue (Moroni) appears on the cover of some editions of the Book of Mormon. These usages are because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds to the view that Moroni is the angel spoken of in the Book of Revelation 14:6, "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." The image of Angel Moroni or a Star of David, worn on an individual, are also considered acceptable. Necklaces, neck ties, pins and charms are available from Deseret Book, an LDS church-owned bookstore. In addition, some church-owned buildings not used for worship also display statues of Jesus.

The Community of Christ, based out of Missouri numbering about 275,000 members, has adopted the use of crucifixes.

Prophecy and the Messiahs

Laie Hawaii Temple is the fifth oldest Mormon temple in the world. It is also one of only three temples designed to look like Solomon's Temple in scripture.

Judaism holds that prophecy temporarily ceased after the death of Malachi,[19] and will be restored with the Messianic Age, whereas Mormons believe that Joseph Smith restored prophecy to the earth from an age of apostasy. Thus they believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet.

According to Judaism the Messiah is a regular person from the House of David, who will rebuild the Jewish Temple and bring about a long period of peace, increased moral behavior and prosperity for all nations. This period would lead to the resurrection of the dead in the "end of days".

Mormons believe that in addition to the various prophecies from the New Testament divine prophecy has been restored beginning with Joesph Smith. Additionally during the dedication of the Kirtland Temple (on Pesach I/Easter Sunday, April 3, 1836), Jesus, Moses, Elijah, and Elias appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, restoring the Gospel. They committed to Joseph and Oliver the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, the leading of the ten tribal families from the north, the administering of the keys of the Abrahamic dispensation, and the keys of sealing powers. (D&C 110:3–4, 7).

Temples

The Salt Lake Temple contains a "Holy of Holies."
See also Holy of Holies (LDS Church)

Solomon's Temple held the Ark of the Covenant in a room of the temple referred to as the Holy of Holies. The presiding high priest would enter into this room, said to contain the Shekhina (the presence of God), once a year on Yom Kippur.

The Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains a Holy of Holies wherein the Church's President—acting as the Presiding High Priest—enters to fulfill the relationship between the High Priest of Israel and God, in accordance with the LDS interpretation of the Book of Exodus (Exodus 25:22).[20] Hence, this Holy of Holies is considered a modern cognate to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and Temple in Jerusalem.

Of the 128 temples operated by the LDS Church today, only the Salt Lake Temple has a Holy of Holies; previous to the completion of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893, the Manti Temple housed a Holy of Holies for the use of the President of the Church. While the room itself still exists in the Manti Temple, it is now used as a sealing room for marriages.

Latter-day Saints believe that the Jews will one day rebuild a Temple in Jerusalem, and that the Jews will restore the practice of rituals of the Law of Moses within that Temple.[21]

Priesthood and clergy

Judaism

See also Y-chromosomal Aaron

Judaism holds that literal male descendants of Aaron are Kohanim, or priests. As well, other literal male descendants of Levi are Leviim, members of the Hebrew tribe of Levi who form a different order of priesthood. Kohanim and Leviim have specific religious rights, duties, and (in the case of Kohanim) restrictions. The daughter of a Kohen (a bat-Kohen) also has specific rights and restrictions, but does not pass on the status of Kohen to her offspring (unless their father is also a Kohen). Judaism recognizes no other forms of priesthood.

Rabbis are not (necessarily) Kohanim; rather they are Jews who are particularly learned in Jewish law and practice. Although not required, it is typical for a congregation to have at least one rabbi, and typical for rabbis to act as do spiritual leaders in other religions—delivering a weekly sermon, officiating at weddings and other life events, visiting the sick, and so on. A rabbi's most important function in the congregation, however, is in interpreting and teaching Jewish law.

Training to become a rabbi includes extensive education in Jewish law and practice, and may also include education in Jewish history and philosophy. In general, a congregation will hire a rabbi after reviewing applications and interviewing several candidates—there is no central body that assigns a rabbi to a congregation.

Orthodox Judaism accepts only male rabbis. Reform Judaism ordained its first woman rabbi in 1972, Reconstructionist Judaism in 1974, and Conservative Judaism in 1985. The Reform and Reconstructionist movements also accept openly gay and lesbian rabbis.[22][23][24][25]. Conservative Judaism (typically a more conservative branch than the Reform or Reconstructionist movements) moved to allow individual congregations to choose whether or not to accept both gay and lesbian rabbis and same-sex commitment ceremonies in December 2006.[26] There are no restrictions in any branch of Judaism with regard to race or descent.[27]

Mormonism

See also Aaronic Priesthood, Melchizedek Priesthood, and Patriarchal Priesthood.
Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek — by Dieric Bouts the Elder, 1464–67

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives legal right of Kohanim to constitute the Presiding Bishopric, when so directed by the First Presidency. (See The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 68). When LDS Kohanim are not available, Melchizedek priesthood holders substitute. To date, all men who have served as the Presiding Bishop have been Melchizedek Priesthood holders, and none have been publicly identified as Kohenim.

The orders of the priesthood are the Aaronic or Levitical (Kohanim) priesthood, modeled after the priesthood of Aaron the Levite, the first high priest of the Hebrews, and his descendants (Kohen); and the Melchizedek priesthood, modeled after the authority of the Prophet Melchizedek. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not recognize a Patriarchal order of priesthood separate from the Melchizedek priesthood, and considers that both the Patriarchal and Aaronic priesthoods are subsets of the Melchizedek.

Members of the Tribe of Levi are said to have held the Levitical priesthood by right of birth before Jesus, whereas after Jesus, holders of the Aaronic priesthood have received it "by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands".[28] The Doctrine and Covenants, however, contains an indication that the Aaronic priesthood is only available until the Tribe of Levi again "makes an offering unto the Lord in righteousness." (See D&C 13:1) It is now typically given at the age of twelve.[29]

Just as the Priests and the High Priest's line were subsets of the tribe of Levi, Latter-day Saints sometimes observe parallels between levels of authority within the offices of their Aaronic priesthood and offices under the Law: deacons, corresponding to Levites; teachers, corresponding to Kohathites; priests, corresponding to the priestly line; and bishops, corresponding to the Aaronic High Priest's descendants (not to be confused with the High Priesthood of Melchizedek).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which constitutes about 97%[citation needed] of the total adherents in the Mormon faith, believes in an all-male priesthood. All worthy LDS males are ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood at the age of twelve. At age eighteen, worthy members of the Aaronic priesthood are usually ordained as Elders in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Depending on the needs of a church, an Elder may be ordained a High Priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Males of African descent were prohibited from receiving the priesthood due to their putative descent from Cain until 1978, at which time the LDS church announced they had received a new revelation permitting all worthy males to receive the priesthood. Some fundamentalist sects reject this revelation.

Some smaller sects, including the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), have adopted the use of women in clerical roles, which is not accepted by the LDS church.

Diet

Both Judaism and Mormonism have strict dietary requirements. Adherence to these rules varies depending on religious sect and personal faith.

Judaism

The laws of kashrut ("keeping kosher") are the Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with Jewish law is termed kosher, and food not in accord with Jewish law is termed treifah or treif. Kosher laws address what kinds of animals can be eaten, and requires separation of milk and meat, that vegetables be thoroughly inspected for insects, that animals be slaughtered painlessly, and by certified persons, and that many food products will be produced under rabbinical supervision. Produce of the Land of Israel has further restrictions.

While the drinking of alcohol is prohibited by LDS, Jews are expected or required to drink wine on certain occasions. Wine is typically consumed at the Sabbath evening meal, after a special blessing. In addition, the drinking of wine is an important part of the observation of two major Jewish holidays—Passover (although for this holiday grape juice can be substituted) and Purim.

Mormonism

Mormons believe the Word of Wisdom to be modern revelation similar to the laws of kashrut. The revelation, which is found in LDS D&C 89[30], contains three parts: (1) a list of substances such as wine, strong drink, and tobacco that should not be used (89:1-9), (2) a list of foods that should be used, sometimes with certain limitations (89:10-17), and (3) a promise to those who follow the guidelines (89:18-21).

Among the substances which the revelation indicates should not be used, the first is "wine or strong drink", which the revelation says should not be drunk except for wine, which may be used as part of the Sacrament (like Communion). The revelation gives the further precaution that if wine is used, it should be pure wine and "of your own make" or made by fellow saints. The revelation also advises against the use of tobacco and "hot drinks" (which was explained by Joseph Smith and his associates as meaning coffee and tea).

Ingestion of tobacco is forbidden. The limitations on the use of tobacco are stated as "not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill."

The list of foods and substances which the revelation encourages includes wholesome herbs, fruit, and meat; however, meat is to be eaten sparingly, if at all, and ideally only in winter, famine, or "excess hunger". Other references (1 Timothy 4:1-4 and Section 49:18-19,21) expand on meat and flesh. The revelation also encourages the use of grains, particularly wheat. Barley is also encouraged for use in making "mild drinks" such as barley water.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has done away with wine altogether. Water replaces the wine in the Sacrament, according to a revelation on the subject, section (27), and members are not to drink any alcoholic beverages.

Sabbath

Shabbat

Shabbat, lasting from sunset Friday night to the appearance of three stars on Saturday night, celebrates God's creation with a day of rest that commemorates God's day of rest upon the completion of creation. It plays an important role in Jewish practice and is the subject of a large body of religious law. Some consider it the most important Jewish holiday.

The most notable law with regard to observation of the Jewish Sabbath is the requirement to abstain from creative work of any kind (the most widely known implication of this being the prohibition against kindling a fire). Observant Jews will prepare food ahead of time to avoid having to cook on the Sabbath, and observant Orthodox Jews will avoid turning on electric lights (which "creates" an electric circuit) or driving.

While almost all work is forbidden on the Sabbath, acts of leisure and pleasure are appropriate, as long as they do not violate any proscription with regard to doing work. A special meal is eaten (including wine and meat, if possible, even if the household cannot afford these luxuries the rest of the week). Married couples are encouraged to engage in sexual relations.[31]

LDS Sabbath

The Latter-day Saint Sabbath is Sunday. This is explained within the LDS Bible Dictionary as: "After the ascension of Christ, the members of the Church, whether Jews or gentiles, kept holy the first day of the week (the Lord’s day) as a weekly commemoration of our Lord’s resurrection (Acts 20: 7; 1 Cor. 16: 2; Rev. 1: 10); and by degrees the observance of the seventh day was discontinued." (Excerpt taken from the LDS Bible Dictionary) There are some notable exceptions, such as Israel and some Arab countries, where Latter-day Saints celebrate the Sabbath either on a Friday or on a Saturday.[32]

The focus of the Sabbath for Latter-day Saints is as a day of rest from worldly concerns and endeavors and to concentrate on spiritual matters such as attending church, scripture study, visiting the sick and infirm, and family activities. Members are further encouraged not to make any purchases on the Sabbath, unless an emergency demands otherwise. Members are also to fast the first Sabbath of the month from the night before the Sabbath until the evening of the Sabbath. This period of fasting is used to fast and pray and reflect on their own relationship with God. The money that would have been spent on the two missed meals is usually donated as a fast offering to the church. These fast offerings are dedicated to feed the poor and the needy, be they church members or not.

Holy books

Both Mormons and Jews venerate the Tanakh as part of their scriptures. However, Mormons do not accept the Talmud, nor Jews do not accept any of the writings revealed by Joseph Smith, or revelations by Mormon prophets.

The Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham, while differing significantly from traditional Judaism share common source material with the Book of Genesis.

Judaism

Judaism's most holy book is the Torah. Virtually all Jewish congregations own at least one 'sefer Torah' (copy of the Torah, hand-calligraphed on parchment) of which a portion is read aloud every week. The Torah (the five books of Moses, or Pentateuch), the Nevi'im (the Prophets) and Ketuvim (the Writings), make up the Tanach (With some rearrangements of the order of the books within, this is the same as the Christian Old Testament.).

The Tanach is explained and supplemented by the Talmud, which is made up of two parts: the Mishnah (originally oral law (ie, passed down orally through generations), and now codified as written law), and the Gemara (rabbinic commentaries and analysis). More recent work explaining Jewish law includes the Shulkhan Arukh, which was written in the 16th century.

Traditionally, Jews believe that the Torah was given to Moses at Mount Sinai, to be passed on to the Jewish people. Scrolls of the Torah are copied by hand by specially trained scribes. An elaborate system of checking and cross-checking is used to ensure that no errors are introduced in the process of copying, and ancient copies or fragments of Torah that have been found (the most famous of which is the Dead Sea Scrolls) show a remarkable consistency with modern copies.[33][34]

Mormonism

The Standard Works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints printed in the Quadruple Combination format

Joseph Smith Jr. said, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." Thus, the study of The Book of Mormon is emphasized by LDS leaders and teachers, but they also encourage the study of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and believe in literal fulfillment of Biblical prophecies and covenants, including the Abrahamic covenant. The eighth Article of Faith states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." In addition to these two books, in keeping with the meaning of the ninth Article of Faith, the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price are also considered canonical scripture.

According to Mormon doctrine, the Book of Mormon was originally written in "Reformed Egyptian" by a group of the House of Israel who had migrated from the area of Jerusalem. The book was translated by Joseph Smith "by the gift and power of God" (see the introduction to the BofM). The Book of Mormon is in a language that closely resembles King James English (the language of the King James version of the Bible). There are, however, some variations in grammar, particularly with regard to verb tenses.

The LDS Church has published the Book of Mormon in dozens of languages, but it does not currently offer a Hebrew edition. The LDS Church published a Hebrew edition in the 1920s, but this edition is well out-of-print and is unavailable even from rare book sellers. Furthermore, a Hebrew Book of Mormon was published by Hebrew Translations, Inc., Independence, Missouri, 1988; but this edition was not authorized by the LDS Church.

(See also Table of books of Judeo-Christian Scripture)

Afterlife

Judaism

Jewish beliefs with regard to an afterlife are highly variable.

Physical resurrection of the dead at the time of the Mashiach is a traditional belief (with some European Jews being buried facing Jerusalem, so they would be ready on that day). Other Jewish sages promoted the idea of a purely spiritual resurrection. Adherents of Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism are more likely to believe in a general Messianic Age than in a physical Moshiach, with or without resurrection (this should in no way be confused with Messianic Judaism). There is also the possibility of reincarnation, in some cases. (See also Jewish eschatology,[35]).

In general, religious Jews believe that the soul undergoes a period of reflection and penance after death, before moving on to whatever comes next. This period does not exceed 12 months, and Jewish mourners will say special prayers for the dead during this time, to ease the departed soul's passage. (See Kaddish). Attempting to contact the dead, at any time, is forbidden under Jewish law.

There is no Jewish equivalent of Heaven and Hell as they are understood in Christian theology. Jews do not (generally) believe that reward in the afterlife, whatever its form, is exclusive to Jews.

Mormonism

Mormonism teaches of a physical resurrection at the time of the second coming of Christ. It also is held by the Mormon church that between the time of an individual's death and the second coming (when the individual will be resurrected), the individual inhabits an intermediary afterlife in the Spirit world, corresponding to Sheol. The nature of this afterlife depends on the individual. Deceased persons who lived good lives and repented during their life of any major sins they had committed are said to inhabit Paradise. However, spirits inhabiting spirit paradise may also receive an assignment to do "missionary work" to other souls in paradise or to the souls in "spirit prison," the condition in which Mormons believe the spirits of the "rebellious and ungodly" reside. The term "spirit prison" is sometimes used to describe the condition of any spirit who is awaiting being taught the gospel or having the opportunity to accept ordinances that allow them to progress in gaining further knowledge during their time in the spirit world. Mormons hold that missionary work in the spirit world was started by Christ during the days between his death and resurrection. (Doctrine and Covenants 138) As Smith's personal writings as well as the Prophets indicate, it is also possible that if one follows the commandments exceptionally well (authorized baptism, temple marriage to be bound forever, and etc...), then one may be worthy of becoming a literal God with "all power" (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20. See vss. 15-37), and thus become "as great as God, and you cannot wish to be greater" (1985 Melchizedek Priesthood study guide, "Search These Commandments", p. 151. See pp. 151-157). Gospel Principles, an official book of the LDS Church, states that our God the Father was a mortal on another earth, and became a God, as we can also attain that same Godhood status (Gospel Principles, chapter 47. One of their recent prophets said, concerning this doctrine: "We remember the numerous scriptures which, concentrated in a single line, were said by a president of the church, Lorenzo Snow: "As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become." This is a power available to us as we reach perfection and receive the experience and power to create, to organize, to control native elements. How limited we are now! We have no power to force the grass to grow, the plants to emerge, the seeds to develop." - Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, April 1977

Mormonism also teaches the existence of the three heavens or kingdoms of heaven, and three "degrees of glory" within the celestial world, as well as outer darkness, a "kingdom of no glory". Outer darkness is considered to be the second spiritual death, for those few souls who know a fullness of truth and openly rebel and fight against God. The other levels have been labeled the Telestial Kingdom, the Terrestrial Kingdom, and the Celestial Kingdom, which itself consists of "three heavens or degrees." (See Doctrine and Covenants 131, which says the "celestial glory" consists of "three heavens or degrees"; some hold that the term "celestial glory" used in this section refers to all the "kingdoms of glory", not specifically the celestial kingdom, but the traditional interpretation is that it refers specifically to the celestial kingdom.) This afterlife is what Mormons believe comes after the an individual's resurrection and judgment. The exact timing is not clear except that it takes place sometime after the second coming of Christ. It is also not clear if this is one specific event or a process that begins with the resurrection.

The LDS faith believes that all three kingdoms, Celestial, Terrestrial and Telestial are all kingdoms of glory. They are all places of glory suitable to the individuals that will reside in them, based on the desires of their hearts.

Mormonism teaches that baptism and other covenantal ordinances performed by proper authority are required to enter the Celestial Kingdom, because of the sacred nature of that kingdom of glory.

Conversion and proselytization

Judaism

As a general rule, Jews refrain from active proselytizing, and some denominations discourage conversion. Becoming a "Jew by choice" is a serious matter. If a person truly wishes to convert, they will seek out a community and rabbi they feel comfortable with and begin the process there.

Conversion to Judaism involves extensive instruction in Jewish law (sometimes lasting for years), renouncing of other religious affiliations, immersion in a mikveh, and, for males, circumcision. (If the potential convert is already circumcised, a procedure known as hatafat dam brit is performed, in which blood is drawn from the circumcision scar.) Orthodox Judaism also requires acceptance of the entire code of Jewish Law.

In many Jewish religious ceremonies (weddings, for example), the parents and lineage (Kohen, Levite, or Israel) of the participating person are named. Converts are considered to be the children of Abraham and Sarah, and of the lineage Israel (i.e., having no priestly ancestry).

Mormonism

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a widespread proselytizing program, and are perhaps best known to others for this activity.

All individuals age nine and older considering membership in the LDS church will be taught by missionaries prior to baptism. Children of church members between the ages of eight and nine are assumed to have been taught by their parents. Once this person has been sufficiently instructed, he will be interviewed by another missionary to ensure his proper preparation for membership in the church. The children of church members between the ages of eight and nine are interviewed by their local Bishop. In certain situations, an interview with the area mission president may be necessary before the church agrees to baptize an individual. Baptism carries with it not only membership in the church, but also, according to Mormon belief, membership into the House of Israel. Individuals must be living by the Word of Wisdom: not consuming alcohol, tobacco, coffee, or tea, living the Law of Chastity, committing to attend church, committing to pay tithes, and declaring that they have repented of any outstanding sins. Individuals found worthy are baptized by immersion by a worthy priesthood holder, who is a priest, or higher. After the baptism, there is a separate blessing where holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost to the individual by the laying on of hands. After joining the church, a separate Patriarchal Blessing will name the tribe of Israel from which the individual is descended or into which he is adopted. Individuals under the age of eight, and individuals who are not responsible for their actions (such as mental disability), are not required to be baptized and are granted Celestial Glory through Christ's Atonement.

Like most Christian churches, the Latter-day Saints do not require circumcision, denying its necessity as a covenant or token of covenant.[36]

Water purification

Mikveh

To achieve a state of ritual purification, observant Jews immerse in a Mikveh. Certain kinds of utensils and other objects are also immersed (this practice should not be confused with the physical cleaning required for kashrut).

The most common use of the Mikveh is the practice of immersion after menstruation, miscarriage, or childbirth. This immersion marks the end of a period of sexual separation, and the woman's rejoining with her husband. It is also required that a woman immerse before her wedding. Some men use the Mikvah regularly, either daily, weekly, or before Yom Kippur. This is especially true in Hasidic circles. It is also required for Conversion into Orthodox Judaism for both sexes.

Jewish laws with regard to Mikveh are extensive. The most notable aspect of these laws is that a Mikveh must be filled with "living water," namely, water that has come directly from the earth in the form of caught rainwater or spring water (water flowing in a river or stream is also acceptable in some cases). Once water has been carried in a vessel or run through a pipe, it is no longer considered "living." Additionally, immersion must be complete (including the head and hair), and there can be nothing between the water and the person immersing—not only clothing, but also makeup and jewelry are removed. The common practice is to wash thoroughly before immersion (to remove any dirt or dead skin on the body), and to enter the Mikveh while still wet (to avoid any air bubbles that might be trapped on the skin or in the hair).

Unlike baptism, immersion is a private event—unless a physical handicap makes it impossible, the person undergoing immersion enters the Mikveh alone, and says any appropriate prayers themselves. When performed as part of Conversion to Orthodox Judaism, the act of immersion needs to be witnessed by a Beth-din of three Rabbis; however, the person immerses his/herself.

"Symbolic" immersions, where only drops of water are applied, where "carried" water is used, or where the immerser wears any kind of clothing or underclothing, are not considered valid immersions under Jewish law. Jews do not practice or recognize any kind of "Proxy" immersion, where one person immerses in the place of another person (living or dead).

Baptism

See Latter Day Saint baptism for main article.

Baptism is a water purification ritual where one is immersed in water. The practice of purification via immersion exists in many cultures. The word baptize derives from the Greek word βάπτειν (the infinitive; also listed as the 1st person singular present active indicative βαπτίζω), which loosely means "to dip, bathe, or wash").

The Christian ritual of baptism traces back to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, who the Bible says baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. Latter-day Saints assert that Jesus was baptized in 29 CE, on or around the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. This is posted in a church history timetable on the wall of the LDS Joseph Smith Memorial in South Royalton, Vermont. It should be noted that Mormons do not believe the Jesus instituted baptism, but merely commanded it of his followers. Mormon belief holds that the first baptism occurred when God baptized Adam.[37] Today, baptism is a required ordinance and ritual cleansing process when joining the LDS church, and is considered to be a purification process in one's conversion to becoming an Israelite. In the event of one's excommuniction or adoption of another faith, individuals are required to be rebaptized when returning to the church.[38] Baptism is also seen as symbolic of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with the water representing the grave.

The one being baptized as well as the one performing the baptism are dressed in white clothing symbolizing the purification of the baptism. Mormons believe that a member of the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood holding the office of priest or holding the higher order of the Melchizedek priesthood must perform the baptism. Mormon children are baptized when eight years old, which is considered to be the age of accountability. All members within the LDS faith, whether they are considered by the Mormons to be a Jew, Israelite or Gentile convert, are baptized.

In the past, it was common for Mormons to be re-baptized for health, or as a re-affirmation of belief. This practice has slowly diminished, and is no longer practiced by any of the mainstream denominations.

Washing and anointing

In Mormonism, washing and anointing (also called the Initiatory) is an ordinance (ritual) that symbolizes ritual cleansing and anointing to be a king or queen in heaven. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the ritual is performed in temples. The ordinance of washing and anointing symbolizes the ritual cleansing of priests that took place at Israel's Tabernacle, the temple of Solomon, and later temples in Jerusalem (see Exod. 28:40–42, 29:4–9, 29:20–21, 29:29–30, 30:18–21). As the name suggests, this ordinance has two parts, washing then anointing.

Polygamy

Judaism

The Tanach (Hebrew Bible) recounts several cases of polygamy among the ancient Hebrews. One source of polygamy was the practice of levirate marriage, wherein a man was required to marry and support his brother's widow (the source of the - much misunderstood - sin of Onan).

Ashkenazi Jewry has not practiced polygamy since Rabbenu Gershom's ban in the 11th century. (See: Role of women in Judaism in the Middle Ages, Polygamy in Judaism,[39])

Some Sephardi and Mizrahi groups, in particular those from Yemen and Iran (where polygamy is the cultural norm), only discontinued polygamy much more recently, for non-religious reasons. When these groups immigrated to the State of Israel after its 1948 creation, existing polygamous families were "grandfathered" in. Polygamous marriage is banned in the State of Israel, however, and no new polygamous marriages are permitted among those groups.[40]

Mormonism

See main articles: Plural marriage, Joseph Smith, Jr. and Polygamy, Polygamous Mormon fundamentalists.

Early in its history The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy in the United States and referred to it as "plural marriage". The practice was introduced by the church's founding prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. in LDS scripture, as from "the Lord thy God ...the Alpha and Omega" (Doctrine and Covenants 132:1, 2, 66). It was publicly announced by the Church in 1852, and the marriage ceremony was believed to be a sacred, eternal ordinance. Only some members of the Church, including several LDS leaders, practiced polygamy. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now known as the Community of Christ, rejected polygamy and declared themselves an independent church in 1860 under the leadership of Joseph Smith III, the eldest son of the LDS founding prophet.

The practice of polygamy quickly led to opposition to the Church and the enacting of anti-polygamy laws. (The U.S. Congress made the practice illegal in U.S. Territories in 1862.) Many members of the Church fled to Canada or Mexico in an attempt to set up communities free from prosecution; for example, Cyril Ogston founded Seven Persons, Alberta. Although Latter-day Saints believed that plural marriage was protected by the United States Constitution as a religious practice, opponents used it to delay Utah statehood until 1896. Increasingly harsh anti-polygamy legislation stripped Church members of their rights as citizens, revoked the right to vote for LDS women, disincorporated the Church, and permitted the seizure of Church property until the Church ordered the discontinuance of the practice in 1890.

National attention in the United States again focused on potential polygamy among the Church in the early 20th century during the House hearings on Representative-elect B. H. Roberts and Senate hearings on Senator-elect Reed Smoot (the Smoot Hearings). This caused Church president Joseph F. Smith to issue the "Second Manifesto" against polygamy in 1904. Since that time, it has been Church policy to excommunicate any member either practicing or openly advocating the practice of polygamy.

The ban on polygamy resulted in a schism within the LDS Church, with various splinter groups leaving the Church to continue the practice of polygamy. Collectively such groups now comprise less than three tenths of one percent when compared to the LDS church. Polygamy among these groups persists today in Utah and neighboring states, as well as among isolated individuals with no organized church affiliation. Polygamists of this kind often refer to themselves as "Mormon fundamentalists", despite their lack of affiliation with the mainstream Church. The largest sect supporting polygamy is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, believed to have about 10,000 members. According to one source there are as many as 37,000 Fundamentalist Mormons, with less than half of them living in polygamous households.[citation needed] Most of the polygamy is believed to be restricted to about a dozen extended groups of polygamous Mormon fundamentalists.[citation needed]

Plurality within the religions

Judaism encompasses a spectrum of observance, with several recognized branches. In rough order of strictness of observance these are Hassidic or Haredi Judaism (often referred to as "ultra-Orthodox"), Orthodox Judaism, Masorti Judaism (uncommon in the United States), Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, and Humanistic Judaism. Further divisions exist within the divisions, with some congregations referring to themselves, for example, as "Traditional Orthodox," "Modern Orthodox," or "Conserva-dox".

Similarly, Mormonism is divided into Orthodox Mormonism or LDS, Reconstructionist Mormonism or RLDS (Community of Christ), and Fundamentalist Mormonism (most notably the FLDS).

The vast majority of all Mormons are members of LDS Church, which comprises about 97% of the total Mormon faith. The second largest group, the Community of Christ has no official ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Further, it no longer claims the label Mormon to apply to them. Their doctrine has changed markedly since their founding by Joseph Smith III. Two major changes have been the acceptance of the Trinitarian concept of God and ordaining women to the priesthood. It should be noted that although members of the Community of Christ (RLDS) do not refer to themselves as Mormons, they do continue to use the Book of Mormon as scripture. Fundamentalist Mormons, in contrast, claim adherence to traditional beliefs and practices that have been rejected by LDS.

Demographics

Jews

Numbers are estimated based on population studies and surveys between late 2004-2005. For more exact numbers see Jews by country

  • Worldwide: 14,596,017
  • North America:
    • U.S.: 5,914,682
    • Canada: 371,000
    • Mexico: 50,000
  • Europe: < 2,000,000
    • Belgium: 51,821
    • France: 490,000 [41]
    • Germany: 107,160
    • Netherlands: 45,000
    • Russia: 225,000[41]
    • United Kingdom: 295,000[41]
  • South America: 380,000
    • Argentina: 184,500
    • Brazil: 96,500
    • Chile: 20,700
  • South Africa: 106,000
  • Australia: 100,000
  • New Zealand: 7,000
  • Asia: 50,000
    • Israel: 5,300,000

Mormon

  • Worldwide: 13,508,509 [42]
  • Female: 53 percent
  • Male: 47 percent
  • North America:
    • U.S. (approximate): 5,599,177 as of December 31, 2004
    • Canada: 169,633
    • Mexico: 1,013,071
  • Europe: 440,945
    • Belgium: 6,043
    • France: 34,906
    • Germany: 37,539
    • Netherlands: 8,709
    • Russia: 19,946
    • United Kingdom: 183,672
  • Caribbean: 138,511
  • Central America: 527,511
  • South America: 2,904,085
    • Argentina: 371,885
    • Brazil: 1,060,556
    • Chile: 554,749
  • Asia: 865,987
    • Israel: Not listed.
  • Africa: 220,798
  • Australia: 123,650
  • New Zealand: 99,488
  • South Pacific: 396,104
  • Number of Church units worldwide (congregations): 27,827 as of December 31, 2007[43]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Beyond Arsareth: The Twelve Tribes of Israel Today
  2. ^ Y Chromosomes Traveling South
  3. ^ Jews for Judaism
  4. ^ Star of David
  5. ^ George D. Durrant, "Branching Out on Your Family Tree," Ensign, April 2007, p.45
  6. ^ Agreement with the LDS Church
  7. ^ Voice of Deseret: American Gathering Of Holocaust Survivors Dogging LDS Church Over Posthumous Baptisms Of Holocaust Jews Once Again
  8. ^ To Broke to Laugh: Mormon Church Violates The Deceased
  9. ^ Resolving the Mormon Issue
  10. ^ BYU Jerusalem Center
  11. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 109:64 (recorded in 1836)
  12. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 133:12-13 (recorded in 1831)
  13. ^ McConkey, Bruce R., The Millenial Messiah, pp. 224-225 Salt Lake City: Desert Book Company, 1982.
  14. ^ The Nature of G-d
  15. ^ ibid.
  16. ^ AISH.com, A Crash Course in Jewish History Part 40 - Seeds of Christianity
  17. ^ Why Don't Jews Believe in Jesus as the Messiah?
  18. ^ Looking for Jesus?
  19. ^ Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 48a
  20. ^ Buerger, David John. The Mysteries of Godliness. Signature Books (November 2002). Last accessed 2006-11-16 (excerpts only online).
  21. ^ Doctrine & Covenants 13:1
  22. ^ Conservative rabbis reach out to gay Jews
  23. ^ New Conservative rabbis group welcomes gays
  24. ^ Gay Marriage: Is it a fight for equal rights or the end of a moral society?
  25. ^ At a Gay Synagogue, a Rabbi Isn't Fazed by Legalities
  26. ^ Ordination of Gays and Lesbians and Same-Sex Commitment Ceremonies
  27. ^ A black woman's journey to the rabbinate in North Carolina
  28. ^ Articles of Faith 5
  29. ^ For a detailed history and comparison between the Levitical and Aaronic Priesthood, see the LDS Bible Dictionary: Aaronic Priesthood
  30. ^ Doctrine & Covenants 89
  31. ^ Kosher Sex: Jewish Attitudes Towards Sexuality
  32. ^ Resolving the Mormon issue, ibid.
  33. ^ Tools of Sofer
  34. ^ Writing the Torah
  35. ^ Olam Ha-Ba: The Afterlife
  36. ^ "Circumcision." LDS Bible Dictionary
  37. ^ Moses 6:64
  38. ^ The Doctrine and Covenants 22
  39. ^ The Many Paths to Greatness
  40. ^ I've heard polygamy is permissible among Sephardic and Yemenite Jews. Doesn't Judaism mandate monogamy?
  41. ^ a b c (PDF) Annual Assessment, Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (Jewish Agency for Israel), 2007, p. 15, http://www.jpppi.org.il/JPPPI/SendFile.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&GID=489 , based on American Jewish Year Book. 106. American Jewish Committee. 2006. http://www.ajcarchives.org/main.php?GroupingId=10142. 
  42. ^ [ref>The Church of Latter-day Saints web site reports (As of December 31, 2008)]
  43. ^ The Church of Latter-day Saints web site reports

References

This list is Original Source Information

  • The Book of Mormon, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, July 1981, ISBN 0-9676865-6-3
  • Pearl of Great Price, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, January 2003, ISBN 0-7661-3653-1
  • Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Missionary edition, 1979, ASIN B00070RJYS
  • Hebrew-English Tanakh, Jewish Publication Society of America; Student edition, December 2000, ISBN 0-8276-0697-4
  • The Holy Bible, King James Version, National Publishing Company, January 2000, ISBN 0-8340-0346-5

The following references are based on previous Wikipedia research, and are also found in the supporting articles, where much of the information for producing this article was obtained.

  • Women and Jewish Law: An Exploration of Women's Issue's in Halakhic Sources, Rachel Biale, Shocken Books, 1984
  • On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition Blu Greenberg, Jewish Publication Society
  • Rereading the Rabbis: A Woman's Voice Judith Hauptman, Westview Press, 1998
  • Women Who Would Be Rabbis Pamela S. Nadell, 1999 Beacon Press
  • Women and Prayer: An Attempt to Dispel Some Fallacies, Judith Hauptman, Judaism 42 (1993): 94-103.
  • Edward M. Cook, Solving the Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls: New Light on the Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994
  • Frank Moore Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran, 3rd ed., Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8006-2807-1
  • Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? The Search for the Secret of Qumran, New York: Scribner, 1995
  • E. Qimron, The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Harvard Semitic Studies, 1986. (This is a serious discussion of the Hebrew language of the scrolls.)
  • Barbara Thiering, Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls (ISBN 0-06-067782-1), New York: Harper Collins, 1992
  • Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, London: Penguin, 1998. ISBN 0-14-024501-4 (good translation, but complete only in the sense that he includes translations of complete texts, but neglects fragmentary scrolls and more especially does not include biblical texts.)
  • Chaim Stern, ed., Central Conference of American Rabbis. Gates of Prayer - for Shabbat and Weekdays. A Gender-Sensitive Prayerbook 1994 ISBN 0-88123-063-4 LoC: BM674.34.C46 DDC: 296.4-dc20
  • Central Conference of American Rabbis, New York, and Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, London. Gates of Prayer - The New Union Prayerbook for Shabbat, Weekdays and Festivals. Services and Prayers for Synagogue and Home. 1975 ISBN 0-916694-01-1 LC: 75-13752
  • Meyer, Michael A. Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995.
  • Kaplan, Dana Evan, American Reform Judaism: An Introduction. New Brunswick, New Jersey:Rutgers University Press, 2005.
  • Platform on Reconstructionism, FRCH Newsletter, Sept. 1986, pages D, E
  • Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach, Rebecca T. Alpert and Jacob J. Staub, The Reconstructionist Press, 1988
  • David Griffin's article in Jewish Theology and Process Thought, Ed. Sandra B. Lubarsky and David Ray Griffin, State University of New York Press, 1996
  • Louis Jacobs God, Torah, Israel: Traditionalism Without Fundamentalism Hebrew Union College Press, Cincinnati, 1990;
  • Judaism As a Civilization Mordecai Kaplan, The Jewish Publications Society, 1994
  • Mordecai Kaplan "The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish Religion", 1962
  • Judaism Beyond God: A Radical New Way to Be Jewish, Sherwin T. Wine, KTAV Publishing House and Society for Humanistic Judaism, 1996.
  • God-Optional Judaism: Alternatives for Cultural Jews Who Love Their History, Heritage, and Community, Judith Seid, Citadel Press, 2001.
  • Judaism In A Secular Age - An Anthology of Secular Humanistic Jewish Thought, Edited by: Renee Kogel and Zev Katz, KTAV Publishing House and International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, 1995.
  • Conservative Judaism: Our Ancestors To Our Descendants (Revised Edition), Elliot N. Dorff, United Synagogue New York, 1996
  • The Conservative Movement in Judaism: Dilemmas and Opportunities, Daniel J. Elazar, Rela Mintz Geffen, SUNY Press, 2000
  • Conservative Judaism: The New Century, Neil Gillman, Behrman House 1993
  • Halakha For Our Time: A Conservative Approach To Jewish Law, David Golinkin, United Synagogue, 1991
  • A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice Isaac Klein, JTS Press, New York, 1992
  • Conservative Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook Pamela S. Nadell, Greenwood Press, NY 1988
  • Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism, Ed. Robert Gordis, JTS, New York, 1988
  • Etz Hayim: A Torah Commentary, Ed. David Lieber, Chaim Potok and Harold Kushner, The Jewish Publication Society, NY, 2001
  • Richard P. Howard, The Church Through the Years, Herald House: 1992.
  • Andrew Bolton and Jane Gardner, "The Sacraments: Symbol, Meaning and Discipleship," Herald House, 2005.
  • Jerry Nieft, ed., "Walking with Jesus: A Member's Guide in the Community of Christ," Herlad House, 2004.
  • Roger D. Launius, Joseph III: Pragmatic Prophet, University of Illinois Press: 1995.
  • Inez Smith Davis, The Story of the Church: A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and of Its Legal Successor, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 12th edition, Herald House: 1981.
  • Quinn, D. Michael, "Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer, 1998, p. 1-68.
  • Tobler, Douglas F. (1992), "The Jews, the Mormons, and the Holocaust", Journal of Mormon History 18 (1): 59–92, http://content.lib.utah.edu/u?/jmh,14760 .
  • Yitzchak Blau "Body and Soul: Tehiyyat ha-Metim and Gilgulim in Medieval and Modern Philosophy", The Torah U-Madda Journal, Volume 10, 2001

Further reading

  • Covenant and Chosenness in Judaism and Mormonism, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, November 2001, ISBN 0-8386-3927-5
  • Spiritual Vision: Hebrew Cryptograms — The Key to Unlocking Parallels Between Mormonism and Judaism, David B. Cohen and Irving Cohen, Deseret Books, SKU: 4702961
  • Mormons and Jews: Early Mormon Theologies of Israel, Signature Books, January 1993, ISBN 1-56085-006-X
  • My Burning Bush, The Spiritual Journey of Nancy Goldberg Hilton, An Autobiography. Hilton, Nancy Goldberg, ISBN 0-9776403-0-2, Library of Congress Registration Number TX 6-288-494 [1]
  • A Mormon's Guide to Judaism: Introduction to Jewish Religion and Culture for Latter-day Saints. Marlena Tanya Muchnick and Daniel Baker, ISBN 1-932280-58-8. Granite Publishing. [2]
  • Notes of a Jewish Convert to the LDS Church: Conversion of a Soul. Muchnick, Marlena Tanya, ISBN 0-89716-803-8 Dist by Granite Publishing [3]
  • Days of Awe: Jewish Holy Days, Symbols and Prophesies for Latter-day Saints by Gale Boyd, published by Millennial Press [4]

Books on LDS observance for Israelite Feasts

  • Celebrating Passover: A Guide to Understanding the Jewish Passover for Latter-day Saints, Deseret Books, SKU: 4906193 information & Reviews
  • Passover for Latter Day Saints, David and Jennifer Asay, Books

External links








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