February 11, 2009 6:55 PM
Mormons In America
"Getting rid of those, I think, has really liberated the Church and has helped in its expansion," Ostling says.
Ostling, author of the book "Mormon American," says the Church's emphasis on strong families has also propelled it's success.
"I think there's a quest for stability and family roots," Ostling says.
This explains the success of Orthodox Judaism and Evangelical Protestants and many other groups. But, Mormons are certainly at the top of the list.
Mormons call their congregations "wards" not churches. That is where the Royalls and others worship and study scripture. On any given Sunday, the Royalls' ward is overflowing with families.
But, because Mormons also believe their religion extends back to ancient Israel, they also have temples.
Jan Shipps, considered the foremost non-Mormon scholar on the Church, explains that the temple is not like a church.
"People don't -- there's not an organized community worshipping together," Shipps says.
Only Mormons with permission from their leaders are allowed into temple. That is where sealing ceremonies are held -- marrying couples for eternity. Baptisms are also held in temples. Not just for the living, but also for ancestors who died without baptism.
"This is a very important part of Mormon understanding of connecting people now with people in the past," Scripps says.
From the earliest age, Mormons are taught in verse and song that they have a duty to spread the faith.
Bushman says at all times, there are 50,000 missionaries scattered around the globe.
"It's expected of young men. And young women are invited," Bushman says.
To Shipps, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is not just another Christian denomination.
"Mormonism is a fully-realized tradition," Scripps says. "It has, it has it's scriptures. It has its rituals. It has its doctrine. It has its social patterns."
Ostling says while the Church has its roots in America, it's more than that.
"I think you could make the case that Mormonism, right now, is a new world religion," Ostling claims.
But to Matt and Susan Royall and millions of others, it is simply their spiritual home.
"It has made my relationship with my children better. It has made my relationship with my husband better," Susan says. "It has brought nothing but goodness into my life."
Add A Comment +
Popular Now in Sunday Morning
- Dressing down a culture for refusing to dress up
- Mark Harmon, a hero on-screen and off
- Buildings: What's new is old
- Work spaces: Past and present
- The bells are still ringing, for the last 1,000 years
- How design colors the mind
- The newest thing in architecture: Something old
- A nation of slobs?
- Up next, recap and links
- Against all odds
- Just the two of us: Childless by choice
- The psychology of design and color
- Passage: Soap icon Jeanne Cooper
- Sinkholes: The hole truth
- The evolution of the psychoanalyst's office
- Natalie Maines: Going solo with "Mother"