Monday, 16 March 2015

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the official name of this religion, although it is more commonly referred to as the Mormon Church. 

It was created by Joseph Smith in 1830, who became the first president of the Church. Joseph Smith is believed to have had a vision of God and Jesus after he prayed to ask what Church to join. They believe that Joseph Smith was asked by God and Jesus to restore the church which Christ organised when he was on earth. 

The Church of Jesus Christ began with six original members in 1830 and now has nearly 14 million members on six continents.
They believe in the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon and they believe that every President of their church is a prophet. With the current President and prophet being Thomas S. Monson.

They believe in helping others, and being selfless, as well as partaking in missionary work. The church encourages all able young men to undertake a two year missionary service at the age of 19.

“Imagine you found a cure for cancer. How urgently would you spread the news of your discovery? Who would you tell? The gospel of Jesus Christ is the cure for so many of life's ills that Mormons want to share the good news of eternal life with the same urgency.”

Their values are similar to that of other religions, although they are particularly focused on the family; “In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints families come first.”

They believe that everyone on earth, whether a Mormon or not, is a child of God. They also believe that they can continue to exist as families even after death.
In Mormon households they have a regular evening in which the whole family comes together to share in spiritual training, for example, by singing hymns and by praying together.

Whilst 99% of Mormons are Latter-day Saints, some members broke away and have become known as Fundamentalist Mormons. They mainly differ to Latter-Day Saints due to their belief in polygamy (having multiple wives)

I feel that this group can be seen as particularly ‘American’ as it has a strong framework based around the family and helping others. I feel that this is very American as I think that traditionally Americans are seen as wanting to better themselves for their family, as shown through the American dream. People want to live the American dream and be able to provide for their families. Mormons are also particularly focused on helping others and the community which I feel is something than can be seen as traditionally American as I feel that America is often associated with having a close community.  This link leads to a map showing what percentage of each state is a part of the Mormon faith (as well as other religions).

Mormon Website:
Other sources:

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)

Image result for universal unitarianism'We are people of all ages, people of many backgrounds, and people of many beliefs. We create spirituality and community beyond boundaries, working for more justice and more love in our own lives and in the world.
Unitarian Universalism affirms and promotes seven Principles, grounded in the humanistic teachings of the world's religions. Our spirituality is unbounded, drawing from scripture and science, nature and philosophy, personal experience and ancient tradition'
About us page on the UUA's homepage
The current collective faith community of the UUA is comprised of  Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Humanists, Jewish, Muslim, Pagans, Atheists, Theists, Agnostics, and more. Many advocate and fight for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer inclusion and laws for more than 40 years, 
'we are people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.'

the Amish

Image result for the amish
This is a sect of Christianity that goes all the way back in 1693. It was founded by Jacob Amman who broke from the church he was following became of three things:  1. He wanted to celebrate Communion twice a year. 2 He wanted to separate himself from nonbelievers. 3 He wanted to continue the humbling tradition of washing people’s feet. And from this came that Amish who are still going strong to this day.
They speak Low German (which is similar to Pennsylvania Dutch), High German for church services and English when talking to outsiders. The Amish believe that most of the trappings of the modern world: electricity, automobiles, television and clothing fashions are distractions and promote pride, envy, vanity, sloth, dishonesty and other undesirable traits. Because if this you will find none of these things in an Amish home. They do not live connected to the grid. but in some instances if something from the modern world is useful and doesn’t draw attention to  itself it may be introduced , an example of this would be nylon rope instead of hemp.
The one thing that I find the most interesting about the Amish is the tradition of Rumspringa which means run around. This tradition refers to when an Amish teen turns 16 he is allowed to go out into the world for 6 months and experience what the modern world has to offer. After this time he / she makes the choice whether or not they want to join the Amish church.