God gave Adam and Eve one rule: “Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” We all know what happened next.
Later, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments around 1445 BC. The rabbis developed this into a code of 613 rules and laws – proving that the Law could never save us. (Hebrews 10:1-4, Romans 8:3)
But in AD 32, when Jesus Christ was asked about the law, he distilled it down to two things: “Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Then along came the Mormon Rules.
What are the Mormon Rules? They are a list of what Mormons are not allowed to do.
To put it another way, the Mormon Rules – developed by Joseph Smith in AD 1833 – are a set of do’s and don’ts Latter Day Saints need to achieve exaltation to godhood.
Related Content: List of Strange Mormon Beliefs
Since their fundamental belief system involves salvation by their own works, they believe they need to adhere to a set of behaviors.
How many Mormon Rules are there? Dozens and dozens of them. And every time you look, it seems like more of them pop up. There’s no telling what the exact number is.
Where Do the Mormon Rules Come From?
The Mormon Rules -a complete list of things Mormons can’t do- originated from a revelation Joseph Smith experienced in 1833. It’s recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants 89 right here at the LDS church website.
LDS means The Church if Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints -the official name for folks also known as Mormons.
D&C 89 is also known as “Mormon Word of Wisdom” by its first few words in 89:1.
Now don’t confuse it with the Biblical word of wisdom, which is a spiritual gift found in the Scriptures.
In the Bible book of James 1:5, we’re told that if we lack wisdom, we can simply ask the Lord and He will provide us with plenty of it. Without any conditions or reservations.
However, this is the Bible.
Going back to the origin of the Mormon rules, we have to take a closer look at the following of Smith’s D&C.
Mormon Rules Revealed in D&C Section 89
The revelation supposedly given to Joseph Smith by God that represents D&C 89 was “given for a principle with promise”.
And what do you have to do to receive this promise? That’s right – you have to obey the rules under this word of wisdom.
Does this sound very works-based to you? Well, it should – because it is!
But let’s now see what these Mormon rules are according to the Word of Wisdom:
- Mormons (LDS) should abstain from consuming alcohol, coffee, tea, tobacco, illegal drugs other harmful substances.
- Latter Day Saints should consume meat sparingly, preferably when the weather is cold or during times of famine.
- Saints are encouraged to consume grain, vegetables and fruit as healthy foods.
However, the Word of Wisdom states that although Saints are not to consume any of the aforementioned things, they can still use some of them but for alternative uses.
For example, tobacco is mentioned as a herb that can be used on sick cattle, although it explicitly mentions that it needs to be done by someone who knows what they’re doing.
But the cherry on top found in D&C 89 are the promises given to those who obey these specific rules, including:
- Health benefits
- Knowledge and hidden treasures of knowledge
However, arguably the most striking promise given to obedient Latter Day Saints is the last one, which states that “the destroying angel shall pass by them”.
Looking at the Word of Wisdom from a Biblical Perspective
First and foremost, it’s crystal clear that the revelation that Mr. Smith received in the form of the Word of Wisdom did not come from the Lord.
Because it contradicts the Living Word of God found in the Bible.
In Doctrine and Covenants section 89, we find those very specific dietary rules.
Sure, consuming alcohol might easily lead to drunkenness, which is an act of a sinful nature as outlined by Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:19-21 ESV.
But let’s not forget what Jesus Christ Himself said in Matthew 15:11 ESV:
“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
By doing this, our Lord and Savior made all foods clean. (See the incredibly short list of “Foods the Bible Says Not to Eat”)
And while you should definitely stay away from illegal substances, drugs, excessive amounts of alcohol etc., it’s perfectly okay to consume meat or drink tea, for example.
Also, don’t forget that I wrote an entire post about God’s view on eating meat. So much about these man-made rules wrapped in a neat “Word of Wisdom” package.
How Many Mormon Rules Are There?
There are tons of different rules that Mormons need to adhere to in order to obtain a temple recommend.
In fact -according to this list- there are actually more than 600 rules for members of the Latter Day Saints church.
Talk about legalism!
Anyhow, let’s take a closer look at some of the most notable rules for Mormons:
- No drugs, tobacco (smoking in general), alcohol, tea, or coffee.
- No tattoos and piercing (with the exception of having one hole on each ear for women).
- Don’t watch R-rated films (pornography).
- Don’t use foul language.
- Don’t have sex prior to getting married.
- Don’t do gambling.
- Resist same-sex marriage.
- Be an honest person.
- Don’t take revenge.
- Fast every month for one day.
- Don’t worry.
As you can see, most of these rules are very Bible-like and can easily be attributed to Holy Scripture.
Then again, Mormons and the LDS church do believe in the Old and New Testaments. They just think that the Bible is incomplete and has errors in it, that’s why they feel the need to come up with their own doctrines and rules.
Nonetheless, many of these rules go hand in hand with what the Bible teaches. Let me show you:
- Same-sex marriage or relationships – God intended for sex and marriage to be between a man and a woman, right from the very beginning of creation (Genesis 2:24 ESV). Anything else that involves men with men and women with women is an abomination in His eyes, which is further solidified by Leviticus 18:22 ESV.
- Vengeance is not yours – The Bible teaches us not to take revenge. Why? Because vengeance belongs to the Lord, He will repay (Romans 12:19-21 ESV).
- Do not worry – Worrying about worldly things such as what you’ll eat or what you’ll wear will get you nowhere. It’ll only eat you from the inside. This is also why the concept of not worrying about tomorrow is a very Biblical thing. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus Himself tells us not to worry about the next day, because each day has enough issues to ponder about already. Just put your trust in the Lord, because He will provide, as promised in Matthew 6:33 ESV.
Mormon Rules for Wives
Here are the main wife-specific Mormon rules:
- Wives have to obey their husbands.
- Wives need to stay at home and focus on raising their children.
- Wives are to be submissive to their husbands, who are the head of the home.
Now, as you’ve probably guessed, some of these specific rules have Biblical roots.
Firstly, let’s see what the Apostle Paul’s inspired writings have to say:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22 ESV
Here’s another verse from the same human author:
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Colossians 3:18 ESV
And this one:
“For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” Ephesians 5:23
It’s safe to say that the Bible agrees with the LDS church here. Yes, wives should be submissive to their husbands as husbands are the head of the household.
But wait! We have to consider other relevant parts of the Scriptures to see the big picture.
And what do we find there? That husbands have to respect and honor their wives as the weaker vessel in a marriage.
Here’s the proof:
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7 ESV
Clearly, we as husbands are to show honor to our wives. They’re the weaker gender and we have to love them in a respectful manner.
This isn’t to imply that the LDS church approves of domestic abuse or anything. In fact, Latter Day Saints have strict teachings opposing domestic abuse.
Related Content: How Many Wives Can a Mormon Have?
Still, the LDS church strongly encourages wives to stay at home with their children. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking care of the next generation.
Mormon Rules for Dating
Mormons have a set of rules regarding dating found in the For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making choices manual:
- You have to be at least 16 years old to date someone.
- Sex is forbidden prior to marriage.
- The end goal of dating is to find your eternal partner.
- Don’t date people with low moral standards.
- Join up with other couples and do planned group dates.
- Don’t go on dates with the same person too frequently as to not risk getting “too close for comfort”.
The Latter Day Saints clearly realize the importance of socializing when you’re still young.
They acknowledge all of this in that manual geared toward teens and they point out to the ultimate goal – to find your eternal partner.
This is actually great and pretty much in-line with the Bible. God wants us to find someone who we’ll enter into a marriage with and someone who’ll be our partner for life.
Jumping from person to person and engaging in lust by committing adultery is a horrible sin and it’s not cool. Despite what the pop culture might teach.
It’s especially dangerous for teens who can so easily fall into the trap of lust.
This explains why the Mormon rules for dating state that you have to be at least 16 years old to date.
Their reasoning is simple, yet logical.
Going out with someone from the opposite sex before that can easily lead to immorality. Spot on!
This can quickly spiral out of control when you’re young as the lust of the flesh takes over.
Remember – the pleasures of sin are only temporary.
Do you want to forsake spending eternity with your Creator , because you enjoy changing partners so much that you want to keep committing adultery until your very last breath?
Think about it.
Great men of God like Moses decided to suffer affliction than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:24-25 ESV).
Mormon Rules for Kissing
LDS church leaders have a clear position regarding not engaging in any “passionate kissing” before getting married.
Their reasoning? Inappropriate kissing may trigger a strong sexual desire, which may lead to other sinful things.
Thus, Mormons are encouraged to keep the kiss as a “clean, decent, sexless one like the kiss between a mother and son”.
Knowing how today’s youth behaves this doesn’t sound too weird at all actually.
But again, the LDS church is again tackling a spiritual problem with physical (fleshly) methods.
Listen – our real problem is SIN. We’re in a spiritual battle 24/7 so trying to please God in a works-based manner won’t get you far, due to your default sinful state.
This is what Apostle Paul has to say about it:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:11-12 ESV
While the Mormon Rules do a lot to improve society, the underlying premise is flawed. And I should point out that LDS folks are some of the finest people I know.
Yet we seldom hear the reason for the Mormon Rules. It comes from the seldom-mentioned-yet-ever-present LDS Doctrine of Exaltation.
Latter Day Saints believe in three outcomes – also known as Degrees of Glory – for humanity at the end of this life: 1) The Celestial Kingdom, 2) The Terrestrial Kingdom and 3) The Telestial Kingdom.
By LDS doctrine, inhabitants of the highest – The Celestial Kingdom – must become Temple-Endowed, wear Temple Garments and adhere to the Mormon Rules.
(See my post on special underwear known as Temple Garments that Temple-endowed LDS Saints wear continuously)
But that isn’t all. Exaltation isn’t only Salvation. LDS Exaltation is the achievement of godhood.
So the Mormon Rules aren’t about salvation, but about achieving godhood. But here’s what the serpent told Eve in the garden:
“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5, ESV
And if you need to follow rules to get to heaven, why did Jesus Christ die and rise again?
The first time mankind was told that if they performed some work, they would be like God. And we saw how that has worked out.
Do we really want to try that again?
Is your Faith Founded on Fact? Have you committed to follow Jesus?