Mormon Rules: The List further explained

We’ve had such a huge response to the post on the list of Mormon Rules that we felt it deserved a follow up. The comments and e-mails generated from this post have ranged from statements of “WTH?” to some obvious current Mormons and defenders of the faith who wanted to tell us that surely the Devil is controlling us and that we’ve got it all wrong. We wanted to clarify that we never intended to suggest that Mormons will be forced to do these things. The list of rules, as we stated in the original post, are the things expected of faithful Mormons in order to be considered a worthy member or a member in good standing within the church. But here’s the thing folks; if you are a Mormon and you do not follow these rules there are definitely consequences. Let’s take a further look at this:

1. Pay 10% aka Tithing.

No one comes to your home and holds a gun to your head while you write out a check. However, each and every member is to attend a meeting at the end of the year with their Bishop known as a Tithing Settlement. During this meeting, the Bishop will present you with a receipt of all the money you’ve given the church that year (for your taxes) and ask you whether or not you are a full tithe payer. Those who respond that they are not are strongly encouraged to get caught up with their payments (aka the “settlement”) at that time. Any “excuses” such as not being able to afford it are met with stern objections about how that is not an excuse, you are cheating the Lord, you’ll receive blessings from paying your tithing, etc. etc. Of course, you can still walk out of that meeting having not paid all or even any of your tithing, but you’ll be chastised for doing so.

2. Do not question Mormon authority.

There are more examples than I can count of those who have questioned the leaders and been disciplined for it, including those who have been excommunicated.

3. Fully believe in and frequently reiterate that you know the Mormon church is true.

4. Pass a worthiness interview yearly so you can attend the temple.

Here’s where it gets interesting. There are Mormons who have never been to the temple and never will go to the temple. But these are the “less worthy” members. They are thought of less than an “active” member of the church. It is significantly frowned upon to not be a temple Mormon, as that is the ultimate goal of Mormons since they believe the only way you will receive the “highest degree of glory” (their version of heaven) is by attending the temple along with marrying, having children and living all the rules of Mormonism.

5. Once you attend the temple for the first time you will begin wearing the special underwear (called garments).

You will be asked in your Temple Recommend interview renewal each year if you are wearing the “authorized garments” day and night. In addition, it is a cultural thing within the Mormon church to check for the tell-tale lines made by garments to see whether or not someone is a worthy, temple going Mormon. Again, those who are not are looked down on.

6. No smoking, alcohol, coffee, or tea.

This is expected of every member. Those who break this rule are expected to confess to the Bishop, repent, and not continue.

7. Get married early. (No sex before marriage.)

Naturally, no one is forcing anyone to marry. But the church does all it can to facilitate early marriage through various singles events and numerous talks on the importance of marrying young.

8. Have children early and have many.

Like getting married, no one is forcing anyone, but they are certainly strongly encouraged (again, through various talks from the Mormon authorities) to begin their families early.

9. Preach to your non-Mormon friends, family and co-workers and try to get them to become Mormon.

10. Do not associate with other non-Mormons (except when engaged in #9 above.)

11. Young Men (age 19) are to serve a two year mission.

This may be “voluntary” but just try to explain to anyone at church that you’ve chosen not to serve a mission but to go to college instead (or whatever your choice may be). You’ll be given such a hard time about how important it is to serve a mission and be thought of and treated as less valiant than those who have served a mission.

12. Women are expected to marry only a man who has served a mission (referred to as a “Returned Missionary”.)

13. Attend all church meetings. 3 hours on Sunday, plus additional meetings for many other things.

Not showing up at church on Sunday is like being a kid in elementary school when the Principal’s office calls your home to see why you were absent. You will get a call from someone at church asking why you weren’t there. In fact, I was once told that the budget was determined by attendance and that when I didn’t show up they lost money.

14. Follow a Dress code for church. Women cannot wear pants. Men should be wearing suits or at the very least a white dress shirt and tie.

The least that will occur are very stern looks from the members and at worst you could be told you are dressed inappropriately and must go home to change.

15. Accept and perform whatever church job (aka "calling") they give you. This takes much additional time.

Turning down a calling is almost unheard of. Of course this is not to say that it has not been done; my wife and I both have turned down callings. We were met with very shocked expressions as to how we could do such a thing. A Mormon member is definitely looked down upon for declining any calling offered to them.

16. Every member is asked to visit other members and teach a lesson out of a manual once per month. This is known as Home Teaching for the men, and Visiting Teaching for the women.

17. Fast once per month [which to Mormons is no food or water for 24 hours.]

18. Sundays are for church only, no “worldly” activities are permitted [this includes shopping, dining out, recreational activities, kid's sporting events, etc.]

So, forget Mother’s Day Brunch, dinner out with the family, or even attending a sporting event (including one your child is supposed to be playing in!) these are all unapproved activities for Sunday. Not that you’d have time anyway with a 3+ hour meeting schedule. Again, you can sneak out and do these things if you choose, no one is going to stop you, however, if you’re caught or you feel guilty and confess, you are definitely looked down upon as a “less active” member who is not following the rules.

19. Wear only very modest clothing: this means no shorts above the knee, no low cut tops for women, nothing sleeveless, etc.

For the worthy member, wearing the special underwear (#5 above) will take care of this automatically. However, it’s not uncommon for a “rebellious” Mormon, fed up with the rules, to either remove their garments altogether or do what’s known as the old “tuck and pin” trick to allow more modern fashions to be worn without one’s underclothes hanging out. Doing either of these things is also looked down upon and something that would get you considered unworthy in terms of being a Mormon in good standing as well as end up in denial of admittance to the temple.


  1. What I wonder is can you still remain a mormon, be active in the church and agree and follow only half of those rules? I believe the mormon church to be a great place to raise a family and enjoy the gospel of christ and life, but I honestly dont believe it all word for word. And I may be frowned upon, but I just dont believe it all! Is that a sin not to believe? I cant change my beliefs and still be honest with myself! ... a popular question, are you honest in your dealings with your fellow man? Am I? Can I?

  2. It could be a great place to raise a family if you don't think about all the thoughts you will be putting into your children's minds each time they attend an activity! Yes, I understand thier friends are there and they are having fun but also eventually they are going to have to deal with the guilt of not fitting into that "mormon box".

  3. I used to think that the church would be a great place to raise my family, until I realized that it isn't fair to teach my children one thing and honestly believe another. Just because their friends are members doesn't mean it is true. I used to feel guilty about leaving the church because of my kids, now I kinda feel guilty if I stay. Our children trust us completely in our decisions, WE NEED TO BE HONEST WITH THEM.

  4. did you honestly get phonecalls when you weren't at church? was a zealous leader you must have had.

  5. My 5-year-old said, "Mom, I feel yucky around people who drink coffee. Do those people make you feel yucky too." What a great thing to teach people!! I would recommend another religion. Anyone can make the LDS church sound appealing, especially when you can follow a couple easy steps to ensure your and your families salvation, but there's too much intolerance (which is taught, unspoken).

  6. Wow, reading through all these things even though I kinda knew about most of them is still very shocking when you see it written out. I have been going to the Mormon church for a while now by choice (I'm 17 and recently graduated and moved out of my parents who are not Mormons house) but have not converted- although its a wonder when I have missionarys at my door twice a day. I think this sunday I might have a few questions for the bishop, who I really look up to, and see how he sugar coats the answers. I appreciate this sight being up. It will definitly give me another way to look at the lds religion.

  7. As a former 25-year member of the church, I can "testify" that all of the above rules, or guidelines as the church likes to call them, are true. I had served in just about every leadership calling a woman in the lds church is able to serve in, including Primary President, RS counselor, Young Women President, Stake Young Women Counselor, etc. When in a leadership position, you attend a special meeting on Sundays, called correlation meeting, where one of the main topics is the people in your congregation (known as your Ward in the lds church) who are not following "the rules" and what is to be done about it. Usually it involves trying to encourage them to follow the rules by visiting them or inviting them to attend events held by the various church organizations (primary, relief society, young women, etc.). These folks were definitely considered "less of a mormon" than those who were stalwart in keeping the rules. There was also a wierd hierarchy of families in the Ward where the ones where everyone in the family followed the rules were placed on a pedestal and others looked up to them and tried to emulate them. We were actually one of those families until one of our children decided they didn't want to be involved in the church any longer. It wasn't that people were unkind to us, but they definitely felt differently toward us. We were also called into the Bishop's office for an extremely humiliating conference on how we could fix our child. After several years of feeling terribly depressed every Sunday for being a failure as a parent and church member because of our child's decision, I mistakenly found some very disturbing information on the internet about the lds church's history and Joseph Smith's conduct with women. After much study, our family determined that the church was not true no matter how you tried to make it true. It was sad to think that I had dedicated my whole heart and countless hours of my time to something that was a complete fake. By the way, when we stopped going to church, we had the Bishop at our door in 2 weeks wanting to know why we had stopped attending!

    1. Good for you-I bet life is more rewarding now;)

  8. Somebody obviously misinformed you about the commandments given to the members of the church. The most disturbing thing I found about what you blogged about, was #10. I don't know who taught you that, but it is completely false. You can always interact with non members. My best friends are non members. Mormons can even marry non members, and I've never seen it as to where they were looked down upon for it. another is your description of #6. As if drinking and smoking are not horrible things for your body. If everyone abided by this, there would be alot more happiness in the world. These rules(more like recommendations) are to make you happier. I cannot wait to read your next blog about the misleading teachings of other churches. I mean really, why did you choose this one? Did it just not suit your way of life, so you make a blog to mislead other people? I'm appalled.

  9. To all of the above posts, what a bunch of misinformation.You will all be amazed on judgment day when you find you had the truth and gave it away.

    1. Judgement day? Think you people have all lost the plot, what sane person lives their life believing in in this nonsense? As for Joseph smith and his ilk....liked the ladies methinks! Crazy! If the early so called leaders weren't fornicating or murdering they were collecting 10%of everyone's cash .wouldn't worry bout judgement day,get yourself checked into nearest mental health clinic.

  10. I was almost a new mormon. I have done a lot of bible searching lately and reading about the mormon faith. The bishops make it sound too good to be true. When they chastised me for reading my bible too much and not reading the LDS bible, I knew I was not going for this. Not only that, I've been very ill with pneumonia and they didn't understand why I wasn't going to church?!

    1. My 17 year old son is wanting us to give permission to be baptized. There are several main principles that we do not agree with, nor do we think he truly understands what he is getting into. It is causing a huge rift in our relationship. Can anyone give me advise? I would like him to speak with someone outside the church with more understanding about the Mormon Religion. Right now they have "sold" him. Does anyone have any ideas how I might find someone he could speak with? I live in Oregon. thanks!

  11. Nice blog. I am a fellow ex-Mormon blogger and I often sarcastically state that Mormonism has 101 rules, commandments, demands, and expectations that must all be obeyed to get to heaven. Then one day I sat down to see if I couldn't actually come up with these 101 Mormon Commandments.

  12. Wow.

    Where do you live?! Because I have to tell ya, I have am a 3rd generation Mormon in Australia, and we don’t have those rules. Where have they been written in doctrine? I am 100% certain that most of these rules are more culture based than actual doctrine. You need to travel around some more, go to a Mormon church in other countries and you will see what Mormons are really like. I am so sick of hearing about all this crap that goes on in churches in America, giving us normal Mormons a bad name.

    I have had friends (Mormon friends) who have been to Utah, and are never going back. Honestly, It does seem like a cult. I am not surprised to hear people say that about my religion when I read posts such as this.

    The few American Mormons I have met have just seemed like brainwashed idiots. Can’t think for themselves or have their own opinions.

    Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, I’m really pissed off when I see posts like this with someone claiming that this how all Mormons are. I don’t doubt that there are a lot of places that have these rules, but please remember that there are just as many Mormons who can think for themselves and know that these rules are pointless and a bunch of crap.

    My ward/Stake may not be anywhere near as strict as what they seem to be like in America, but we are happy, kind, considerate, spiritual people, and isn’t that what a religion should be about? We are normal people, this belief system is just one aspect of our lives, it does not define us. We can function as normal human beings in the real world, so please don’t judge a whole religion on one group of people. Keep in mind that they are individuals who have interpreted the gospel how they want to see it, not necessarily how it was intended to be. (Does that make sense?) Anyway, I will shut up now. I might go and read some of your other posts.

  13. Would like to know what questions any Mormons or ex-Mormons ask about Mormonism that would be considered inappropriate, result in ridicule, threats, anger, punishment etc? Curious because I went through quite a long period of investigation into my own faith that began when I was in my early teens and the first question that got me into some trouble was 'how did people end up speaking so many different languages' and my answer 'people started making up different names for different things' drew a rebuke from a Catholic nun who sternly corrected me with the response that God confused people's languages when they were building the tower of Babel. So you start asking questions about your faith tradition and there is hot water waiting for you if you dare begin investigating on your own. So any Mormons or ex-Mormons care to jump in?


No, we aren't Mormon any longer and don't follow "their" rules, but we really appreciate comments that don't contain swearing. Thank you.