More than half my students right now are Mormons. Honestly, I feel bad for them, because I can only assume they don't know the foundational beliefs and history of their faith. They, like most other Mormons you and I have met, are the greatest families. The type who never miss lessons, whose kids practice every week and like learning.
I hope I'm as good at parenting as they are.
But how can they persist in a faith created by such a crazy character? Yes, I know. Jesus was nutty, too. But he didn't dress all in black and claim to use necromancy in order to receive revelations written on metal plates no one else could see. I mean, would you trust a new religion brought forward by a guy who made a habit of making up languages and tales? Do Mormons know that Smith told an 11-year-old girl that God said she should marry him, or that he sold his skills as a skrier with both the stones (like the ones he later used to "translate" the plates) and one of those forked stick-thingies for finding water long before he, uh, met the angel Moroni? Uh. huh...
You can find some interesting things on the internet both by looking up Mormon Exit Letters (letters written by folks who want to leave the faith- like my father-in-law's family) and by checking out this site. It has good explanations of the differences between Christianity and Mormonism.
For example, "Mormonism teaches that God was once a man and men can become Gods, Jesus and Satan are "spirit brothers," God married the virgin Mary, Jesus was married, etc." just to name a few. Another thing that always freaks me out is their belief that we were once on the same level as God and Jesus, but are now here on earth to progress toward godliness. (We're in the remedial school known as earth.)
Studying this after reading Under the Banner of Heaven and talking to some Mormons who came to our door (bet they put a big black "x" on our address for all future missionaries) has absolutely convicted and inspired me to delve into my own Christian faith. What I know for sure is that God exists, the Bible is true, and at some point I had to make a decision about how that Truth would affect my life. Now I am making that decision- the working out of my faith- on a daily basis. I need to understand well the basis of it and to be capable of defending my beliefs.
At some point I would love to support the Child Protection Project, which helps children raised in fundamental Mormon sects.