17 Unusual Mormon Rules You Won’t Believe Are Real

By Aaron Stone

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is known for its unique and distinct practices and beliefs. These practices, rooted in scripture and tradition, shape its members’ daily lives and moral compass. From dietary restrictions to behavioral guidelines, the rules and recommendations for Mormons are designed to foster a sense of spiritual growth, community, and self-discipline. We look at some key practices and beliefs that distinguish Mormons, providing insight into the principles guiding their faith and lifestyle. While sometimes seen as restrictive by outsiders, each practice plays a crucial role in the spiritual and communal life of the LDS Church members.

No Dating Until Age 16

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The LDS encourages young people to focus on their education, build strong friendships, and develop their spirituality before entering into serious relationships. Many Mormons think that dating at a younger age can increase the risk of engaging in inappropriate behavior.

They Must Give Ten Percent of Their Salary to Charity

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The principle of tithing is a core financial practice in the LDS Church. It refers to giving 10% of income to the church. The ten percent rule is not always strict in some churches, but members are encouraged to contribute what they feel comfortable with.

No Gambling

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Gambling is seen as being motivated by a desire to get something for nothing rather than through honest effort and hard work. Therefore, the Mormon church leaders have strongly condemned gambling for many years, considering it morally wrong.

They Should Put Most of Their Time into Their Family

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While there’s no strict requirement to dedicate a specific amount of time, spending quality time together as a family for activities, meals, and religious study is highly encouraged. While this is a universal feeling for many, some people see these explicit rules as restrictive.

Tea and Coffee are Banned

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Mormons typically abstain from coffee and tea as per scripture from The Word of Wisdom, the LDS Church scripture. While some modern Mormons do drink some hot drinks, others believe coffee and tea can have negative health effects.

No Cursing

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Mormon church members are actively encouraged to use clean and respectful language at all times. They believe respectful language promotes positive communication and avoids offense to others. The odd swear word may be used now and again, but this could cause real problems if it were done in public spaces. 

No Leisure on Sundays

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Sundays are considered a holy day for Mormons, with the day dedicated to rest, worship, and spiritual thought. Aside from worship, the Sabbath should be spent with family, and some activities, such as baking and board games, are deemed suitable. 

They Must Go on Missions

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Young men between 18 and 25 are typically encouraged to consider serving a full-time mission for two years. This is seen as a way to develop their faith, gain valuable life experiences, and serve others.

They Cannot Watch Adult Material 

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The Church teaches that adult material harms individuals, marriages, and families. They believe it can lead to addiction, infidelity, and a distorted view of intimacy, which is why leaders teach that pornography can damage one’s relationship with God and hinder spiritual growth.

They Can’t Play Basketball Unless It’s a Half-Court Game

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Missionaries are young adults serving full-time proselytizing missions. The Church discourages full-court games due to the higher risk of injuries and the time commitment. While this rule is not for all Mormons, many believe it’s bizarre nonetheless. 

Missionaries Cannot Swim

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This rule is a myth to some extent, as missionaries are not explicitly told not to swim. However, they are discouraged from participating in activities with a high risk of injury, including swimming, to ensure they can focus on their missionary work without getting hurt.

Missionaries Can Only Call Home Twice a Year

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Until 2019, missionaries in The LDS Church could only contact their families on Christmas and Mother’s Day. While these rules have changed, some churches still enforce these strict rules, although many extend it to a few more than two times a year. 

They Cannot Eat Meat in Summer

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There are no specific restrictions on meat consumption for missionaries or members in general. However, the Word of Wisdom emphasizes moderation and living a healthy lifestyle, and meat is seen as an indulgence, and restriction is encouraged. 

They Should Stockpile Three Months’ Worth of Food at All Times

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Mormon scriptures emphasize self-reliance, which includes being prepared for emergencies and unexpected situations. Food storage is a way to ensure families can have necessities covered in natural disasters, economic hardship, or other disruptions.

They Shouldn’t Criticize the Leadership

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The LDS Church emphasizes respect for Church authorities and teachings. Leaders are seen as divinely called to guide the Church and should not face unwarranted criticism. However, the emphasis is on working together to find solutions and strengthen the Church rather than public criticism or negativity. 

Teens Must Pass a “Chastity” Test

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Mormons believe in the importance of the Law of Chastity, which promotes sexual purity before marriage and fidelity within marriage. The emphasis is on developing strong moral character and avoiding behavior that could lead to sexual immorality.

No Dishonesty

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Several scriptures in the Bible and the Book of Mormon condemn lying. The Ten Commandments, considered foundational for Latter-day Saints, include “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Church leaders warn of the negative consequences of lying, including damage to relationships, loss of trust, and spiritual harm.

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