Mormonism - LDS and Utah's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Ever wondered what Mormons believe? You've probably seen the white-shirted guys riding bikes around your neighborhood and the Church-produced television commercials offering free Bibles. We have a hint that they place great importance on frugality, the family and family life. But what else do they believe? It is not often easy to find out the full complexity of the beliefs and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and how these beliefs differ significantly from orthodox Christianity.
Photo: Mormon Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (some don't like it to be called the Mormon Church, but an unofficial adopted name of the members is the Mormons) has claimed about 4.8 million members in the U.S. Fifty-three percent are women. This would amount to a little less than 2% of the U.S. population or about 1 of every 50 people. However, the church probably is counting everyone who ever joined, but has no record of those who leave the church and don't get their names removed, or just stop attending church. My guess is that the church has considerably less actual attending members than they claim.
Of the members, it has been estimated that somewhere between 10 and 30% of Mormons hold a "temple recommend" which allows them to enter the Temples where secret ceremonies such as baptisms for the dead ancestors, and marriage ceremonies are held for those with "temple recommends".
The Church also claims members in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean total about 1.4 million, and in South America, 2.1 million.
Photo: The central feature of the Temple Baptistery is the Font, which rests upon the backs of twelve oxen. The Temple Baptistery is only used for baptisms for the dead. The oxen represent the Twelve Tribes of the House of Israel. Each of the oxen are unique in some detail, recognizing the uniqueness of each tribe. In the Baptistery, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stand proxy for those who departed this life without an opportunity to accept the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those spirits who have left mortality have the choice whether or not to accept this ordinance that has been performed on their behalf. Through baptism for the dead, living members of the Church seek to share some of the most important blessings of thier lives with those who have passed on.
These pages are intended to present a clear, simple, and fair presentation about the beliefs of the LDS Church for non-mormons, and to those members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who have not yet comprehended the full complexity and serious difficulties of the teachings of their church and leaders.
Here are the teachings of the LDS church as compiled primarily from the Book of Mormon Student Manual (1989), the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (1981), and the Book of Mormon (1989), all published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Here's what Mormons believe (page references to the Book of Mormon Student Manual):
- In 1823, 2 months and 2 days shy of 18 years old, Joseph Smith received a visit from a resurrected person (an angel) called Moroni. Angel Moroni, in 1827 subsequently delivered engraved metal plates of brass and gold to Smith containing the historical record, from aprox. 600 B.C to 400 A.D. of people in America and a included the report of the visit to America by Jesus Christ. The plates were written in what he called "reformed Egyptian."
- Smith transcribed the plates into modern speech and the books were published as the Book of Mormon in 1830, when Smith was 24 years old.
- Smith said that the "Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." (p.2)
- A later President of the Church, Ezra Benson said that the book "establishes and proves to the world that Joseph Smith is a prophet, for he received the book from a resurrected personage and translated it by the gift and power of God...The Church is thus the one true Church because it was set up by a prophet acting under command of God." (p.2)
- The Church believes in the Bible only in so much as it has been correctly translated. Joseph Smith said, "I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors." (p. 14)
- The Church came into possession of some ancient Egyptian writings on papyrus scrolls in 1835. Although there was little known about Egyptian hieroglyphics at that time, Smith said that it was written by the Old Testament patriarch Abraham, in his own hand. (Note: Abraham lived around 2000 B.C., and Genesis, as written by Moses, is dated around 1400 B.C., so these writings would predate the first book of the Bible by over 500 years.) Smith, with no knowledge or schooling in the Egyptian language translated the hieroglyphics from the papyrus scrolls and called it the Book of Abraham. The Book of Abraham is now included in "The Pearl of Great Price" and is one of the four Mormon sacred books, along with the Bible, The Book of Mormon, and The "Doctrine and Covenants".
- Smith said "I have more to boast of than every any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam...Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-Day Saints never ran away from me yet..."
- Smith had a revelation from God, which was not written down until 1843 that commanded Mormons to the practice of polygamy. However, the written doctrine was not officially announced and made public until 1852. Brigham Young, the second President of the Church, ordered the doctrine made public and said that if any denied the principle of plurality of wives that they would be damned. In 1862, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Anti-Polygamy Act of1862 which made plural marriage illegal. The Doctrine commanding polygamy was placed in the official Church Doctrine and Covenants in 1876.
- (In 1862, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Anti-Polygamy Act of 1862 which made plural marriage illegal. The Church however, believed the law unconstitutional and continued the practice of polygamy. The Church in 1874 asked member George Reynolds to furnish evidence necessary to convict himself of polygamy and then serve as a test case in the U.S. Supreme Court. But, in 1879 he lost when the court ruled against Reynolds and the Church. Meanwhile plural marriages continued and in 1882 the U.S. Congress passed the Edmunds Bill making it illegal for anyone who practiced plural marriage to hold office or public trust. As polygamy still continued, Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Law in 1887 which took away the corporation status of the Church and allowed confiscation of property if the Church continued polygamous marriages.)
- (The President of the Church in 1887, John Taylor went into hiding to avoid arrest. He died in hiding and new President Wilford Woodruff privately forbade plural marriages in one area but did not make this publicly known. Upon much controversy in the Church, President Woodruff had a revelation from the Lord to ask the Latter-Day Saints if they should pursue their course of polygamous marriages. On the concurrence of the members of the Church, in 1890 it was announced the ending of the practice, 28 years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Anti-Polygamy Act of 1862.)
- (Even after the official ending of polygamous marriages in the Church, some members went to Mexico so as to not have to terminate their marriages or in order to perform marriages outside the United States. In 1900 and again in 1904, the Presidents of the Church announced that all such marriages are prohibited and declared that the doctrine of the Church is now to be against the practice of plural marriages.)
- The Mormon Church has given unique meanings to many common religious concepts and words:
- The Church teaches that the "Gospel" means the laws and ordinances of the Mormon Church, which includes the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, as well as the Bible. Mormons believe that the true gospel message was lost from the earth shortly after the New Testament apostles died, and now only the Mormons hold the true gospel message.
- The Church teaches that you will know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet by reading the book and praying to God to ask whether it is true.
- The Mormons believe that if you pray and receive the answer that the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith was a Prophet, that you will then testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church of Jesus Christ, God's restored church on earth today. Mormons believe all other churches are false religions teaching incorrect doctrines.
- The Church accepts members who testify to these truths, repent of past sins, and agree to baptism by full water immersion. After baptism, received is the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. The Holy Ghost helps humans to recognize the truth, gives strength in doing right, and comfort in trials.
- The Church teaches that the Holy Ghost refers to a spirit man who can only be at one place at one time. The Holy Spirit on the other hand refers to the influence of the Godhead that fills space and enables God to know what is going on.
- The Church believes that "Salvation" means simple bodily resurrection, that the spirit reunites with a glorified, immortal body, because Jesus died and was himself resurrected for our universal resurrection.
- The Church believes that Heaven is divided into three Kingdoms: Celestial, Terrestial, and Telestial. The highest, the Celestial is for Mormon men and women who have fully repented of sins, and only if married in the Mormon Temple, and small children who die before reaching the age of accountablility at 8 years old, Terrestial is for moral people and Mormons who have not followed the gospel teachings completely, Telestial is for everyone else. (note: Only repentent, and thereafter sinless married Mormon men and their wives can go to the Celestial Kingdom.)
To Mormon Beliefs Page 2 - Sacred Underwear!
You may call the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for a FREE Book of Mormon to be sent to you by mail. (You will not be put on a mailing list or contacted later unless you request it. ) 1 (800) 533-7775
You can also visit the church web site:
Was Joseph Smith A Prophet? - Is The Book of Mormon True?
Mormon's believe that the Book of Mormon is a true account of the history of the Americas and that Jesus Crist came here and gave a sermon like the Sermon on the Mount. Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon teaches that the ancestors of present American Indians came here from the Middle East around 600 B.C. by boat and settled in Southern Mexico and Central America. The Book of Mormon claims that during those days they had horses, chariots, chickens and camels, and grew wheat, rice and oats, and made steel weapons. All of these claims have since been found to be contrary to all archaeological and anthropological evidence. (Although horses and other large mammals including wooly mammoths had existed in North America for millions of year, the horse in North America became extinct about 7500 years ago as climate changes took place over hundreds of thousands of years and the horse migrated across the Bering Straits to Asia. The modern horse didn't arrive in the Americas until after 1492 AD when Christopher Columbus arrived).
Here are letters from the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society regarding the Book of Mormon. Also follow the last link to find out whether Josephs Smith's Book of Mormon was taken from ideas from a previous 19th century book.
Are The Mormon Scriptures True?
These four references pretty much end the controversy over the credibility of Joseph Smith's sacred book "The Book of Abraham," contained in "The Pearl of Great Price." The Pearl of Great Price is one of Mormonism's three other sacred scriptures that include the Doctrine and Covenants, The Book of Mormon, and the Bible. The Bible is only accepted by Mormons "when correctly translated." Mormons believe the Bible was intentionally translated incorrectly by the Catholic Church in earlier centuries). Most Mormons are totally ignorant of these findings about their own scriptures. The first three links are a detailed account of the facts and history surrounding the Book of Abraham as "translated" by Joseph Smith. The link is a quick summary about the Book of Abraham.
Excellent Links For Detailed Info About Mormonism:
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