Mormonism and their beliefs - Utah's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
What do Mormons (LDS) believe? From the Church-produced television commercials we have a hint that they place great importance on the family and family life. But what else do they really believe? The full complexity of the beliefs and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are explained here.
The teachings and beliefs 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.
Photo: Mormon Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
Mormon beliefs (page references are to the church's Book of Mormon Student Manual
- The Church teaches that the "Kingdom of God" refers only to the Celestial Kingdom, the highest heaven where only Mormons who have fully repented of sins, and married in the Temple will go (and small children who die before age eight.)
- The Church teaches that those who ultimately inhabit the lowest Kingdom, the Telestial, must first pass and suffer through hell which is inhabited by wicked spirits "where they suffer the torments of the damned, welter in the vengeance of eternal fire; there is found weeping and wailing...and the wrath of God is poured out upon the wicked." (from Alma 40:11-14; D&C 76:103-106)
The Church teaches that "Eternal Life" means becoming a god through exaltation and living in the Celestial Kingdom with God, which only perfect sinless married Mormons can do. Marriages must take place in the Mormon Temple to gain the Celestial Kingdom.
- The Church believes that only selected church members may be allowed entrance to the Temple, being a sacred place. The local church grants admission to the Temple ( a "temple recommed") to only those members who: are tithing 10% of income, who agree that the President of the Church is Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, keep the Word of Wisdom (no smoking, alcohol, caffeine, drugs), keep the law of chastity (no sexual relations if unmarried, and total fidelity if married), and are totally honest in dealings with others. It is estimated that only between ten and thirty percent of members have a "temple recommend." It should be noted that these are also requirements for baptism but not all Mormons keep the rules strictly and therefore are not able to enter the Temple.
Photo: The Celestial Room, the most sacred room in theTemple, and only seen by a select group of Mormons, represents life in the presence of the Heavenly Father. The members of the Church who participate in the Endowment Ceremony will end that ordinance by entering this room, where they often pray, meditate, and enjoy the Spirit of the Lord.
- The Church believes that the Godhead has three separate Gods: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
- The Church believes that Jesus is one God in the Godhead. He is the god called Jehovah when mentioned in the Old Testament (while Father God was called Elohim). Jesus was the first of infinite spirit children to be born by the Father and Mother gods.
- The Church believes that God was once a man who lived on earth and is flesh and bones. He through the process of "exaltation" became a god. God is married and there is a mother in heaven. God conceived by a physical union with Mary, a literal son Jesus. "Just as Jesus is literally the Son of Mary, so he is the personal and literal offspring of God the Eternal Father, who himself is an exalted personage, once being a man and now having a tangible body of flesh and bones." (p.12, Book of Mormon Student Manual)
- In 1844 Smith began teaching that the Book of Abraham teaches that God is but one link in an infinite ancestral chain of Gods stretching back through eternity. God is only one of innumerable Gods. The Church believes that humans are the literal offspring of God and one of his celestial wives, and because of this we all have the potential to achive exaltation to divine status after we repent of sin and live perfect sinless lives for the rest of our earthly lives and are married in the Mormon Temple ceremony.
- Smith taught beginning in 1844 that God had a literal father, and that he had a father, ad infinitum. He also taught that married male Mormons if repenting and then living a sinless life on earth may go to the Celestial Kingdom and have the possibility of becoming gods and "shall they be above all... because they have all power, and the angels are subject to them. They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have, all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge."
- Smith taught that the Garden of Eden was on the American continent, and near the present Independence, Missouri, and Spring Hill, Missouri and that the biblical Adam built an altar there. The remains of the Adam's altar and a tower were found by the Mormons in 1838 in that area in Missouri.
Having found the Garden of Eden, Smith taught that Independence, Missouri would be the location of the coming Kingdom of God, called Zion, and prophecied in 1832 that the Church will build a Mormon Temple there for the Lord to return on the second coming. This temple was prophesied to be built soon by Smith saying "which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away."
- The Church teaches that Atonement is achieved by the combination of the sacrificial death of Christ AND by earning forgiveness of our sins by fully repenting of our sin and NEVER repeating those sins again for the rest of our lives.
- The Church teaches that we existed in heaven with God (our literal Father) as spirits before we became human.
Photo: Mormons wear at all times under their clothing, except during bathing, "sacred" garments, usually a two-piece tight fitting undergarment with symbols over both breasts, the navel, and the right knee. The undergarmet is supposed to bring protection to the wearer.
- The Church commands Mormons not to drink caffeine or alcohol, and not to smoke or take drugs. The Church requires attendance at the church for three hours each Sunday and tithing ten percent of income. Mormon youth are strongly encouraged to take two years to travel as missionaries recruiting new church members. Marriage is strongly encouraged as only married can reach the highest heaven, the Celestial Kingdom, the only heaven of the three heavens where one can live in the presence of God, and where husbands become gods and live with their wives through eternity, producing spirit babies who later come to the earth as human babies.
In October, 1837, Joseph Smith was tried by an Ohio jury for violating the 1816 Ohio Banking Law. Smith was the treasurer of the Kirtland Anti-Bank in Kirtland, Ohio. The Mormons begun their own bank, but called it an "anti-bank" and ran afoul of the state's bank regulations. Smith was convicted of violating banking laws and fined $1,000 (the equivalent of about $90,000 in today's dollars).
Photo: A $3 bill issued by Joseph Smith's Bank, the Kirtland Anti-Bank, in Ohio in the1800s.
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 wish.) 1 (800) 533-7775
Back to Part 1 - Mormon Beliefs - and links to scientific and scholarly evidence regarding the prophet Joseph Smith and his translations of the Book of Mormon.
Other Excellent Links About Mormonism: