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Mar 3rd 2007

Mormon Religion

This article was recently submitted to all-encompassingly for publication. It is one of a series of informational posts intended to address widely-held misconceptions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. –Admin

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or as it is often called, the Mormon Church, is the restored Church of Jesus Christ, which He established during His ministry in Palestine.

After Christ’s apostles were killed, the power of the priesthood bestowed on them by Christ was lost, and with it the authority to maintain His church on the earth. By the early 19th century, there were many Christian churches, all with different practices and interpretations of the Bible. In the spring of 1820, a young man named Joseph Smith, living in Palmyra, New York, took his questions about religion to God in prayer in a grove of trees near his home. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph and told him he was to restore Christ’s church. Over the next several years, Joseph Smith, called as a prophet of God, would restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth, including the priesthood, or authority from God to do His work.1

In September of 1823, Joseph was visited by an angel who told him of gold plates hidden in a hill nearby. Four years later, Joseph retrieved the plates and translated the ancient record by the power of God. It was published in 1830 as The Book of Mormon, and contains writings of prophets living in the ancient Americas, including the account of Christ’s visit to the American continent shortly after His resurrection. On April 6th, 1830, in Fayette, New York, Joseph Smith and five others founded the Church of Christ, soon to be known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1

Joseph Smith was asked to summarize the beliefs of the Church. He wrote a letter in which he included 13 basic tenets that differentiate the Church from other churches. They are published in the LDS scriptures as The Articles of Faith.

1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. 2

Other doctrines of the Church not specifically mentioned above include:
There is a prophet today leading the Church, just as there were prophets anciently, who receives revelation from God for the world today.
Through the power of priesthood ordinances performed in LDS temples, families can be sealed together for time and all eternity. This means that families will be together beyond the grave if they live worthily.3
In 1833, the prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation which is now referred to as the Word of Wisdom. It contains instruction about how to keep our bodies and minds healthy. People should eat healthy food and avoid tobacco, tea, coffee, alcohol and illegal drugs. The Lord promises physical and spiritual blessings to those who obey the Word of Wisdom. 4

Other Links:

  • Mormon Religion
  • Mormon Beliefs
  • Mormon Church
  • ————————-
    1 Our Heritage: A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996.
    2 http://www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,1598-1,00.html (this can be found at the back of the Book of Mormon)
    3 http://www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,1082-1,00.html
    4 http://www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,1094-1,00.html

    5 Responses to “Mormon Religion”

    1. steven

      why was it called mormon and not somthing else

    2. doug

      I would guess that since The Book of Mormon was (and is) a centerpiece of the faith, then the name was able to stick.

    3. travis

      right, doug. another factor: the church’s official name, “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” is quite a mouthful.

    4. Daniel

      I think it started as a derogatory term and was eventually coopted by members of the church – just like the word “Christian”.

    5. travis

      yes, i think i’ve heard that somewhere.