Mormonism (also called Latter Day Saint theology or Mormon theology and Latter Day Saint culture or Mormon culture) is a religion, ideology, movement, and subculture originating in the early 1800s as a product of the Latter Day Saint movement. The term Mormonism is also often used to refer specifically to the theology and culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is by far the most numerous and well-known religion among sects claiming derivation from Joseph Smith.
Mormonism is based on belief in Jesus as the Messiah, in the Israelites as a covenant people; as a form of Restorationism, it professes a restoration to the earth of the original Church instituted by Christ himself and thought to have been lost in a Great Apostasy after the death of Christ. Consequently, it has had complex and uneasy relationships with both mainstream Christianity and mainstream Judaism, as discussed in Mormonism and Christianity and in Mormonism and Judaism.
Most who practice Mormonism may be respectfully referred to as Latter Day Saints (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spell this Latter-day Saints). Other generally acceptable terms include LDS, Saints, and Mormons, although members of some sects other than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prefer not to be called Mormons. A very small minority view the terms Mormonism and Mormons as offensive slurs. Historically, Latter-day Saints have also been called Mormonites and Brighamites (followers of Brigham Young).
Mormonism as a theology
As a theology, Mormonism as a whole includes a highly diverse and eclectic cluster of religious beliefs. There is much in common with the Campbellite, Restorationist, and Universalist beliefs prevalent to the area. Smith's theology was seen by contemporary Mormons as answering nearly all of the unresolved religious questions of his day. The bedrock Mormon belief, however, is the acceptance of modern prophecy; that is, that people in modern times have the gift to authoritatively speak the mind or will of God. Common to all sects of Mormonism is the belief that Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, was such a prophet.
Joseph Smith, when asked what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believed, wrote what is now known as the Articles of Faith. Though the articles of faith are not a complete representation of the beliefs of Mormonism, they do represent some fundamental beliefs.
Nature of God
- God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are one God (), though they are separate beings.
- God the Father and Jesus Christ have physical bodies.
- We are children of our Father in Heaven and through the atonement of Jesus Christ are able to return to Him and participate in all that our Father has, as Christ taught.
Pre–mortal & human existence
Mormons believe that human beings have 3 stages of life.
- Pre-existence as spirit knowledges.
- A time of probation on earth. During earthly life people do not remember what their pre-existence was like.
- Eternal life with the Heavenly Father.
- Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of God the Father.
- Christ atoned for the sins of humanity and provided that all will be resurrected.
- We are saved by grace and do not earn the atonement. However, as Jesus is the Lord of our life we are responsible to live as He teaches us.
- We are responsible for our own sins, and must repent those sins.
- We must be baptized to cleanse our sin.
- Good works without grace is not enough, but nor is grace enough on its own.
- Everybody recieves a perfected physical body in a personal resurrection but to recieve eternal life which is exaltation with God it depends on various things including recieving the ordinances for salvation and how we live.
- People spend eternity in one of three Kingdoms of Glory.
- Only those who most reflect the attributes of the Son will live with God the Father.
- Those who knowingly defy and deny God will be cast into outer darkness.
- The Bible as it has been properly translated is the literal word of God.
- The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, the Doctrine of Covenants and revelations from modern prophets (the church presidents) are also God's word.
Mormon faith versus other faiths
- The Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and reflects the form it had at the time of the Apostles. All other Christian churches have drifted away from the original church set up by Christ, but contain much truth.
- Only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has true divine authority to perform required ordinances, nonetheless all other churches and faiths have much of value to teach people.
Official websites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13