Mormons are often considered peculiar in their practice and
beliefs because they differ from mainstream Christianity in a number of
areas. Yet they are still a Christian
Church. In fact their official name, The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, bears Christ's name. The following outlines some of
the basic Mormon beliefs.
Christ's church has been restored to the earth.
One of the Mormon beliefs is that after Christ died there was an
apostasy or falling away from the truth. This truth was fully restored
with the organization of the Mormon Church.
Fundamental to Mormon beliefs is the witness of Joseph Smith in the spring of 1820. Joseph Smith,
questioning which church he should join, went to the woods to pray.
While he was praying he "saw two personages whose brightness and glory
defy all description, standing above [him] in the air. One of them
spake unto [him], calling [him] by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!'1
God the Father and Jesus Christ told the young Joseph Smith that the
true church of Christ was no longer upon the earth and that he would be
instrumental in its restoration.
On April 6, 1830 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was
organized, under the direction of Christ, with Joseph Smith as its
The Bible and Book of Mormon are the word of God.
Mormon beliefs include belief in the Bible just as other Christian faiths. But they also believe in the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and was
written, "to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the
Christ, the Eternal God."2
Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from gold plates that he received from the angel Moroni.
The Book of Mormon is an ancient record of the people who inhabited the
American continents. It tells of Christ's visit to the people after His
The Godhead is three separate beings.
The first article of faith of the Mormon Church states, "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."3
Mormons believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost
are three separate beings and that God the Father and Jesus Christ have
perfect bodies of flesh and bone.
Mormon beliefs included the belief that when Christ says, "The Father and I are one,"4
Christ did not mean that He and the Father are of one substance.
Mormons believe that Christ meant that He and the Father are united in
heart, purpose, and thought.
James E. Talmage, an LDS apostle, said: "This unity is a type of
completeness; the mind of any one member of the Trinity is the mind of
the others; seeing as each of them does with the eye of perfection,
they see and understand alike. Under any given conditions each would
act in the same way, guided by the same principles of unerring justice
and equity. The one-ness of the Godhead, to which the scriptures so
abundantly testify, implies no mystical union of substance, nor any
unnatural and therefore impossible blending of personality. Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost are as distinct in their persons and
individualities as are any three personages in mortality. Yet their
unity of purpose and operation is such as to make their edicts one, and
their will the will of God."5
Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
Mormons believe, just as Christians everywhere that Christ is the
literal Son of God. That He died on the cross and was resurrected after
three days. Because of this act everyone will receive the gift of
resurrection and their bodies will be reunited with their spirits.
Mormons believe that Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world
in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is through the gift of the Atonement
that members may repent of their sins and gain the gift of "eternal
life", which is life with God.
"This wonderful blessing is made possible through His grace, not by
our works. We gain access to his grace through faith (Rom. 5:2), a
principle that leads us to act and obey and grow in Christ, gaining
patience, hope, and so forth (see Rom. 5:2-6; 2 Peter 1:3-10). Our
faith and obedience does not earn salvation, but provides access to the
"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."7
Christ taught numerous times that those who truly followed him needed
to obey his teachings, which included repenting and forsaking sin. He
taught that a person's salvation was conditional upon the following of
His word. In both Matthew 19:16-17 and Luke 10:25-28, Christ was asked
what needed to be done to gain eternal life and both times Christ
answered keep the commandments.
Priesthood authority exists upon the earth.
is the power of God and cannot be taken by man but is conferred by His
servants (see Heb. 5:4; D&C 1:38). Mormons believe that both the
Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods were restored to Joseph Smith.
Priesthood power is the power and authority by which the Mormon Church
is directed and organized.
Joseph Smith defined priesthood as "an everlasting principle, [which
has] existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without
beginning of days or end of years…holding the keys of power and
Having the Priesthood gives one the right to act in God's name and
to perform blessings and ordinances that are essential to the salvation
Families can be together forever.
One unique Mormon belief is that through the sealing powers of the
priesthood families can be sealed together forever. Which means that
those family ties that are established while on earth will continue in
the life after.
Because of the Mormon belief that families are eternal the Mormon Church places great emphasis upon families. The proclamation on the family
states, "The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and women
is essential to His eternal plan. Happiness in family life is most
likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus
Christ… Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and
righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to
teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments
of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live."9
Saving ordinances are necessary to return to God.
Mormons believe that certain saving ordinances are needed to return to live with our Father in Heaven. These ordinances include baptism, receiving of the priesthood for men, endowment, and sealing or eternal marriage. Many of these ordinances are performed within Mormon temples.
God reveals His will to prophets today.
In the Lord states, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."10 This has not changed. God continues to work through his modern-day prophets revealing truths that we need today.
Mormons believe that the current leader of their church Gordon B.
Hinckley is a prophet of God and receives revelation from God to direct
and lead them to "knowledge of the Son of God."11
(1) Joseph Smith History 1:17
(2) Book of Mormon. Title page.
(3) 1st Article of Faith
(4) John 10:30
(5) James E. Talmage. Articles of Faith, p. 37
(6)Jeff Lindsay, "Questions about Salvation and Exaltation". http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_Salvation.shtml#works
(7) James 2:17
(8) Joseph Smith. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. pp. 157, 322.
(9) First Presidency of the LDS Church. "Proclamation on the Family." 1995
(10) Amos 3:7
(11) Ephesians 4:13