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Mormon Doctrine

Mormon doctrine states that before the creation of the world we all existed as spirits before we were born. In Mormon doctrine a person is a body and a spirit, and the spirits of all men lived in heaven before the creation. God, our Heavenly Father, proposed a plan for His spirit children for their eternal progression. In Mormon Doctrine this is called The Plan of Salvation. This plan proposed that the spirits in heaven be sent to earth to receive a body and face temptations and trials. To overcome these, and be able to return to heaven after mortal life, a Savior was provided. Jesus Christ, the firstborn spirit of Heavenly Father, agreed to act as Savior in the Father’s plan, and give all glory to the Father. Lucifer was also one of the spirit children of God. He proposed an alternate plan at the same time. In his plan mortal men would not have moral agency. To have agency puts a person in jeopardy of choosing evil over good. Lucifer wanted to deny choice and accountability, save everyone, and receive all the glory. Because of his rebellion, Lucifer was cast out of heaven with one-third of the spirits of heaven that followed him. They became the devil and his angels, and it is they who tempt mankind.

The Bible is the word of God in Mormon Doctrine. As written in Genesis, Jesus Christ created the earth by the power of God, and placed Adam, then Eve, in the Garden of Eden. After the transgression of Adam and Eve, they were cast out of the Garden of Eden into the fallen world. Adam was taught the plan of salvation by an angel of the Lord and then he taught it to his children. This begins the patriarchal succession of the prophets as recorded in the Old Testament. The New Testament records the ministry of the Savior and His Atonement, which overcame the effects of The Fall and made it possible for all mankind to be brought back into the presence of God. Where Mormon doctrine differs from Christian Evangelism is in the belief that the Church of Jesus Christ organized through the Apostles was destroyed sometime in the first century by persecution, martyrdom, and apostasy. The authority to preach and administer the gospel, which Jesus had given to the Apostles, for the salvation of the world, was no longer on the earth.

According to Mormon doctrine, Joseph Smith had a vision of God the Father, and Jesus Christ, in the year 1820. Through this, and many angelic visitations, Joseph Smith was called as a modern prophet and Apostle of Jesus Christ, and given the priesthood authority of God that had been lost for nearly 1800 years. By this authority he organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830. Mormon doctrine is adamant in teaching that the heavens are not closed; revelations, visions, and miracles still exist in modern times. It is because of modern revelation, and a modern prophet, Joseph Smith, that Mormon doctrine accepts scripture in addition to the Bible as the word of God.

The Book of Mormon does not replace the Bible in Mormon doctrine, but is a companion volume. In it is written an account of the people of God on the American continent. Mormon doctrine also accepts the Doctrine and Covenants, which are recorded revelations received by Joseph Smith, and The Pearl of Great Price, the writings of Moses and Abraham translated by Joseph Smith. The words of a living prophet are just as important as scripture in Mormon doctrine and the words of the current Twelve Apostles and Prophet of the Church are continually published and broadcast by the Church.

The temple of God is the focus of Mormon doctrine. In the temple a person receives higher instruction in the gospel of Jesus Christ and makes covenants with God in addition to the baptismal covenant. Through obedience to these temple covenants all people who have ever lived can become worthy to return to the presence of God and “all that [the] Father hath shall be given unto [them]” (D&C 84:38). This is the promise of God in Mormon doctrine—all men have the potential to become like God. The Plan of Salvation set forth before the creation of the world, is designed to this end.

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