Overview of Mormonism

Mormonism, what is this religion, and what does it mean? There are so many misconceptions of this religion on what they believe in. Mormons believe in, hope in, and rejoice in Jesus Christ. They testify of Jesus Christ as well, to be the savior of the world. There are 16 members in the Congress that practice Mormonism.(Matt, 2008) In this paper, knowledge will be given to understand meaning and foundation behind Mormonism, the beliefs of this religion, what texts it follows and what it means to be Mormon. All religions differ in the world, by one thing or another so in hopes to clarify some things, this paper will bring light to such a misunderstood religion.

Mormonism, or also known as the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, is a religion that came in 1830. Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith, in the 19th century in Western New York. (Matt, 2008) Joseph Smith was the first prophet and president of the Mormon Curch. When Joseph Smith was murdered in 1844 (Religion and Ethics- Mormonism), a man named Brigham Young, migrated with the following Mormons to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1847, for they feared for their lives. Today, the prophet and president of the Church is Thomas S. Manson residing in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah is the home of the Mormon Church headquarters. Mormons are Christians. Mormons are people that believe in God just like Christians; just with different views like many people do on God.

What do Mormons believe? What do they expect from others? Many questions are asked throughout the whole history of Mormonism. Mormons believe that God has a plan for us, before we were born, during our living years, and after we die, in which the beliefs are put into the Articles of Faith. This is a guide to Mormon beliefs. The following hopefully answers some questions that people might have. Mormons are believers of God, the almighty and wise. God was the creator of all, and loves everyone. Mormonism beliefs are similar to that of other religions, but with some differences. Though Mormons believe that God will bring us happiness in this life and eternal life, they also believe that the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is only found in the Church of Ladder-Day Saints. Mormons believe that human beings can become like gods, though they would remain loyal to God himself. Mormons also believe that their church restores Christianity to the way it should have been at the time of the Apostles. How about that Mormons believe in living prophets, like Abraham and Moses. Mormons also believe that humans lived with God before humans were born.

Mormons do not believe in the Trinity. They believe that “Godhead” is made up of three distinct beings who are in “one purpose” not one being. The “Spirit” has a special mission to guide and teach as well as to comfort human souls. For the other beliefs that Mormons have, they are that we are able to have salvation when we die, and that we will be resurrected after we die.

Christians follow the Bible and Muslims follow the Qua’ran, so do Mormons follow any of these texts of religion? In a way yes, Mormons believe that the Bible is the “word of God” (if correctly translated), but that it has many mistakes within it. They follow the Bible, if it is the authorized version of King James. Another text that Mormons use is that of their own. The Book of Mormon, to teach and study, in some ways the Mormons bible. The Book of Mormon tells the story of God’s dealings of American Continent. The Book of Mormon was first established by Mormon himself. He was a prophet, who put the words on plates of gold. When he passed, his son, Moroni buried the plates for safekeeping. In 1823, Moroni came to Joseph Smith and told him where he could find the plates. Joseph Smith later put them on paper, which became the Book of Mormon. (Bushman, 1984) Mormons came to believe that Book of Mormon is the unaltered word of God, and for that, is why they follow this book.

How is family important to an individual? For the Mormon Church members, family is everything. The Mormon people believe that the family unit is the one of the most important things we, as humans, can do on this earth. Family starts with the foundation of husband and wife, for Mormons only support the marriage of man and woman. They are married in the Mormon temple, as long as they are worthy. The Mormon family believes in raising a family in certain ways, which they look to the “The Family: Proclamation to the World” for guidance. Both the man and woman are present all throughout the child’s life in Mormon homes. Though it is encouraged that the woman stay home and raise the children, if financially she is unable the man could stay home instead. For if this was the case, husband and wife of the Mormon family would pray to God for guidance. If it works best for them, financially and emotionally than it is accepted. For noone can take personal possessions to heaven, such as money or jobs but it is believed that in God’s plans family can be together forever. (mormonbeliefs.)

Another belief that Mormons share with one another is the purpose of having Mormon Temples. These temples are places of sanctuary from evil influences, place for reflection and inspiration and many more reason. One, who is not Mormon, cannot enter a temple once the temple has been dedicated, but before that a person is allowed to take a tour of these temples. When on tour of these temples, they can see the baptistery, the endowment room, celestial room, and the sealing room. The sealing room is where marriages take place, but if anyone ever gets invited to a Mormon wedding make sure you are Mormon and worthy, for if not they are not allowed to tend a wedding in the temple. Temples are for the highest sacraments of the Mormon religion, and to maintain that one has to keep the commandments and repent when they do fall short. One has to also obtain a temple recommend from one’s bishop in order to enter the temple. Once a Member of the Church enters the temple, they must change out of their street clothes into all white temple garments.

Mormons have practices and holidays just like everyone else. Like for, example Mormons are prohibited to drinking alcohol, tea or coffee. They are not allowed to smoke or do any illegal drugs. The exclusion of all this is part of their health code called Word of Wisdom. Mormons have special under garments called temple garments, which both man and woman wear if they took part in a washing and anointing ceremony in the Mormon temple “endowment”. Some holidays that Mormons have are Pioneer Day, for this holiday symbolizes the first entry of Mormons into Salt Lake City. Mormons celebrate all other holidays, but Christmas and Easter are the two main holidays that are celebrated for these holidays are the days of birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Two other special days to Mormons are that of April six, the anniversary of the founding LDS church in New York City (1830), and May 15, the day that John the Baptist came to see Joseph Smith. (religionfacts.)

Remember that knock at the door, with that unfamiliar face standing on the other side holding a book, which looks like the Bible? Did that person ask for a minute of your time, for he or she wanted to discuss God, Jesus Christ? Well, most likely that person was a missionary from the Mormon Church. These missionaries believe that to “teaching all nations” comes spreading the Gospel from door to door or from countries to countries. Missionary work is the cornerstone of the Mormon Church, for it brings a great deal of members to this religion. Missionary work is done throughout the world, with one thing on the missionaries mind, and that is to basically teach faith, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins. Missionaries also teach the Godhead, plan of salvation, importance of prophets, and the importance of Joseph Smith. Missionaries give up work and family to go on missions, for missionaries believe that this is their calling.

A recent interview with a church member of a local Church of Jesus Christ, another name for a Mormon Church (information disclosed on names and locations, as a request from them), led me to be more confused than I was before starting this paper. With 10 questions to ask, some not answered, with a member of the Church. As I started my interview, the man, we will call Joe, assured me that he would answer the best that he could but there were things that he could not go in-depth with. I started out my interview with a simple question of, can anyone be Mormon? His response was “yes, as long as they repent and abide by the commandments of the church.” Alright, I said, well in two bible scriptures (Amla 18:26-28 and John 4:24) it says that God is a spirit, yet the Mormon Church believes that God is an exalted man with a body flesh and bones. Why is that? He tells me that “it is meant that God has a spirit”. On and on I questions with many of them having simple answers, than I asked why Mormons believe in baptizing the dead. “They believe that after death people go to a “spirit world” to wait to be judged. There they learn if they did not have the chance to learn the Mormon way on earth”

Why does Mormon Church teach that we can be married in heaven when Jesus said in Matthew 22:0 that in the resurrection men neither marry, nor are they given in marriage? Joe’s response was “That is referring to an earthly marriage, not a marriage with the priesthood authority”. I read in some of my material that Jesus died not just on the cross for us, but in a garden called Gethsemane, “He paid both in the garden and on the cross” but that was all Joe told me, Joe would not tell me why he believed it. My last question to Joe was about polygamy. Knowing that many people think of polygamists as Mormons, what is the actual stand on this through the religion? “Though we don’t condone it or accept it, we do not condemn them for it. We currently do not practice polygamy, and do not associate ourselves with those who do as the same Mormon religion as them. They are “splinter” of the actual Mormon religion.”

So, what does Mormon have in common with Christianity? Well, first off the Mormon religion is Christianity. Mormonism is the 4th largest Christian denomination in America with about six million members in the United States alone. Christians believe that the church is a place of various believers and a group of believers where Mormons believe that their church is the only true church. Christians follow the Holy Bible as the only religious text where Mormons follow the Bible (in a way) along with the Book of Mormon. Both Christianity and Mormonism believe in the resurrection and recognize Christmas and Easter.

There are over 13 million Mormons in 176 countries, and although Mormonism is a religion of different beliefs than other religions, it still is a religion. Anyone can become a Mormon, as long as they follow the certain beliefs, texts, and ways of Mormon living. Mormonism may be different from other religions but what actual religion is not different. As humans we all have different views on religions and how we should live. To judge a person is not our responsibility for God is the only true judge.