The Mormon Religion: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The Mormon religion is similar to Christianity, but differs from it in some important aspects. It is formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Fundamentalist Mormons believe in polygamy. A woman is currently protesting California’s laws against polygamy, calling them unconstitutional. She was raised as a fundamentalist Mormon, and is married to a man who has other wives, one of whom is her biological sister. Besides this extreme form of Mormonism, there are certain common beliefs held by the believers of this faith.
It is considered a restoration of the original church which was established by Jesus Christ. The founder of this religion, Joseph Smith, is considered by believers to be the prophet Christ entrusted with this responsibility. Let’s take a look at some of the aspects of this religion–
1. Mormonism differs in many ways from Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christianity. The spiritual decay which happened to the church originally established by Jesus Christ is linked to these orthodoxies, because his teachings were altered by them.
2. Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. They follow the Bible, but believe that there are errors in it. These mistakes have been corrected in the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, which are their other holy books.
3. They observe a health code which is known as the Word of Wisdom. Under it, they abstain from consuming alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco.
4. Followers donate a tithe of ten percent on their income every year, and also perform volunteer service in church.
5. Members must also set aside one day of the week, which is usually Monday, for a Family Home Evening. On this day, they study gospel principles together as a family. They also participate in non-religious activities.
6. Common practices include refraining from working on Sunday, if possible. Members of the church are encouraged to marry and have children, resulting in large families.
7. Education is important under this religion as a means of growth. Believers are encouraged to engage in missionary work.
8. Members are encouraged to be prepared for any disaster, including economic hardships. This religion does not use the cross as a symbol of faith.
Mormons are the fourth largest religious denomination in the United States. However, there are more Mormons outside the United States than inside it. Recently, the followers of this religion were found to number more than fourteen million. Much of this growth is happening from Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. This may be because of the importance attached to family life, education, and other aspects of the Mormon religion. It is part of the Latter Day Saint movement, which was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr., in the 1830s and 1840s.
Let’s look at the main Mormonism beliefs-
1. Mormonism refers to the branch of the Latter Day Saint movement which was led by Brigham Young, after Joseph Smith’s death. It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (LDS Church) Faith in Jesus Christ is the central tenet of this religion.
2. Like Christians, believers maintain that salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ. They follow the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, as well as the Pearl of Great Price. Apart from the Bible, the other texts consist of revelation which was dictated by Joseph Smith.
3. Under the doctrine of revelation, followers believe that Jesus led the church by revealing his will to a modern day prophet- the President of the Church. This was an office held by Joseph Smith. Believers thought that the church he founded was a literal restoration of primitive Christianity.
4. This was necessary because the Church as established by the Lord had fallen in spiritual decay. According to Mormons, after the death of the original apostles, the priesthood authority was removed from earth. It was restored to Joseph Smith by those who held them anciently.
5. According to Mormon cosmology, human spirits were children of heavenly parents, before their mortal life. They also believe that there are three degrees of heaven.
6. According to their belief in exaltation, mankind can return after death to live in God‘s presence. They can continue as families then, and become gods and goddesses. They would then be in a position similar to Jesus Christ.
Mormonism beliefs are similar to Christian ones in some respects. However, there are some important differences. Visit Mormonismtograce.com & find books which explains these aspects fully.