The basics of Mormonism
What are the basics of Mormon belief? In my simple search for this question I have found several answers. Most of them were inaccurate. Some of them were so far off that they could only be produced in Hollywood. So what do we Mormons actually believe? Sometimes it's really hard to tell with so many different people trying to get you to believe their specific way.
There are many who appear to intentionally spread false information about what Mormons believe. Often times, it appears that their primary goal in telling you about what Mormons believe is to keep people from learning their actual beliefs. This strikes me as odd. Instead of building understanding and tolerance, it appears that their goals are to tell you why Mormons are wrong. I'm perfectly fine if you believe Mormons are wrong, but at least use correct data.
So I decided I would make my own list, but I decided that I wanted to do this list differently than most would. I don't want to convince you that I'm right. If you believe that Mormons are peculiar, I'm OK with that. If you hate me for my beliefs, then I'm OK with that too. If you worship a carrot and believe that all rabbits are evil incarnate, then I want you to know that I am proud of you for your dedication in the face of such a mighty breeding animal. Keep up the good work, because I'm not going to try and convince you that you're wrong.
But I do want you to know that these things are accurate of the Mormon belief, therefore they are sourced and referenced (this is currently ongoing).
On a related note, there are many other sites out there that also want to tell you what Mormons believe. A few of them use our actual beliefs, but many of them do not. If you are interested in knowing what is commonly being misrepresented about our beliefs see 'What you need to know about the Mormons.' A more complete list can be found on the Mormon fact and myth cheat sheet.
The basic beliefs of the Mormons
1 - Mormons believe in a loving God
2 - Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as found in the New Testament
Latter-day Saints believe in Christ. We believe He is the Savior of all mankind. We believe that He atoned for the sins of mankind and that He gave his life for us that we may be saved.
We believe that the atonement of Christ was not possible without the events in Gethsemane and his crucifixion on the cross.
We believe that He was born to the Virgin Mary. We believe He was conceived by the power God through the Holy Ghost.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Father of all creation. We believe that He created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in them.
3 - Mormons believe that Father in Heaven is a separate person from Christ, but that Christ is one with our Father in Heaven in all other ways
Latter-day Saints believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are separate beings. We believe they are one in every other way, including purpose and desire.
Even though latter-day saints believe that Christ created the Heavens and the Earth, we believe He did so under direction and council from God the Father.
We believe that Christ is both the Father and the Son as far as He is the only begotten of the Father on earth, therefore both of the Father and of man.
We also believe that He is the Father of the gospel.
4 - Mormons believe that God reveals his gospel in every dispensation
Why would God not speak or reveal his gospel to his children? Has he lost the power? No, of course not. God is one eternal round, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Perhaps he no longer loves us or wants to help us? No, God loves all mankind. Perhaps mankind has become so perfect or trouble free that we no longer need him?
Latter-day Saints believe that God reveals his gospel to his children in the same manner as he has always done it in ages past. We believe that God has not sealed the heavens and that he will call prophets when he reveals his gospel. We believe that he has called prophets again for this dispensation of time.
We believe that God has revealed the same gospel many times throughout mankind's time on the earth, starting in the days of Adam, and again in the days of Noah, and so on. The center of which is the atonement of Jesus Christ in the Meridian of time.
When mankind begins to disobey, disregard or distort parts of the gospel, or when they begin to reject the Lord's prophets they begin to live in spiritual darkness. This eventually leads to widespread apostasy and a time where God withdraws his authority from the earth. The Bible contains many instances where prophets were called to teach the gospel to the earth again.
5 - Mormons believe that God is the Father of our spirits, and that we existed before we were on earth
Latter-day Saints believe that we existed before our mortal life on earth. Before we came here we existed with God our Father. We believe he created our spirits long before we ever came to earth.
6 - Mormons believe that our purpose on earth is part of a larger plan
Latter-day Saints believe that we came to earth for multiple reasons. We believe that one of the primary reasons is that we needed to be tested to see how we would handle responsibility on our own, and whether we would choose to do the right things by following the commandments of God. Another purpose is to gain a body and have mortal experiences that we could never have any other way.
During life we make choices that involve right and wrong. We believe that God will reward mankind according to their faith, works and desires. If this was not true than the man who lived a righteous and pious life would receive the same reward as the adulterous murderer who had faith in Christ. We believe that the final judgment is based upon both faith and works, and determines the glory that one receives.
We believe that every person can repent for their mistakes because of the atonement of Christ. This allows all of mankind the chance to repent while they live and have the same opportunity to return into the presence of God the Father. We believe repentance to be a process and not something that can be done in a moment.
For more information about the plan of salvation you can read the missionary handbook here, or this handy pdf. I recommend the missionary handbook because it gives you more scripture references.
7 - Mormons believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of the same church that Christ established during His mortal ministry
8 - Mormons believe that people should love one another
Latter-day Saints believe that God loves all His children no matter how imperfect they may be.
Latter-day Saints believe that they should love one another unconditionally, regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation, social status, or any other variable. We believe that every person on this earth is a child of God, and deserves to be loved.
We believe in being strong in our values, but also having love and respect to those with different values.
Even when reiterating its stance on marriage, the LDS church has stated that "Protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not affect Church members' Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people."
9 - Mormons believe in the Bible and Christian teachings up until the end of the New Testament
10 - Mormons believe in the Book of Mormon
11 - Mormons believe the Book of Mormon to be a companion to the Bible
Latter-day Saints believe the Book of Mormon to be a companion to the Bible. Ezekiel identified two written documents that would be joined into one. One was written for the house of Judah. The other was written for the house of Joseph. Later-day saints believe the Bible is the document that would be written for the house of the Judah, as both the Old and New Testaments were compiled for the primitive church in Jerusalem. The document for the house of Joseph is the Book of Mormon, as the primary descendants in the Book of Mormon are of the house of Joseph.
12 - Mormons believe in an adversary who works against God
Latter-day Saints believe that there is a real adversary, or devil, who does everything that he can to fight against God, distort truth, create falsehoods, and cause mankind to fall away from God's teachings.
13 - Mormons believe that God continues to give revelation to all mankind
Latter-day Saints believe that because God loves us, He has not left us without means to communicate. We believe that every person can receive direct revelation if they ask and listen. We believe that revelation is given to all mankind and that it does not require a certain belief or religion.
We believe that revelation does not show up and smack you upside the head at random. Instead, revelation is something that comes when asked for with faith and sincere intent.
We believe that there is an order to revelation. A person can receive revelation for those they have a stewardship for. A mother and father can receive revelation for their family. A bishop can receive revelation for members of his ward. The president of the Church can receive revelation for the Church itself.
14 - Mormons believe that the Atonement of Christ is given freely to all mankind
Latter-day Saints believe that the Atonement of Christ allows all mankind to be saved. We believe that it is the free gift of God for all mankind that has or will ever live on the face of the earth.
Even though Mormons believe that the Atonement is given to all and saves all mankind, Mormons also believe that faith and works are essential. Latter-day Saints believe that works follow faith.
15 - Mormons believe that all mankind will be judged according to their own faith and works
16 - Mormons believe in a Heaven and Hell but that there is more to it than just that
Latter-day Saints believe in a Heaven and Hell similar to the traditional concept; however we also believe that it is not the final destination. We believe that when you pass from this life that you are placed into one of two places according to your faith in Christ, etc. Within the church these are usually termed as spiritual paradise or spiritual prison.
After the work of the Earth is wrapped up and finalized we believe almost all of mankind will receive a place in one of three kingdoms according to their righteousness. A select few will receive no kingdom and instead receive the same fate that awaits the adversary, which is also referred to as hell.
Latter-day Saints do not believe in a literal fiery hell. We believe that the hell fire that is described in the New Testament is a metaphor for the agony of having a full knowledge of what was lost. If it was a literal burning, your body would eventually become used to the environment, at which point there would be far too many "Is it hot enough for you" jokes passed around.
Mormons believe in a more complex afterlife in part because of the teachings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the Bible. If the Atonement removed the consequence of sin for all of mankind, there would be no hell as described in the Bible. If God saw that man would not stop committing unrighteous acts and so decided to provide a Savior, it would mean that God was not all knowing to start with. If you assume the atonement only affects those that believed in Christ after the crucifixion, then it would not include all of mankind as stated in the Bible. Thus Mormons believe that the atonement was planned before the creation of the world and is given to all mankind but that works and faith still play a role in their judgment. If works are still apart of the judgment then it means that there is more to Heaven than a single state of happiness. This way the atonement fulfills both the requirements for both mercy and justice.
17 - Mormons believe that families can be together forever
18 - Mormons believe that men and women are equals
Latter-day Saints believe that men and women are equal partners in the Kingdom of God. We believe that each gender has unique strengths and roles.
19 - Mormons believe in baptism by immersion
20 - Mormons believe that children who die are saved
21 - Mormons believe in freedom of religion
22 - Mormons believe in obeying the laws of the land where they live
23 - Mormons believe in temples
Latter-day Saints believe in temples. Temples are not used for Sunday worship, but instead used for special ordinances.
Latter-day Saints make promises in the temple that we believe are required sacraments (usually referred to as ordinances) to return to the presence of God.
Latter-day Saints are required to have a testimony of the LDS church before they attend the temple. This is because you make promises to God in the temple. We believe that someone who has been through the temple will be held more accountable than those who have not. If God holds you to the promises that you make to Him in any way, then it is important that you have a testimony of the LDS church before you go through the temple.
24 - Mormons believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men
Honesty and integrity are of high importance to Latter-day Saints. We believe that we will be held accountable for lying, slander, false representation, and how we have treated our fellow man. You can easily verify that what we put online is also what we teach to our members in church. Every church is open to visitors. Walk in on any given Sunday, ask people for a member of the Bishopric, and ask them to show you around and where you can sit in on a class or sacrament meeting. You could also contact the missionaries and get a tour of the church before hand.
25 - Mormons believe that Elijah has returned
26 - Mormons believe that you can know that the Book of Mormon is true
|Latter-day Saints believe in Jesus Christ||Show|
|Latter-day Saints believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ are separate beings||Show|
|Latter-day Saints believe Jesus Christ to be the Father as far as He was conceived by the power of God||Show|
|Latter-day Saints believe Jesus Christ to be the Father of the gospel||Show|
|Latter-day Saints believe in multiple kingdoms in Heaven||Show|
|Women are equal to men||Show|