Whether it is your first time hearing some of the beliefs of the Mormon church (a common nickname for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), or if you struggle with how to share your faith, here is a video by James the Mormon that explains five key Mormon beliefs.
These beliefs are often misunderstood or may seem weird to some people at first. So for those who still would like to know more, here is a more in-depth look at these five core doctrines that often draw people to the Mormon faith.
All Can Receive Personal Revelation
We believe that we are all children of God. Isn’t God always referred to in scripture as God the Father? He is the Father of Christ, but we also call Him Father because He created the Earth and each of our spirits. Just as each of us have an Earthly father, He is the Father of our spirits. He wants us to know Him, speak with Him in prayer, and He also communicates back, giving personal revelation and inspiration that is specific to each person.
There are several ways that we can receive personal revelation. It can come through quiet feelings in your heart, thoughts, dreams, the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) of the Holy Ghost, and occasionally and for very specific purposes, more dramatic ways such as visions or visitations.
Often, personal revelation comes as a result of someone actively seeking it: praying, fasting, and reading the scriptures in search of answers. Mormons believe in and seek for these moments of personal revelation to provide guidance and direction in our lives.
Mormons have an Unpaid Lay Ministry
As mentioned in the video, every position in local Mormon congregations is both unpaid and volunteer. Members give of their time and talents to teach lessons, prepare music, run Sunday school and primary classes, give temple service, go on missions, and to help any who need it, whether they are a member of our church or not.
So how does the Church support itself then? While it does make investments, the majority of its support comes from faithful members all around the world. Following the law of tithing set down in the Old and New Testaments, members voluntarily give ten percent of their increase to help build and maintain meeting houses and temples, print scriptures and hymnals, provide humanitarian aid, maintain four private universities, and generally cover needed operation costs.
Basically, Mormons strive, like all other Christians, to better this world through service and love for others, both in and outside of their faith.
God Speaks Through Living Prophets
We believe that in addition to prayers, God has always followed a pattern of speaking through prophets. This way, rather than God having to give instructions to every person, He can act instead through His appointed servants.
Anciently, prophets warned of danger, called people to repentance, taught the gospel of Christ, and wrote instructions that they received from God, which scripture still guides us today.
These are exactly the same things that modern prophets and apostles do, only instead of writing scripture, they testify and teach the doctrines of Christ every six months at a massive gathering known as General Conference. Their teachings are broadcast, transcribed, printed, translated, and made available around the world in 43 different languages (and portions of it made available in 93 languages).
So how do we know that their teachings are really from God? Christ said “by their fruits shall ye know them.” Do their words uplift and strengthen your faith in Christ? Do they live what they preach? After praying and asking the Lord, pondering, and listening to their words, we can receive personal witnesses of their calling, and have faith in them as living prophets today.
Mormons Believe in more than just Heaven and Hell
One of the beliefs that we hold most dear, is our belief in the afterlife. But rather than separating the afterlife into just two places—Heaven and Hell, we believe that there are many different levels of eternal reward, rather than a “pass/ fail” system. Christ, himself said that, “in my Father’s house are many mansions,” knowing that we will all reach different levels of righteousness in this life.
Ultimately, we believe in Grace. We believe in Christ, as our Savior, Redeemer, and Advocate with the Father. We believe that although the Lord does require our best efforts to follow the commandments, He knows that we can never do it on our own. That is why Christ died. That is why He suffered and made atonement for our sins, so that there can be grace, so that there can be mercy. Because without His mercy, we would all end up cast out from the light and presence of the Lord. We can’t do it on our own.
Thankfully, the Lord knows us. He knows us perfectly. He knows our weaknesses, sins, and mistakes, but He also knows our good works, our desires, and our heart. Every person on Earth is unique, so we believe that heaven is not “one size fits all” either.
Mormons believe in three basic levels of Heaven, called the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial “kingdoms.” The Celestial kingdom is a place for those who have been baptized, repented of their sins, done their best to keep the commandments, and have a testimony of Jesus Christ. These are those who will be able to dwell forever in the presence of Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son.
The Terrestrial and Telestial kingdoms, are lower kingdoms– still merciful and good places to live, but away from the full glory of the Father and Son, where the Lord has prepared a place for those who were either not valiant in their testimony of Jesus, rejected the gospel, or chose to live sinful lives and do not repent.
“Hell,” (called Outer Darkness) in the Mormon faith, is only reserved for those very, very few, who have had a sure knowledge of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, and then chose to deny and reject Christ. Without the saving grace of His atonement, they cannot enter into Heaven. However, it will be because of their intentional choice and evil hearts, not a punishment inflicted on those who still have a shred of light within.
What about children who died without baptism, those who were never really taught the gospel of Christ, or those who made mistakes they never got the chance to repent of in this life? What about them?
We believe that before the final judgment, there is and will continue to be a massive missionary effort on the other side, teaching those who have passed on about Christ, and giving them the opportunity to believe in Him and accept His atonement.
That is why Mormons actively search out all the genealogical records available, and do proxy ordinances (such as baptism) for them in holy temples, which the person who has died then has the choice to either accept or reject. The apostle Paul referenced this practice, saying, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor 15:29)
In the end, perfect justice will still be required by a perfect God for the sins we have committed, but the Mormon view of the afterlife isn’t just Heaven and Hell. It is a place of “many mansions,” where there are many different levels and opportunities for missionary work, mercy and grace from a loving Heavenly Father.
Families Can Be Together Forever
Mormons believe that some of the greatest joys possible in this life are available through a family life centered in Jesus Christ. These precious relationships between husbands, wives, parents, children, and siblings teach us about selflessness, service, patience, and love… all characteristics of our perfect Father in Heaven.
The Lord himself is identified first and foremost in scripture as “the Father,” choosing a family title more frequently than a kingly one for himself, and identifying himself as a Father both to Christ and to us. The word “Father” appears almost 1,000 times in the King James Version of the Bible alone. Jesus’ primary title was often “the Son.” We are told in scripture that those who repent are children of God and joint heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) The Lord has also given us the divine institution of marriage- a scriptural commandment in fact—and Christ said of this important ordinance, “what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” (Matthew 19:6).
All of these things point to family being the very focal point of our lives, both here on Earth, and afterwards. Paul in speaking to the Ephesians said, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named.” (Ephesians 3:13-15)
Marriage has been given by God as one of the most supernal blessings of this world, and we believe that these marriages can then continue into the next one. Jesus told Peter in Matthew 18:18, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,” giving his Chief Apostle the power to bind and “seal” things not just for this life but for eternity. Marriages performed without this power have the ability to unify a couple for the duration of their life on earth, but we believe that these precious relationships, forged by God, and nurtured over entire lifetimes, are not meant to be broken at death. Through the sealing ordinances performed in the temple, they are meant to last forever.
Mormons spend a lot of time and resources searching for the records of those who have passed on, and doing proxy ordinance for them in the temple (including sealing families together for eternity), which we earnestly hope they will accept on the other side of the veil. This way, all worthy families can be together after this life, even if they never had access to a temple during their lifetimes.
What about those that are worthy that never receive the blessing of marriage in this world, despite their righteous desires? God is love, and we believe that the Lord will not withhold any eternal blessing from one of His faithful children. Through the sealing power available in holy temples all will be made right.
We believe that family, which is the center of our lives here, does not end with death, that husbands do not separate from wives, or children from parents, but that all can be exalted and sealed together as one great family with God at the helm. And the relationships that are the very dearest to us, that give our lives so much meaning and joy, can be eternal, and continue, even into the heavenly realms.
If you have more questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please contact us.