Brief History: “The Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ. It contains the writings of ancient prophets. One of these, named Lehi, lived in Jerusalem about 600 B.C. God commanded Lehi to lead a small group of people to the American continent. There they became a great civilization.
“God continued to call prophets among these people. The Book of Mormon is a collection of their writings. It is named after Mormon, one of these ancient prophets.
“These prophets knew about Heavenly Father’s plan for His children and the mission of Jesus Christ. They recorded that Christ appeared after His Resurrection to the people in America. He taught them His gospel and established His Church among them.” (mormon.org)
For a thumbnail historical survey of Mormonism, see History of mormonism.
Belief about God
Does God exist?
Yes, but all men and women have the potential to become gods as well.
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea…. Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves…the same as all gods have done before you. The heads of the gods appointed one god for us; and when you take this view of the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods…. Many men say there is only one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God! I say that is a strange God anyhow—three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization…. All are to be crammed into one god, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God—he would be a giant or a monster."
How do you describe God?
God was once a human who was elevated to position of god and essentially given his own world to rule. He is still physical with flesh and bones. He has a human wife whom he brought to this world to be a goddess.
A "Godhead" of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as three separate entities united in purpose. God the Father resides in heaven with His wife, the Heavenly Mother; Christ, their only begotten Son; and "exalted" Mormons, who become God-like in heaven. God has a perfect body, which looks like ours. [Beliefnet]
Is there any kind of spirit world?
Yes—a pre-human spiritual world. The belief is that god and his wife “produce spirit children that grow and mature in the spiritual realm.” [Christian Apologetics & Research]
Belief about the world
Is there an overall plan or order behind nature?
Yes—god makes man, Jesus saved men, and then men and women have the potential to become gods who will have their own world/planet to rule.
Belief about humanity
Are human beings different from the rest of nature?
Where did we come from, & where are we going?
We come from heaven, born of god and his wife, and are originally spirit beings born into the physical world. If all decrees and doctrines are followed, we are going on to heaven with the potential of becoming gods ourselves (see chart at bottom of page).
“You lived with your Heavenly Father as one of His spirit children before you began your life on Earth. You were happy there, but God knew that you could not continue to progress unless you left Him for a time. So He presented His plan—the plan of salvation. It allowed you to come to Earth, where you would gain a physical body and would have experiences that would help you to learn and grow. The purpose of the plan is to help you become more like Him.” [www.mormon.org]
2.1 Beliefs about purpose
What is the overall purpose or meaning of humanity?
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that its members are to strive to be perfect. This perfection, hopefully, results in exaltation, in becoming a god.” [carm.org]
What is the main purpose or highest good for each individual?
“Show faith in and obedience to God and Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Adhere to the practices, requirements, commandments, laws, and sacraments of the faith as exemplified by Jesus Christ. Good works are integral to the faith through monthly fasts and fast offerings to the needy, to show your obedience and love for God. Baptism at age 8 is necessary, the age of accountability, and be confirmed as a member of the church. Confess all sins to God, and major transgressions to a presiding officer as well. Receive the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost; receive the temple endowment; be married for time and eternity.” [Beliefnet]
Belief about ethics
How does one decide right & wrong?
According to the Mormon scriptures and teachings.
Is it possible for humans to know truth?
What are legitimate sources of truth?
Truth is found in the scriptures and teachings of the Mormon church.
The writings that Mormons accept as Scripture include:
- The Bible (Old & New Testaments)
- The Book of Mormon
- Doctrine and Covenants
- The Pearl of Great Price
In addition, God reveals himself today through a current prophet and current apostles.
“Joseph Smith (1805–44) was the first prophet of our time. God has called prophets to lead His Church in our day, just as He did anciently…. The current prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Gordon B. Hinckley. He is assisted by two counselors—Thomas S. Monson and James E. Faust. Together, they make up the First Presidency of the Church (much like Peter, James, and John after Christ’s death). members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are apostles and prophets.
“Just as God led the Israelites out of slavery and to a better place through His prophet Moses, He leads His children today into happier, more peaceful lives when they choose to follow His living prophet.” [mormon.org]