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What Do Mormons Believe?

 

The Nature of God 

God is our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ is His Son, and the Holy Ghost is a spirit sent by God to teach truth, inspire, and comfort.  Each of these is a distinct, individual being.  God is the father of all and our relationship with Him is like that of a Father/child.  God is not immaterial but has a body of flesh and bone.  Mormons believe we were created in the literal image of God.  Moses spoke to God face to face because God has a face.  It is Greek influence on early Christianity that supposed perfection to be immaterial and without parts of passions.  Mormons believe God is perfect and that He possesses a body which is perfect.  He is not some unknowable influence everywhere and nowhere, He is our father. 

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God.  God is His Father just as He is the Father of all people.  This is why Mormons believe Jesus is our brother, but God is the Father of Jesus physically as well as spiritually, and so called the Only Begotten of God.  Jesus was chosen to be the Lord and Savior of mankind before the world was created.  Mormons believe He is Jehovah of the Old Testament.  It was He who created all things.  He was born of Mary as the New Testament tells.  He lived a sinless life and therefore was worthy to atone for the sins of all.  Three days after His crucifixion and death Jesus was resurrected.  He now possesses a divine, immortal body like God the Father.  Because He has suffered all things, Jesus will be our Advocate to The Father on Judgment Day and extend mercy to those who have followed Him.  Mormons worship Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

Mormons believe that the Holy Ghost is a spirit personage separate from God and Jesus Christ.  Because the Holy Ghost has no body, it is through Him that the influence of God can be everywhere.  It is by the Holy Ghost that truth is confirmed and the love of God can be felt.  The Holy Ghost communicates to us spiritually.  It is described as a voice, a feeling, a thought, but however it is described, the Holy Ghost speaks to the spirit of one who is ready to receive it. 

The Potential of Mankind 

What do Mormons believe is the nature of mankind?   

Mormons believe all people were begotten of God as spirits before the world was created.  We are all the children of God, so He desires for us to become like Him and gain all that He has (Romans 8:17).  People are composed of a mortal body and an immortal spirit.  The spirit is a distinct consciousness that existed before this life.  This world was created for the purpose of gaining a body like God's and to progress to become more like Him.  Mortality is a probationary state for which we will be judged according to the deeds done in this life.  After this life we will be resurrected with a perfect, immortal body.  The Judgment will reward each person according to their earthly life--good for good, evil for evil.  Mormons believe those that have been faithful can continue progressing forever with the potential to eventually become like God.   

Salvation 

Mormons believe salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is saving us from death; physical death will come to everyone because of the Fall of Adam; the resurrection of Jesus Christ overcame this death and everyone who lived on earth will be resurrected with an immortal body.  There is also a spiritual death.  It is a separation from the glory and dwelling place of God.  Salvation from this death begins with a personal conviction that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior.  Sin makes it impossible for anyone to be worthy to reenter heaven but Jesus will grant salvation to those who follow Him.  Mormons are accused of believing that people are saved by works, but this is either misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented.  The works that a person does are evidence of obedience to Jesus.  Part of this obedience is performing ordinances and covenants.  Baptism is the first ordinance, which is received after faith and repentance.  There are also higher ordinances received in the Mormon temple.  Through these ordinances a person enters into covenants with Jesus Christ.  The reward is the mercy of Jesus Christ.  Mormons do not believe that salvation can be earned by works, it is granted by the mercy of Jesus Christ to those who follow Him.  He has commanded His disciples to repent and receive these ordinances, and promised to save those that do so. 

Life after Death 

Mormons believe that this life is only one part of an eternal existence.  Life will continue but it is not known by anyone exactly what that life will be like.  However the purpose of this life is to determine our station in the next.  Mormons believe there are degrees of glory rewarded after the Judgment, according to the faith and obedience of the person during their life (John 14:2; 1 Corinthians 15:40-41).  The glories of heaven differ like the glory of the sun differs from the moon, and the moon from the stars.  Everyone will receive some degree of glory, but only the faithful will receive the highest glory with the possibility to become like God.  Mormons also believe that all people who ever lived will have the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ and thus inherit the greatest kingdom of God.  After death all go to a spirit world where they associate with others who have lived on earth.  Here, believers of Christ preach the gospel to those who did not receive it in life, and those that accept it can be saved by having the ordinances of salvation performed for them by proxy on earth.  This is the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead, which is performed in Mormon temples.   

The Word of God 

Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God.  It was divinely inspired and written by prophets of God.  It contains the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But Mormons believe that the word of God comes from prophets.  The Bible is not the whole of the word of God, there were prophets in ancient times and Mormons believe there are prophets today.  The Bible as it presently exists is a construction of the councils of men and has undergone countless transcriptions and several translations.  As far as it contains the original message of the prophets it is the word of God, and Mormons believe that in the intervening 2,000 years the essential gospel message has remained in the Bible but several finer points of doctrine have been altered or omitted on occasion and resulted in the countless interpretations of Christianity there are now.  Mormons believe that the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible restored these changes and is a more correct version than any other.  Mormons also believe in divine scripture in addition to the Bible.  In the Mormon canon are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  There have been many more prophets than we have record of their words.  The inspired words of any and all prophets are believed to be the Word of God by Mormons.



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