Tenets of Mormonism

BY: SUN STAFF

Joseph Smith's First Vision


Feb 22, CANADA (SUN) — Philosophical tenets of Mormonism that define the difference between the jivatma and the Lord.

"Mormonism is a term used to describe religious, ideological, and cultural aspects of the various denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement. The term Mormonism is often used to describe the belief systems of those who believe in the Book of Mormon, a sacred text which Mormons believe was translated by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1829 from golden plates, described as the "sacred" writings of a group of the inhabitants of parts of America from approximately 600 BC to 420 AD. In 1830 Smith published the Book of Mormon and "restored" the Church of Christ, and the faithful were known amongst themselves as Latter Day Saints.

Outside the church, church members have come to be called Mormons because of their belief in the Book of Mormon as scripture, alongside the Bible. As the result of a revelation in 1838, the name to the Church was officially stated as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". [1] After the death of Joseph Smith, a succession crisis ensued and the church membership was divided among various sects. The largest group accepted Brigham Young as the new prophet-president of the church and followed him West to the Salt Lake Valley in the current state of Utah. However, there was a sizable faction that did not accept Brigham Young's claim to leadership and remained in the Midwest.

The Community of Christ is the largest church that emerged from the Latter Day Saints who did not follow Brigham Young and it also claims to be the original church founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. Nevertheless, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints remains by far the largest and most prominent group called 'Mormon'.

After The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned the practice of plural marriage, more sects emerged in support of the practice usually in the form of polygamy, or more specifically, polygamy. Mormonism is generally used to describe the main body of the Utah sect exclusively, mainly due to its prominence amongst Latter Day Saint denominations, but the practice of plural marriage is still heavily associated with Mormonism despite the church's efforts to distance itself and the term from polygamy. Other sects embrace or accept the term Mormonism, including the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, other Mormon fundamentalist organizations, Reform Mormonism, and cultural Mormons.

Most adherents of Mormonism may be called Latter Day Saints (or the hyphenated Latter-day Saints in reference to the largest denomination). Other generally acceptable terms include LDS, Saints, and Mormons. A minority of adherents object to the terms Mormon and Mormonism, since these are terms coined by outsiders to label members of the Church.

Establishment of the Church of Christ

Joseph Smith, Jr. was raised in northwestern New York, where he reported a number of heavenly visions and visitations by angels. In his First Vision, while he was an adolescent during the early 1820s, Smith stated he saw "God the Father" and "Jesus Christ" in the Sacred Grove. Smith also said he had received a set of Golden Plates from a sacred figure, undefined in his writings., and dictated a translation of those plates, which he published in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. Some time after the translation, according to church records, Moroni returned to collect the plates.

According to Smith and his close associate Oliver Cowdery, an angel also gave the both of them the authority to baptize and to build up a new church, meant to be a restoration of 1st century Christianity. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, originally called the Church of Christ, was formed in the month of April 1830 in Manchester or Fayette, New York, but soon after the conversion of a Church of Christ (Campbellite) minister named Sidney Rigdon in Kirtland, Ohio, a number of its members moved to Ohio in 1831}."

Thereafter, the Church experienced various succession trials, as camps within the Church developed independent understandings of Mormonism, and sought power within their own belief sub-communities.

Source: Wikipedia


Philosophical Fundamentals of Mormonism

Was the God of this world once a man who became God?

    According to Mormonism, God is an exalted man, who needed to do certain things in order to become God for this world.

    (Ibid.; James Talmage, Articles of Faith, 430; and Gospel Principles, 305 [1997 edition]).

Can human beings become Gods for other worlds, as God is God for this world?

    Worthy Mormons may become gods to create, rule over and receive worship from their own worlds some day. They will do this exclusively as the god or the team of gods for that world or that set of worlds (like the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are for this world or this set of worlds), and thus the God of this world will not perform those functions there.

    (Ibid; D&C 76:50-58 and 95, 132:15-23, 29, and 37; and Gospel Principles, 302 [1997 edition])

Does God in His nature have flesh and bones?

    God the Father and Jesus Christ have tangible bodies of flesh and bones, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. Personages of spirit are still material with a certain form or shape, but they are not as tangible as the bodies of those who are sent to a mortal planet.

    (Ibid.; D&C 130:22; 131:7-8; and "Spirit" in the LDS Bible Dictionary)

Are men and God the same nature or species?

The nature of these gods is identical to the nature of man, and as such these humans had to become gods; they haven't always been gods.

    (Smith, The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345 [pre-2002 edition]; Thomas C. Romney, The Life of Lorenzo Snow, 46; D&C 76:23-4; and Abraham 3:18-28)

Are there other Gods?

    There are many Gods for other worlds, and each God is equal to the God of this world in terms of His nature. In other words, there are many gods who create and rule over other worlds, and on those worlds, worship excludes the God of our world. So there is only one God for us, and this God is typically referred to as the Heavenly Father. Mormons may also speak of the term "God" in reference to "the Godhead", which is a team of separate Gods.

    (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 576-7; Smith, The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 346-7 [pre-2002 edition]; Abraham 4:1, Pearl of Great Price; Gospel Principles, 245 [1997 edition], and 302 ; "God", LDS Bible Dictionary; and Blake Ostler, "Review of The Mormon Concept of God: A Philosophical Analysis by Francis J. Beckwith and Stephen E. Parrish" [Provo, UT: FARMS, 1996], 99-146)

Does the Father have a Father?

    God the Father has a Father, whom He followed as Jesus had followed His Father in order to become a god.

    (Smith, The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 373 [pre-2002 edition])

God curses certain individuals with dark skin:

    The races are determined by how worthy individuals were prior to this mortal life. Blacks were not as faithful in their first estate. The Book of Mormon teaches that God cursed certain Israelite American Indians with dark skin, and this was meant to keep them from interbreeding with their white brethren. This scripture also teaches that God blessed some who repented with white skin.

    (Joseph F. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:61-7; McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 527-8; Alma 3:6-9; 2 Ne. 5:21-4; and 3 Ne. 2:14-6)

Baptism for the dead?

    Baptism for the dead is required. Baptism in place of the dead is an essential ordinance done in LDS temples on behalf of those who died not receiving the benefit of LDS baptism. Joseph Smith said, "The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead"

    (Gospel Principles, 255-262 [1997 edition] and The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 356 [pre-2002 edition]).



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