Dear GDW Family,
There seems to be some confusion in the media today about some of the beliefs held by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – commonly referred to as Mormons.
Some will accuse me of sending out this information for political reasons, but that is far from the truth. I actually do not believe that whether someone is a Baptist or Mormon or Catholic or Jew should be the deciding factor in a political office. A Mormon may make a very good political leader. I certainly have some good friends who are Mormon. However, I am very concerned when information is presented which leads us to believe that all faiths are essentially the same, that Mormonism is just another form of Christianity. It is not. I send this out simply to clarify beliefs.
God’s plan of salvation is the single most important Christian belief. The following is information taken directly from an official Mormon web site:
I do not agree with these beliefs, but I will not add any comments as this would just confuse what is being stated. I will add that, as with any denominational affiliation, not all members of a denomination understand the official beliefs of the denomination. Many people are members of a denomination because of family convictions or social ties. Therefore I am never surprised when a member of a denomination denies they believe the official beliefs of the denomination.
With that said, here are some official Mormon beliefs.
God’s Plan for Your Life:
Before you began your life on Earth, you lived with your Heavenly Father as one of His spirit children. This period is called pre-earth life or pre-mortal life. Although it was a joyful existence, God knew that you could not progress continually if you remained in the pre-mortal world, so Heavenly Father sent you to Earth, much as a parent sends a child to school.
He 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, fulfilling the purpose of the plan of salvation: to help you become more like your Heavenly Father.
The fact that you are living on Earth means that you accepted Heavenly Father’s plan and came here wanting to do all you could to receive all He has to offer.
Knowing that we would commit sin in mortality, your loving Heavenly Father provided a Savior, Jesus Christ, who by His sacrifice would make it possible for all people who would comply with His gospel teachings to be forgiven through repentance and return to live with Him. Having a divine nature as a child of God, you can with the assistance and power of Christ, progress to become one day even as He is.
Throughout your pre-earth life, you were taught the principles and commandments that would lead to happiness, with freedom to choose to grow in intelligence and love of the truth, or not. During this pre-earth life, Jesus Christ, then known as Jehovah was chosen as the Savior and you learned that, through Him, you would be able to overcome the effects of any wrong choices.
Under the direction of the Father, Jesus Christ created the earth as a place for you to live and gain experience. To progress and become like God, you had to obtain a body and be tested during a time of probation on the earth. While on the earth, you are out of God’s physical presence and do not remember your pre-earth life.
Adam and Eve were the first of God’s children to come to Earth. They were created in God’s image, with bodies of flesh and bones. God placed them in the Garden of Eden.
As Heavenly Father has blessed all of His children with the freedom to choose, Adam and Eve were given agency to make their own choices on the earth. He commanded them not to eat the forbidden fruit, or the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Obeying this commandment meant they could remain in the garden, but they could not progress by experiencing opposition in mortality. They could not know joy because they could not experience sorrow and pain. Thus, as a part of the plan Satan was allowed to tempt Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and they chose to do so. As a consequence, they were separated from God’s presence physically and spiritually—an event referred to as the Fall.
Adam and Eve then became mortal—subject to sin and death—and were unable to return to Heavenly Father without His help. They could now experience disease and all types of suffering. They had moral agency, or the ability to choose between good and evil, which made it possible for them to learn and progress. It also made it possible for them to make wrong choices and to sin. In addition, they could now have children, so the rest of God’s spirit children could come to Earth, obtain physical bodies, and be proven. All this was in accordance with the plan of God. Only in this way could God’s children progress and become like Him.
Because Heavenly Father loves us, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to voluntarily suffer and pay for your sins, pains, sicknesses, and sorrows. Through His grace and the mercy of this Atonement—the most important event in the history of the world—He can help you in your trials and relieve you of the guilt and shame that result from your sins.
To make His Atonement fully effective in your life, you must:
1) Exercise faith in Him.
3) Be baptized.
4) Receive the Holy Ghost.
5) Choose to follow His teachings for the rest of your life.
We must be baptized to become members of the restored Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—and to eventually enter the kingdom of heaven. This ordinance is a law of God and must be performed by His authority. A bishop or mission president must give a priesthood holder permission to perform a baptism or conferral of the Holy Ghost.
Jesus taught that baptism by water must be followed by baptism of the Spirit or it is incomplete. Only when you receive baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost can you receive a remission of your sins and become completely spiritually reborn. You then begin a new spiritual life as a disciple of Christ. The gift of the Holy Ghost is given by someone who has priesthood authority from God. It is conferred after baptism in an ordinance called confirmation—where one or more authorized priesthood holders lay their hands on your head, confirm you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and bless you to receive the Holy Ghost.
Death will not change your personality or your desire for good or evil. If you choose to follow Jesus Christ during your life on Earth, you will be at peace in the spirit world. Those who choose not to follow Christ and do not repent will be unhappy.
Sometime after your death, your spirit and your body will be reunited—never to be separated again. This reuniting is called resurrection, and it was made possible by the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. You will remain in the spirit world until you are resurrected. Because everyone’s works and righteous desires vary, heaven includes different kingdoms, or degrees of glory.
Celestial kingdom—Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ reside in the celestial kingdom. If you live according to the gospel of Jesus Christ and are cleansed from sin by the Atonement, you will receive a place in this, the highest kingdom, where you will live in God’s presence and know complete joy.
Terrestrial kingdom—People who refuse to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ but who live honorable lives will receive a place in the terrestrial kingdom.
Telestial kingdom—Those who continue in their sins and do not repent until after they have died, will eventually receive a place in the telestial kingdom.
I hope this helps you to understand some of the differences between Mormonism and traditional Christianity.
God’s Daily Word Ministries