Tue | Aug 22, 2017

The story of Mormonism Part II – Beliefs and doctrines

Published:Saturday | May 27, 2017 | 5:00 AMPaul H. Williams

Joseph Smith of New York, it is said, was confused about which Christian denomination he should become a part of, so he prayed to God to find the answer. In the spring of 1820, he said he got a vision, in which God instructed him not to join any of the existing denominations because they were all not worthy.

Thus, he founded a movement called Mormonism. This is the only true church Smith said, having convinced himself that he had restored, through divine authority, Christ's Church, which is led by living, breathing prophets and saints. They believe angels, such as Peter, James, John, John the Baptist, Moses and Elijah appeared to Smith and others, and gave them various priesthood authorities.

Yet, Smith and his followers faced widespread persecution, forcing them to move from one state to another. He was killed by a mob in Illinois in 1844, which led to a split from within the movement, as the Mormons themselves had grown to have different perspectives of the scriptures.

However, fundamentally, Mormons identify themselves as Christian, though many of their beliefs are different from other denominations. They believe that everybody is a child of God, but in order to return to God, we must follow Jesus' example and reconcile with God through sacred rites such as baptisms. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are their main sources of reference, as well as a collection of revelations and writings by Smith known as the Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.

The Universe, according to the Mormons, is a friendly space ruled by God, who will provide an immortal life for his people, who had a pre-mortal existence. We were spirits first, children of God. Then we evolved into physical beings on Earth. A plan of salvation was presented to us, which involved trials and tribulations to help us to learn and grow, after which we receive a "fullness of joy".

 

PLAN OF SALVATION

 

Central to this plan of salvation is Jesus, the eldest of God's children, who had come to Earth as the Son of God to rescue God's other children through the conquest of sin and death. They will be returned to God as every person will be resurrected, and nearly all of them will be domiciled not just in one kingdom, but various kingdoms of glory. Through faith, repentance, and sacred rites, such as baptism, we must fully accept Christ to be admitted into the highest kingdom.

Heavens exist, the Mormons say; Joseph Smith's first vision is proof. And God answers prayers. Though most of them do not have Smith's heavenly vision after consulting God, they frequently seek answers from God, who they believe talks to them through the Holy Ghost.

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