Since my religion is very important to me, I thought I’d include something about it here on my blog.
The Mormon Church is an unofficial name for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormonism refers to the doctrines taught by Joseph Smith and succeeding prophets and leaders of the Church.
Some people describe Mormonism in terms of a branch of Christianity that encompasses several different denominations; however, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assert that their organization, its theology, and subculture are the only true representative of Mormonism. Mormons believe that they are no part of a sect or splinter group, but that they are members of the actual Church of Jesus Christ, once again restored on the earth.
Mormonism teaches that such a restoration was necessary because soon after the ascension of Christ and the death of the Apostles, people corrupted many doctrines to such a degree that the Church was taken from the earth. Through Godâ€™s prophet Joseph Smith, the Church was restored in these, the latter days (or last days of the world). Hence, members of todayâ€™s Church usually prefer to be called Latter-day Saints. This name distinguishes them from their ancient counterparts and reiterates the reality of a loss and subsequent renewal of the original doctrines and practices.
Other names for members of the Church include LDS, Saints, or Mormons. The latter term was initially used in derision, pointing to the Churchâ€™s belief in the Book of Mormon, published in 1830. Akin to the Bible, the Book of Mormon is accepted as divine scripture which testifies of the divinity and sacred mission of Jesus Christ. Mormons proffer that if the Book of Mormon is trueâ€”which can be ascertained through sincere reading, contemplation, and prayerâ€”then Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true Church of Jesus Christ, once again restored on the earth.
Mormonism teaches that Jesus is the Christ and Savior of the world just as other Christian religions do. Based on the definition of "Christian" from the Dictionary.com a Christian is a person who "professes belief in Jesus Christ" and "manifests the qualities or spirit of Jesus". Thus a true Christian is one that believes in and acts like Christ. "Faithful members of the Church, called Saints or Latter-day Saints, qualify clearly in both characteristics. In our belief and our action, we demonstrate that ‘Jesus Christ himself [is] the chief corner stone’ of our faith."
Christ asked His followers to pattern their lives after His. Thus true followers of Christ must be â€œdoers of the word, and not hearers only.â€ Mormonism teaches its members to become like Christ through love and service. This is a big reason because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not have paid clergy but relies on the service of its members.
Mormonism focuses on families. Members of the Mormon Church believe that this basic unit of society is also the basic unit of eternity. It is within families that people learn how to love and be loved as well as other basic Christian values such as hard work, service, honesty, faith, and prayer. Within the walls of Mormon temples and through special priesthood sealing powers families can be bound together for time and all eternity.
Mormonism teaches that, "The purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to help all of the children of God understand their potential and achieve their highest destinyâ€¦ Our understanding of the nature and purpose of God the Eternal Father explains our destiny and our relationship in his eternal family. Our theology begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like themâ€¦ As earthly parents we participate in the gospel plan by providing mortal bodies for the spirit children of God. The fullness of eternal salvation is a family matter."
One of the biggest characteristics that sets Mormonism apart from other Christian religions is their belief in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon, as the cover states, is "another testament of Christ". The prophet Joseph Smith translated it from gold plates, which he received from the angel Moroni. The Book of Mormon contains a record of the inhabitants of the American continents and Christ’s visit to them after his resurrection.
At the end of the Book of Mormon is a challenge for all those that read the Book of Mormon. It states, "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
If the Book of Mormon is a true book then the other aspects of Mormonism that many find hard to believe must be true as well. Namely that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. That he truly did see God the Father and His son Jesus Christ in a vision. That he was instrumental in restoring Christ’s true church upon the earth today.