Teachings Of Joseph Smith
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints has a number of teachings that sets it apart from other Christian
religions. Joseph Smith was instrumental in establishing the unique
Nature of God
Smith saw God the Father
and Jesus Christ in a vision. Because of the vision the Mormon Church
teaches that God and Christ have bodies like a man and that God and
Christ are two distinct beings.
Joseph Smith taught that man is made
in the image of God and that He is the Heavenly Father of all mankind.
God is concerned about His children and hears and answers their prayers.
God wants mankind to progress and become like Him. His son, Jesus Christ
is our example of what God is like and of His love for man.
Joseph Smith wrote, "And now, after
the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony,
last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even
on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that
he is the Only Begotten of the Father."1 Joseph Smith
also testified that Christ was the Savior of the world and it was only
through Him that mankind could be saved.
Members of the Mormon Church are taught to pray in the name of Christ and
follow His example.
Plan of Salvation
Joseph Smith taught that
all mankind existed as spirits and lived with God in heaven before they
were born. The purpose of life is to be tested, to become like Christ,
and eventually return to live with God.
Concerning the resurrection Joseph Smith
said, "I will merely say that all men will come from the grave
as they lie down; whether old or young, there will not be added unto
their stature one cubit, neither taken from it." He also taught
that children who die are sinless "having been redeemed by the
blood of the Lamb." 2
While Joseph Smith was studying the Bible
he said, "It appeared self-evident from what truths were left,
that if God rewarded every one according to the deeds done in the body,
the term â€˜Heaven,â€™ as intended for the Saintsâ€™ eternal home, must
include more kingdoms than one." 3 When he asked
God about it He revealed to Joseph Smith that there are three degrees
of glory, which a person can receive, comparative to the sun, moon,
and stars, the highest being the celestial.
It is the goal of every Mormon to reach
the celestial kingdom and dwell with God, this is achieved through repentance,
keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end.
Families are central to God's plan. Joseph
Smith taught that family relationships can extend beyond the grave. Families who live
worthily and are sealed in a Mormon temple can be together forever.
Because of the teachings of Joseph Smith
the Mormon Church places a great emphasis of family history work. Believing
that it is every member's responsibility to seek out and do the temple
work for their ancestors.
The Book of Mormon
Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from ancient gold plates. It is a record of
the inhabitants of the Americas. It is also another testament of Jesus
Christ. The purpose of the Book of Mormon is "to the convincing
of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations."
Joseph Smith taught "that the Book
of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone
of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its
precepts, than by any other book." 5
The Word of Wisdom
In 1833, the Lord revealed a code of
health to Joseph Smith. Members were asked to not partake of tobacco,
coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages. In return the Lord promised members
shall receive "health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden
treasures; and shall run and not be weary and shall walk and not faint."
At first the Word of Wisdom was not mandatory but was later adopted as a
commandment and is now a requirement to enter the temple.
God's chosen people have always built
temples. Joseph Smith taught the importance of temples and the Saints
built two temples under his direction, all of which were abandoned or
destroyed. The Mormon Church continues to build temples in countries
all over the world.
temples the necessary ordinances
necessary to enter the Celestial Kingdom are performed for the both
the living and as proxy for the dead.
(1) Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-23
(2) Cook, Lyndon. The Words of Joseph
Smith. Grandin Book Co. 1991. pp. 106-109
(3) Doctrine and Covenants 76:chapter
(4) Book of Mormon, title page
(5) Book of Mormon, introduction
(6) D&C 889:18-20