Mormons aren’t quite as mysterious as people seem to think. Really we are just a bunch of Christians who want to live life striving to be our best. We don’t think everyone else is evil. We use technology like everyone else. (We’re not Amish) We live alongside everyone else. We don’t hide away and perform cultish rituals. We do not worship men, such as Joseph Smith. We simply honor the prophets, old and new, and worship God, the Heavenly Father. As some old friends once stated in relief when they first got to know my family, “Well! Your just normal people!”
There are many frankly humorous stories out there that are just flat wrong. To be fair, there are some who find our view of the god-head to be odd, but that is simply because we do not believe the early historical creeds put forth by the Early Christian Church, most famously the Nicene Creed. We believe them to be separate embodied beings that are divine. One god to worship – Heavenly Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost (a disembodied being that helps guide us in our mortal life). This is different, but it does not de-Christianize us.
We still read and study the bible (King James Version), we also believe that god has continued to reveal his word to us. Moreover, we believe that god recognizes the weaknesses of men, of translation, and of record keeping through the ages. So we believe that there is more scripture than just the bible, but with the purpose verifying the bible as true and helping us to interpret the bible more effectively to avoid the many confusions that exist in the world today.
One of the odd challenges that comes is that we do use a different religious vocabulary than most Christians, but that is just coincidence. Everything that we believe in, every ritual, every sacrament, is laid out in the four books we claim as scripture. Nothing is hidden, there are no secret acts in the temples or churches. I have studied for years in Mormon church institutes and even served as a minister for two years.
We love the good people who strive to make this world a better place. We recognize that God loves all his children and that many serve him who are not in this church. We look up to and respect those that exemplify the life of Jesus Christ, whether in his name or otherwise. For many, the actual name of the Mormon church clarifies a lot, ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’. (‘Saints’ meaning followers of Christ) ‘Mormon’ just refers to one book of scripture compiled by a man, an ancient prophet named Mormon. It’s just much easier to say.
So hopefully now you know that Mormons are not quite so odd, if fact, you probably know a Mormon already and just didn’t know it. Mormons are spread across the globe in every country among everyone else. We are just normal people living normal lives trying to become the best we can be, then leaving the rest to God’s grace.
Our basic and simplified beliefs are written in these 13 articles of faith:
1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.