Mormonism

17.05.2018 Author: psiholog pavel horoshutin

Mormonism is the common name for an American religious culture.

Was formed in the 19th century in the United States due to the increasing popularity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church or Mormon Church), which was created by the American religious leader Joseph Smith.

Nowadays the concepts of Mormonism and the LDS Church cannot be called identical, since, after the death of the first spiritual leader, religious groups began to separate from the Mormons. Each group considered their teaching to be true. The Community of Christ (formed from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the most well-known of them.

Mormonism

Even though many followers of the doctrine deny the name “Mormonism”, it has not lost its meaning in all cases when it comes to “Latter-day Saints”.

The essence of mormonism

The Mormon teaching in the United States insists that after all the apostles of Jesus Christ passed into another world, the true Church ceased to exist. But in 1820, Joseph Smith was chosen by God to restore the purity of the doctrine and the original organization of the church. From that moment, the history of the development of Mormonism began.

After the death of Joseph Smith, who was considered a prophet, seer, and revelator, his place was taken by sixteen presidents of the LDS Church. The main postulates of the doctrine are contained in the thirteen “Articles of Faith”.

Scripture

Only the texts that are recognized as the Holy Scripture by the followers of the Mormon Church are called “Exemplary Works”. The Bible is considered true only if it is correctly translated. Mormons believe that the meaning of old biblical texts was deliberately distorted by translators, so they are guided only by the English translation of King James of 1611, supplemented by references to the interpretation of Joseph Smith.

The Book of Mormon (the sacred text of the LDS movement) is called “the most correct on Earth” by the proponents of the doctrine. It is believed that only with its help can a person get as close as possible to God, and no other sacred treatise is capable of this. Therefore, belief in the authenticity of the meaning of the Book of Mormon is a prerequisite for salvation.

The essence of God’s word is also conveyed by the sacred book of the Pearl of Great Price, the Doctrine and Covenants—a collection of revelations received by Joseph Smith and other Mormon spiritual leaders.  Any prophecies and official statements from the prophet-president of the church are also considered part of the doctrine and they are sometimes included in sacred texts.

Divine essence

The Mormon religion equates God with Heavenly Father in the sense that He is the Father of the spirits of all people. As the Father, God knows every person on Earth and gives love to all. He wants everyone to be happy and return to His care after death. Followers of the LDS Church believe that God has prepared a plan for the salvation of His children. With its help, people will be able to find a peaceful happy life in this world and in eternity after its completion.

One of the LDS apostles, Bruce R. McConkie, considered the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to be one of the greatest heresies of Christianity. Mormons portray God, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost as three different divine beings who have different natures and are similar only in their intent. Mormons deny their affiliation with polytheism (tritheism), since they believe in the three hypostases of God, and serve the one Father-Elohim.

Mormons consider Jesus to be the first of Elohim’s spiritual children in heaven, so they treat him like an older brother. Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the flesh and the Redeemer of all men. Through him, according to the supporters of the LDS Church, the Father created a path through which people can merge with God and return to eternal life next to Him.

Mormons also believe that Jesus Christ

  • is God, Lord and Jehovah of the Old Testament
  • came to America and told his disciples the same doctrine as with the Jewish apostles
  • created Earth under the direction of the Father
  • with his words and examples taught people how they should live with love for God and neighbors
  • saved people from sins by making the Atonement by way of his death on the cross and suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, so that all would follow him
  • overcame death through the Resurrection that will be beneficial to all through his act

Jesus Christ is the last judge at the end of life on Earth.

According to Mormon teachings, God the Father and Jesus Christ are endowed with physical tangible bodies.

Life in heaven and the fall of man

According to Mormon tradition, Elohim is the deity who creates human souls. People failed to become perfect next to Heavenly Parents, therefore, God decided to create a land where every person must be tested and, freely choosing his or her way of life, gain divinity and perfection.

For this reason, the fall of Adam was not a crime, but a blessing for people showing the way to “eternal progress.”

It is believed that before the creation of the world, Elohim gathered a “council of gods”, where Jesus and Lucifer offered their options for saving people. The gods chose the option proposed by Jesus, in response to which Lucifer raised a rebellion, in which one-third of the spirits became participants. The rest sided with Jesus and won, and their souls found human bodies being born on Earth. Lucifer’s companions were forced to remain in heaven forever.

Salvation and life after death

By salvation, Mormons understand something special and different from the concept of the boundary between eternal destruction and eternal life. After the resurrection on the judgment day, each person will get his or her just deserts in one of the kingdoms:

  • The Glory of the Sun (Celestial Kingdom), where people take the form of gods and are endowed with divine powers and capabilities
  • The Glory of the Moon (Terrestrial Kingdom). Only the Holy Spirit and sometimes Jesus Christ stay here
  • The Glory of the Stars (Telestial Kingdom), where the Holy Spirit rarely comes

Grace is necessary for every person but is not sufficient to enter the highest kingdom. True salvation (exaltation) means being in the Celestial Kingdom in the form of one of the gods. A person is independently responsible for his or her sins committed and must repent. And it depends only on the person, which Kingdom he/she will enter. To attain eternal life, one must believe, repent, and follow God’s instructions.

Baptism is a ritual necessary for personal salvation, which is performed through immersion in water by a priesthood holder. Children who die before the age of eight or who have reached this age but are mentally retarded are considered saved without being baptized. Also, for salvation, it is necessary to undergo rites of confirmation, endowment and sealing.

Mormons believe that the soul goes through four stages:

  • premortal existence, being the spiritual children of the Heavenly Father
  • life on Earth to pass trials and gain experience without God’s participation
  • staying in the spiritual world after death, until the moment of resurrection
  • entering one of the Kingdoms of Glory after the resurrection and the Last Judgment

People who consciously reject God are considered to have challenged him, so they become Sons of perdition. They do not go to any of the Kingdoms of Glory but fall into the Outer Darkness. They are punished for choosing to serve Satan.

Mormonism, other religions and science

The main principle of relations with other religious denominations is contained in the Articles of Faith and states where Mormons defend their right to worship God according to their teachings and provide this opportunity to other people. Supporters of the LDS Church do not impose their faith, leaving the right of free choice for everyone.

But they stand firm in their view that Joseph Smith Jr. is the messenger of God and God has instructed him to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church that existed under the apostles of the New Testament. Only this Church has the right to administer the sacred sacraments necessary for salvation.

Mormonism

Other Christian churches separated from the Church of Christ under the Great Apostasy, but partially retained their truth. Other, even non-Christian, churches have the right to teach people the truth.

Mormons advocate the development of new technologies. They claim that faith and science are compatible, especially the provisions of cosmology and evolutionary biology. It is believed that Mormonism is compatible with rationalism, transhumanism and some other philosophical movements.

Mormons are a group of people united by religious and cultural characteristics. Followers have the skills of business communication with representatives of other faiths, good education, self-sufficiency and are always ready to help each other.