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The Mormons, A Few Key Points

Updated on May 9, 2007

Major Christian and American Denomination, The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints

The Mormon church was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr (1805-1844), as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints in 1830 in New York. The church presidency is located in Salt Lake City Utah today.

Its basic writings and scripture are The Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants; Pearl of Great Price, the Bible (King James Version);authoritative teachings of Mormon prophets and other Latter-day Saints general authorities.

They believe that God the Father was once a man, but progressed to godhood. He has a physical body, as does his wife. There is no Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate gods. Worthy men may one day become gods themselves.

They teach that Jesus is a separate god from the Father (Elohim). He was created as a spirit child by the Father and Mother in Heaven, and is the elder brother of men and spirit beings. His body was created through sexual union between Elohim and Mary. Jesus was married. His death on the cross does not provide full atonement for all sin, but does provide everyone with resurrection.

The holy spirit is different from the Holy Ghost. The holy spirit is not God, but is an influence of electricity-like emanation from God, and also called the "light of Christ".

Resurrection is by grace, but salvation (saved or exaulted to godgood) is by works, including faithfulness to church leaders, Mormon baptism, tithing, ordination, marrage, secret temple rituals, and Mormon membership.

Their after death beliefs involve nearly everyone going to one of three separate heavenly kingdoms with some achieving godhood. Apostates and murderers go to "outer darkness".

Other beliefs include no alcohol, tobacco, coffee, or tea. Baptism on behalf of the dead. Two year missionary commitment encouraged. Door-to-door proselytizing. Secret temple rituals available only to members in good standing. Extensive social network. People of African ancestry not granted full access to Mormon priesthood and privileges until 1978.

Other concepts of Mormonism that may require interpretation and further reading are as follows:

Mormons believe that God continues to reveal new things till return of Christ. Theistic Evolution: As man now is, God once was, and as God is now, man may become.

God is not a spirit but has a body of flesh and bones like a man. If you could see God you would see an individual.

Polygamy on earth (<1925) and marriage in heaven.

God had sex with Mary to conceive Jesus. Mary had actual sexual union with God.

Two main groups exist. The Utah Latter Day Saints (LDS) and the Missouri based Reformed Latter Day Saints (RLDS).

  • The main division is over who was the rightful successor of Joseph Smith when he died. His son, Joseph Smith III (Missouri), as Smith II prophesied, or Brigham Young (Utah)?
  • The "inspired" Doctrine & Covenants book is very different that the RLDS & LDS use.
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        XxAkashaxX 3 years ago

        Just to add.... Do good things and good things will come that's not faith or religion its reality be nice people treat people how u want to be treated its all just not being a horrible person you don't need a book no matter the religion to tell u that xx love to all xx

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        XxAkashaxX 3 years ago

        Well no offence and respect to all but big bang??? Did "he" create all planets x i understand and respect a belief of never being alone but i have lived by my own morals by questioning not by being brought up in a Roman Catholic like family with a R.E teachers for a Granny. To say have "faith" don't ask question i just find down right rude to be honest. Im stoppin before i rant more but if i said let me stab you don't ask questions have faith are you telling me you'd let me?!??

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        Double D GHYC 6 years ago

        I'm learning about mormons on my own and what I'm finding is really hard to believe that this is there belief...but I try not to judge cause we are all Gods children.

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        glow 8 years ago

        I have a few mormon friends and I have felt like God has put it on my heart to understand them. (Not nessarily believe them). I have done a great deal of research on what they believe. I too have found that mostly all the active mormons I know are very heartfelt, trustworthy careing people; I think that is part of their allure. Joseph Smith did have multiple wives, as did much of the early church. As explained by my friend and confirmed by research that they are taught to firstly follow the laws of the land, so when polymy was outlawed they had to follow suit, how ever there are sect that moved to mexico where it is still legal. Second about the black holdint the priesthood, this has a long history behind it. Back to before the earth was made. Moroms believe that Jesus and Satin are brothers and they each had a plan for salvation, of course Jesus' plan was accepted and the devils wasn't. This made the devil mad and he convinced one third of the heavnly spirit children to follow him, they were cast to earth bodyless and eternaly separate from God. One third followed Jesus plan and were called white and delightsome, and then the other third didn't choose a side and their skins were marked black to let everyone know they were indifferent. It wasn't until the 70s that the chruch declared that they had served their sentence and could finally hold preisthood. Also the part about them being good people is hard for me. They are but because they have to be to earn their complete salvation. They strive for perfection in this life... which of course is unattainable. Lastly, I don't consider them to be Christian at all. That's not said to bash them but the very foundation of Christianity is ONE God consisting of the trinity Father Son and Spirit. The death of Jesus was the only solution to the problem of sin. Salvation is by GRACE alone and not by works. a true Christian believes that they are saved because they believe that Jesus died for our sins. And there is no other athority then the Bible.... God may speak to us individualy but if it goes against what the bible teaches then its not God. These are the Christian views. I hope this helps. I am trying to be as articulate as I can from a hospital room, in the dark on my droid! Lol so forgive typos and such. Any questions you can email me at

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        dwaitkoss 8 years ago

        One of the problems that orthodox Christians have ith the LDS church is the god-man link that is believed--especially the idea of the birth of Jesus--Mary losing her virginity and not being the Virgin of prophecy. Also, and this is my personal problem is the idea of Kolob--which of course is the basis of Kobol for the Mormon influenced Battlestar Galactica--especially the original series.

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        micc 8 years ago

        im learning about Mormons in school - its quite intresting.

      • bobm288 profile image

        bobm288 8 years ago

        Well sbeakr does it bother you that many Americans adopt Islam or Hinduism or something like Eckenkar? I would differ with you anyway. Religion is not about questioning things, religion is about faith in things, and I think having faith in something beyond us is a very good thing. I can't say that I have unquestioning faith as I do not. But after a lot of this skepticism I have arrived at a place where I think there is every bit as good a chance that religion in general is real as the idea that there is no religion. I am not a Mormon, nor a Baptist, nor anything really, but I do tend to the belief that there is a Creator that started all this, and who considers us all as his Children that he has purpose for. What I tend to call insanity are those that say everything came into being by accident, or maybe always existed "by accident". And I don't use the word "ubiquitous" as generally it is "ubiquitously" extra and unneeded verbage. I would just say "pervasive" if I were going to use an adjective at all.

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        sbeakr 8 years ago

        I have yet to understand why Americans still care so much about Mormon doctrine in the first place...I think failing to question any religious order is ubiquitous insanity.

      • bobm288 profile image

        bobm288 9 years ago

        Chan, thank you for your sincere comments. I admire someone that is faithful to his religion and its teachings. It may very well be that Mormons do have the restored actual church of Jesus Christ. But to me to say that something is an "eternal principle" but not for right now is getting on the fence and and holding on to both directions, that is polygamy and not polygamy. How convenient is all I can say. Also the sidestepping the issue of blacks could not hold the priesthood, well a convenient later revelation said well folks now is the time to allow blacks to hold the priesthood. It was I think caving in to what had become the politically correct thing to do. But that is fine as it appears that the only things that survive are the flexible things, and not necessarily holding to fixed principles. I do not mean to be negative, as I don't know of any other creed or religious teaching that fits together perfectly either. The Christian denominations I think do better then the others, or the Judao/Christian denominations. And I consider that Mormonism is Christian, although there are those that disagree with that. I think it is basically the values and teachings of Jesus Christ. Anyway Chan thank you for your comments, and I hope you get some good ones that will stimulate thinking and discussion.

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        chan 9 years ago

        Hi Bob, I think that Tylan's comments, having good intentions, shows just how little even mormons themselves understand why polygamy began. I am LDS and am not an expert on the subject either. What I understand is that polygamy is an "eternal principle" that, like so many other things, will reveal its eternal significance in the next life. You are close to accurate in your understanding of Joseph Smith's number of marriages and situation. In Karl Bushman's biography of Joseph, "Rough Stone Rolling", he describes Joseph refusing to take a second wife after being commanded to do so and then being revoked by an angel. He took his second, and all subsequent wives, as a commandment. This is about the time you could refer to jim bob's comment..., but from that point mormon priesthood holders were under strict supervision and authority from church leaders in their polygamist arrangements. Some of those arrangements were likely formed out of convenience like Tylan described, but more importantly, I'd like to think, these men only took multiple wives when they were granted permission or commanded by their church leaders under inspiration from God. You should google the church's articles of faith to read the foundation of mormon beliefs, though written more than a century ago, and learn that mormons do believe in being subject to the laws of the land. In order for Brigham's Deseret to become a state, polygamy had to be outlawed, which it was officially but existing marriages continued for a few decades after. The church has spread to many nations and maintains the same standard of no polygamy within the church. Polygamy remains an eternal principle and is not widely discussed within the church. Fundamental groups believe they have the authority to reinstitute polygamy, as would our prophet if he believed God wanted it reinstituted, but right now it is a clearly distinguishing characteristic between the mainstream church and it's break-off groups.

        In this same spirit may I comment on a couple things from your description of mormonism above. I can tell that you are a sincere person, striving only to educate your readers and stay objective in your description of the church, but a member of the mormon church would likely take offense to the way you have described our beliefs. It is impossible to glean from the above paragraphs that these trivialized beliefs are our most deeply sacred beliefs spoken of in only the most thoughtful of circumstances, including, for example, the holy temple. This also seems to be about one-tenth of what mormons believe. Only the peculiar descriptions of mormons are listed here. The common Christian traits of faith, repentence, baptism, charity, etc. are missing. That is what you need to know about your mormon neighbor, not that he thinks god is an alien-like creature that used to be human and the like. You need to know that your mormon friends believe they have an everlasting marriage and have been sealed to their children for the eternities and that is what motivates them to do good. I'm more of a Pascal's Wager guy myself. Who knows which if any religion is the "correct" religion, but if living this religion helps me develop a relationship with my friends and family and live a morally centered life than it doesn't hurt. Thanks for your site, Bob. Understanding eachother is my hope as well. Take care.

      • bobm288 profile image

        bobm288 9 years ago

        Despite their strange beliefs I find them as individuals to be mostly very sincere and responsible hard working people. I have a lot of respect for them, and after all depending on your point of view just about any church or religion has some very strange things. Look at muslims for example, and even the Catholic church. Look at their tending to look the other way about pediphiles until they got caught.

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        jim bob 9 years ago

        mormons are a bunch of crazies.

      • bobm288 profile image

        bobm288 9 years ago

        Tylan, thanks for your comments and defense of Mormonism. It is hard personally for for me to accept that people will bend their faith to suit the &quot;law of the land&quot;. And didn't Joseph Smith have multiple wives? And didn't he have a &quot;revelation&quot; that a certain 14 year old girl was meant to be his wife. And didn't a &quot;convenient&quot; revelation come through to a later &quot;prophet&quot; saying blacks could after all hold the priesthood in the Mormon church. That is just a little convenient for me personally. But thank you for offering to answer any questions and providing your email address.

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        Tylan 9 years ago

        Hello :) I am a Mormon, and the reason plygamy was once accepted was in our church was that after Governor Boggs of Missouri issued an Extermination Order (making it LEGAL to MURDER a follower of the Mormon faith), the Saints left their large concentration in Missouri to set up a new sort of &quot;colony&quot; in Nauvoo, Illinois. After Joseph Smith was murdered, and mobs continued to persecute the Mormons, they traveled across the plains to establish civilization in the Salt Lake Valley. Having seen so much persecution, murder, etc... there were hundreds and thousands of widows, orphans and such. Doctrine stated that every woman and child should be cared for and that it was a man's duty to support the family. Although it had been strictly against church policy to have more than one wife (Doctrine and Covenants 49:16 says is lawful that he should have one wife...), God revealed that men must take upon themselves more wives. Several years later, the United States ruled against polygamy, and as a result its practice was entirely abolished. Because we believe in following the laws of the land where we reside, it once again became an &quot;excommunicable offense.&quot; Outraged by this, many members left the church to form other branches, including the FLDS church. If you have any more questions about doctrine or anything of the sort, email me at

      • bobm288 profile image

        bobm288 9 years ago

        Thanks Chef Jeff for those very thoughtful comments. Perhaps a Mormon can help us both understand more about the polygamy groups, and whether this kind of thing should be resisted by authorities and laws. My basic thought is they should go by the laws of the land and the state where they are. But if these people are happy and the children are well adjusted maybe some thought should be given to allowing it. But some of what I have read and seen on TV would seem to be harmful. And some of the sheer acquiescence of some of the women to the male rules seem to have them with no individuality whatsoever. This seems not good for these people. But I am sure they would say well I just don't understand.

      • Chef Jeff profile image

        Chef Jeff 10 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

        I am not a Mormon (LDS) and I have only a few friends who are. I believe that people have the right to determine what religious ideas and doctrines they wish to follow, and I am glad you wrote this informative hub about what LDS members believe.

        I guess I would also wonder where the Fundamental LDS (FLDS) people fit in the scheme of things. I know they have rejected reforms against polygamy and other ideas, following the religion of LDS as it may have been practiced many years ago.

        Since the FLDS has been in the news so much lately, I am also curious what other people think about them? Should the government leave them alone, or should there be intervention for the sake of the children?


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