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Do Mormons Believe in Jesus?
Angel Atop a Mormon Temple
What do Mormon's Believe?
The short answer is yes, Mormons absolutely believe in Jesus and in God.
In recent years, many people have become curious about the Mormon Church, or, as it is officially known, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or the "LDS" church. And yes, as the name of the church implies, Mormons believe Jesus is the Savior.
The basic beliefs of the Mormon church are no secret, and there's no mystery to them. If you attend a Mormon church, it will look and feel like other churches you may have visited. People dress in their "Sunday Best" clothes, there is an atmosphere of reverence, the congregation sings hymns, there are prayers, and you'll hear talks about the values of the church and various scriptures.
Here are some basics about the LDS Church:
- Mormons believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
- The terms Mormon and Latter Day Saints (or LDS) are both used, but the official name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
- Mormons believe Jesus died to atone for our sins.
- Mormons do take 'communion;' it is referred to as the 'sacrament.' Rather than wine or grape juice, water is used.
- LDS members (Mormons) celebrate the same holidays other Christian churches celebrate.
- Anyone is welcome to attend worship services at a Mormon chapel. Even non-members may partake of the sacrament if they choose to do so and if it is consistent with their beliefs.
- Mormons believe there is an afterlife, where those who live a worthy life on Earth will be reunited with Heavenly Father and with their families from the mortal life.
- Families are very important to Mormons, and worship services are attended by the entire family (rather than having children attend a separate service).
- Mormons believe families are together in the afterlife, and special ordinances are performed to 'seal' families with this blessing.
- All worthy men in the LDS church can be ordained and perform Priesthood ordinances.
- As in the Old Testament, the LDS church believes it is important to have a living prophet or leader to guide its members, and each prophet becomes the president of the church during the time he serves in that capacity. The current prophet of the LDS church is Thomas S. Monson. The role of the living prophet is to preside over the church as a whole and to receive inspired guidance for its members.
- The church believes in 'free agency,' which is the right and power of each person to make his or her own choices (spiritual and otherwise) in life. Because mortal life is seen as an opportunity to be tried and perfected, free agency is an important element in advancing spiritually.
Videos About Mormon Beliefs
Illustrated History of Mormon | LDS Church
Common Questions about the Mormon Church
Along with an enormous curiosity about the Mormon church, there are many myths, mistaken impressions and confusions about this church.
As with most churches, the Mormon church has made changes over the years. Some beliefs and practices in its early years are no longer followed (some are even prohibited).
Here are some questions you might have about current or former beliefs:
Is Jesus considered the Savior in the LDS Church? Yes. A core belief in the church is that Jesus sacrificed Himself to atone for the sins of all people. But, as with other Christian churches, each individual is responsible for his or her own actions and choices.
Do Mormons believe in polygamy? No. Although polygamy was practiced in the very early days of the church, it was prohibited in the late 1800s, and members may not be married to more than one person.
Do Mormons believe in the Bible? Yes. The Holy Bible (the King James Version) is one of the core scriptures of the church. The other scriptures commonly used are the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants of the church (which has guidance from church leaders) and the Pearl of Great Price (a smaller book of scriptures, named after a passage in the Bible).
Are Mormon women allowed to work outside of the home? Yes. Many LDS women are employed and have professional careers. The church encourages mothers to be at home while their children are small (this is consistent with the value the church places on the family) but this is not always possible in individual situations. Women (as well as men) are also encouraged to get an education, and the church has many programs to help members all across the world become educated.
Does the LDS Church have ministers or pastors? Not in the traditional sense. Each congregation is presided over by a 'bishop,' who is a steward to its members, and the bishop has two assistants, called 'counselors.' These are volunteer, unpaid positions, and usually last for about five years. The church as a whole is headed by a group of 12 men (called apostles, similar to New Testament teachings) and is presided over by the current prophet, whose title is "President" of the church.
Do Mormons worship their prophet? No. The prophet is the spiritual leader of the church, but he is also a mortal. Although the president of the church (the prophet) is greatly respected, he is not worshiped.
Are there sermons on Sunday? There are talks each Sunday, but they're not called 'sermons.' The talks are usually given by members of the congregation, who are given a general topic or theme and develop their own research and talks. Even teenage members are invited to speak before the congregation, and they also prepare their own talks.
Do Mormons allow dancing? Yes! In fact, dancing has been a tradition of the church since its earliest days, when members would gather to share music and hold dances for all ages.
Can you still be a Mormon if you're divorced? Yes. The church recognizes that, sadly, some marriages end in divorce. The church can connect members with counseling services if there are problems in a marriage. But as with anyone, sometimes those things don't reverse a situation. Members who are experiencing a divorce are treated with love, respect and support, and divorced persons who are interested in joining the church are not discriminated against.
Are all young men required to serve a mission? Serving a mission is greatly encouraged, but not required. Many (maybe most) young men serve missions, and quite a few young women also serve missions. As most people who have served a mission in the LDS Church will tell you, it is generally considered one of the most cherished experiences of their lives. Young people who serve missions generally pay for their mission expenses themselves, and they save toward that goal from the time they are very small.
Can girls serve missions? Absolutely. There are many young women serving missions in all parts of the world. Women serve around 18 months, and young men serve for about 24 months.
Do older people serve missions? Yes; adults who are in a position to volunteer their time can serve in a variety of humanitarian, service or educational and overseas missions. These missions can be part-time or fulltime callings and they can either be in the local area where the member lives or in another state or country. Adult missions can be six months to three years, depending on the individual's available time for volunteer work and the needs and requirements of the mission assignment.
Do all members pay tithes? Tithing is greatly encouraged, and it is one of the requirements for getting a "Temple Recommend," which allows members to perform ordinances in a Mormon Temple. The amount of a tithe (as specified in the Bible) is supposed to be 10 percent of your 'increase.' In today's world, that refers to salary or wages, but in ancient times, it might have been the amount of grain or cattle a person had acquired over a year.
Do Mormons pass an offering plate in church? No. Tithes and offerings are considered a private and personal thing. Special envelopes are provided for tithing and other offerings, such as the fund used to help those in need. Individuals may submit their offerings by mail or in person. At the end of each year, each member is invited to meet with their congregation's bishop for 'tithing settlement,' which allows the member to see if church records match their own financial records. The actual dollar amount of the tithing records is generally not discussed at these meetings, because it is considered a private matter between the member and Heavenly Father.
Are women allowed to speak or give prayers in the Mormon church? Yes! Most worship services will include several (around three) speakers, and usually, one or more of them are women. In addition, women often give the opening or closing prayer during worship services.
Do all men hold the "Priesthood" in the LDS Church? All worthy men are eligible to hold the Priesthood in the church. There was a time in earlier years when men of color were not ordained as members of the Priesthood, but that was changed in 1978.
Do women become "Priests" in the Mormon church? Worthy men hold the Priesthood in the church, but at this time women do not hold the priesthood. Women hold very responsible positions in the church (and their counsel is greatly valued by leaders), and every major church service or meeting will usually have one or more women among the speakers.
What about Heaven and the Afterlife? A key belief in the church is that worthy people will be with Heavenly Father and Jesus when they leave the mortal life. The church believes all souls were with Heavenly Father in the pre-mortal world, and if a person lives a moral and worthy life, he or she will return to that presence in the afterlife.
Mormon Temple in Logan, Utah
Did You Learn From This Article?
Did this article help answer questions you have about the LDS Church?
There are 138 LDS temples currently in operation across the world, and several others are under construction or planned for future construction.
Some people do not understand the difference between a Mormon temple, chapel or tabernacle. This brief information might help explain what each building is used for in the church.
- Temples: Many people believe there is only one Mormon Temple, the one in Salt Lake City. As mentioned above, there are actually 138 of these beautiful buildings. Some resemble the temple in Salt Lake City, but many are designed to reflect the region or country in which they are built.
- LDS Chapels: There are many hundreds of LDS chapels in the world, and they are used for weekly worship services and various activities for its members. On Sunday, one or more congregations use the chapels for worship services, Sunday School and other meetings (such as classes for primary children or youth). During the week, other activities can include Scout meetings, youth groups, dances, activity days for children, special dinners or luncheons, and smaller meetings of various leaders.
- Mormon Tabernacle: Most people have heard of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; there is indeed a large (and very old) tabernacle building in downtown Salt Lake City, next to the Salt Lake Temple. The building is used for various programs, but it is generally (during the current era) not used for regular worship services.
Operating temples (the ones that have been dedicated and provide services) may only be entered by members in good standing. Prior to that, though, non-members may tour the building. Guides (acting as docents) explain what each room is used for and answer questions for visitors on the tours. After the dedication ceremony, though, only members with a Temple Recommend can enter.
Video of Mormon Temples (With Music by Mormon Tabernacle Choir)
What Happens in Mormon Temples?
Temples are not so much 'secret' as they are sacred. Temples are quiet places, free from outside noises or influences, where members can feel closest to Jesus and Heavenly Father. All members dress in white clothing (women wear modest, floor length white dresses or skirts and blouses; men wear white suits or white pants and shirts). Several ordinances in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints may only be performed in one of its temples.
Types of services or ordinances performed in temples include:
Baptisms: Members of the LDS church can baptize ancestors (which is a practice mentioned in I Corinthians 15:29). The belief is that those who have passed away are still able to hear and accept the teachings. Church leaders emphasize that members should only perform or request this service for a direct member of their ancestry.
Initiatory and Endowment Ceremonies: These two ordinances are performed either for members themselves (during their first experience in the temple) or on behalf of someone who is deceased (during a member's subsequent visits to the temple). Initiatory ordinances are brief and offer a series of tender blessings. During the longer endowment ceremony, covenants (solemn promises) are made about the teachings and values of the church.
Weddings and Sealings: A core belief of the church (one that is even echoed in a hymn) is that families can be together forever. This understanding brings great comfort to members when they lose loved ones. To codify this belief, families can be 'sealed' to each other. Couples getting married can have the ceremony performed in the temple (if both are able to attend the temple) and in addition to being legally married, they are blessed by being "Sealed for time and all eternity."
If a family joins the church after children have already been born, the family can later be sealed together in the temple. Similarly, couples who adopt children can be sealed to them after the adoption is finalized. Children who are born to a couple that has already been sealed in a temple are considered to be 'born in the covenant,' and therefore do not have to have this done.
Sealing ceremonies are quiet, simple and very brief. A couple kneels and joins hands across a white alter while the ordinance is performed. Family and friends who are able to attend the temple may be present at the ceremony, and those who are not able to attend temple services may wait in a special visitors' room. Many people consider the sealing of a couple or a family to be the most tender, meaningful and important ordinance in the church.
Because the actual marriage ceremony is simple and the focus is on the sanctity of the ordinance, receptions and other celebrations are held afterward at other locations, such as in a church chapel, or at a facility such as a hotel or reception hall. This allows the couple to have the music and festivities of a standard reception without interrupting the reverence and peaceful atmosphere of the temple.
Mormons Teachings About Coffee and Alcohol
The Book of Mormon
More on Mormon Beliefs
Many have heard of the Mormon 'health code' and its teachings about drinking coffee, consuming alcohol and avoiding tobacco. The LDS Church teaches that we should not put harmful or addictive things into our bodies, and that it's important to live a clean life in every way.
Word of Wisdom: The practice of avoiding coffee and tea, living a smoke-free and alcohol-free life and other teachings are outlined in church doctrine and are part of what is called the Word of Wisdom. Church members also fast once a month and are taught to eat meat sparingly. Even non-members have observed that Mormons who practice these teachings have longer lives than average and enjoy good health well into their old age.
As the video here explains, one key reason for practicing the word of wisdom is to keep your body as free from things that can distort or inhibit your senses in order to better be receptive to internal promptings and spiritual guidance that can come to you individually.
Some people fear they will not be welcome to visit the church if they are smokers, or drink coffee or alcohol. This is not the case - church members welcome everyone with love and in a non-judgemental way, whether they are simply visiting or are interested in learning more about the church.
If a visitor (or even a long-time member) is struggling to follow any of the teachings, the church has support systems to help them overcome addictions or other challenges.
The LDS Church also believes its members should care for and serve those who cannot do for themselves. A large, well-organized welfare program provides temporal help (food and other assistance) and the church also offers a worldwide program to help members (or non-members) prepare for and then find appropriate employment. Hard work and self-reliance is one of its core beliefs; church members are taught they should "put their shoulder to the wheel" and be productive in life.
The church was founded by Joseph Smith in the early 1800s; as a 14-year-old child, he sought guidance about which church he should follow, and had a spiritual experience that eventually led him to form a church based on the teachings of the Bible as well as modern day revelation that would address issues and problems faced by current generations. Part of this process was the discovery and translation of the Book of Mormon.
There is no way a short article can cover all the information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The short video adjacent to this article discusses the Book of Mormon, which, in addition to the Holy Bible, is one of the scriptures of the LDS Church. As with the New Testament in the Bible, Jesus and His teachings is a constant theme in the Book of Mormon.
This article is intended to give some basic information about the church and to help answer questions. It is not intended to be a place for debate or criticism, and the author asks that persons who leave comments respect both the information given here and those who share these beliefs, and comment accordingly.
If readers have additional questions, the church offers information about its beliefs here and can put readers in contact with local resources to answer additional questions.