To Other Christians Who Want to Understand the LDS Church
Clearing Some Things Up
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (formerly nicknamed Mormons). I want to help dispel ignorance and to clarify what I believe, especially to those who are truly sincere. While some may not accept me as Christian (because I believe differently), I accept you as one (if you profess to be a Christian) and I appreciate and respect if you boldly share your faith to help others to believe in Jesus Christ. People often have misconceptions about my religion/faith. I am concerned that many may be going by what they have heard from critics instead of finding out for themselves. If you are a critic, I would suggest focusing on what you believe in instead of what you are against or attacking others.
Many are biased and against what I believe. It is like liberals vs conservative media. The liberals always depict the conservatives badly and vice versa. “Anti-Mormons” some listen to are always critical of my church. Many of the teachings that some may call doctrine are just theories that someone gave in a sermon over a hundred years ago and do not pertain to my salvation. Critics/antis jump on these things that many call “deep doctrine” and twist it, blow it out of proportion and take it out of context.
Comparing to Mainstream/Popular Christianity
If you look at the gospels only, all Christians have very similar beliefs. In my opinion, Paul's teachings are where most disagree. If we look at the Bible alone, you find tens of thousands of churches that have stemmed from it. In my opinion, we have more similarities than people take the time to discover. We believe that Jesus Christ organized His Church, then there was a falling away or Apostasy after the Apostles were killed. So we believe the church was restored by the Lord through the first prophet of the restoration (Joseph Smith). One of the first things that was revealed from Joseph Smith’s first vision was that God and Jesus Christ were separate and had bodies. This goes against one of the core teachings from 325 AD form the Nicaean Creed that taught that Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Ghost were the same being. If you think about it, why would Jesus talk to Himself on the cross? They are the same in every way except physically. So, we believe the Church was restored, not reinvented. Why would anyone want to be part of a church that does not think that they have the truth?
Are We Christians?
Look at all the confusion due to so many denominations who cannot agree. I should point out that in any other context, appeal to authority would be a fallacy. But, with Christianity, the Bible is a valid appeal to authority.
We believe in a plan of Salvation. We are here to gain a body and to be tested. We lived as spirits before we came to earth. He have the freedom to make our own choices. After we die, we are judged and our degree of glory will depend on our choices, whether they were good or bad.
Who is anyone to say who is and who isn't Christian? "Mormons" believe in Christ and do their best to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ not in just word but in deed. We believe that we are sinners and that it is through Christ that we can be saved. Faith is a choice and is a foundation to Christianity. Many do not like that we believe in good works. What about James 2 (Faith without works is dead) and Revelation 20 (we are judged by our works)? Didn't Jesus Christ invite the Apostles to follow Him? When He did, they dropped their nets and followed Him.
Many of the things that people have a problem with our beliefs are often just theories that leaders have said many years ago. Many "anti-Mormons" twist what is said and take things out of context. Many of the things that critics focus on does not pertain to my salvation. The Gospel is so simple that it makes sense to the children I teach at church, while baffling many that would be considered scholars, and they theorize on many things. I would call a lot of these theories "Deep Doctrine". I am learning that these "Deep Doctrine" theories have become fodder for those who do not believe, and the critics mock us for many of the ideas that may seem strange to those on the outside. Paul said “Milk before meat” in 1 Corinthians 3, so things often do not make sense if you do not learn line upon line, precept upon precept. Many of the critical questions and concerns stem from esoteric beliefs, which may be something that someone said over a hundred years ago, for example. The quotes are often taken out of context and are not taught as doctrine. For our core beliefs, please see the Articles of Faith for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Mark Richardson