Will we live our lives according to the principles, practices and precepts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Mormons don’t drink, smoke, do drugs or indulge in promiscuity. At least, Mormons who live their religion. But just what is that religion? Much conjecture, supposition and outright falsehoods have been bandied around about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often referred to as the Mormons. Many claim we are not Christians, that simply isn’t true. Many claim we don’t worship the same Jesus Christ as the rest of the Christian world. That probably is true because we worship the Jesus Christ of the New Testament, fully believing He held on to that perfected and resurrected body He ascended into heaven with. (See Acts 1:9-11)
Our Articles of Faith say it the best, but let me summarize:
1. We believe in Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe they are three separate and distinct personages with one purpose, one heart and one mind as it pertains to the salvation of Heavenly Father’s children . . . you and me.
Joseph Smith said:
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join. (Joseph Smith History 1:17-18)
Joseph Smith later identified these personages as God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ.
3. We believe in baptism by immersion. (See Mark 1:9-11)
4. We believe in heaven, not just not a generic all encompassing heaven. Because there are varying levels of spirituality and goodness, there must needs be different levels of heaven: the Celestial, Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms. Of course, Satan, his minions and all his followers will still abide in hell, we just call it outer darkness. For the total absence of light and hope, which is Jesus Christ and His Gospel, is outer darkness.
5. We believe families are forever if parents are sealed under the proper priesthood authority. One of the greatest aspects of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is abounding hope which accompanies the knowledge that those you love will be with you forever. There is no “until death do us part” in this scenario. Parents and children can absolutely be together forever. As one who has suffered 8 miscarriages this is of great import and comfort to me.
6. We believe in living prophets and apostles. The connection between heaven and earth was restored in the spring of 1820 when God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr. Again, what hope springs forth when it is realized God has not abandoned us, nor has He ever. For even in the Dark Ages it was because man turned from Him, not the other way around.
7. We believe wholly and completely in the right of all men, women and children to worship according to the dictates of their consciences, within the dictates of the law in their own nations.
8. We believe ancient and modern scripture contains the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ, everything we need to learn and internalize to find our way back to our heavenly home.
9. We believe faith is the “substance of things hoped for, but not seen” (see Hebrews 11:1). In the Book of Mormon a fantastic lesson faith is taught in Alma, Chapter 32. We also believe, as the apostle, James taught, that “faith without works dead (see James 2:17).
We really aren’t so different from you. And in order to meet our full and divine potential we live by these teachings. We believe in loving our neighbors, worshiping our God, living good lives and remembering who we are. We believe Satan is doing his level best to make us forget and to turn us from that eternal light which awaits us.
My friends, there is so much hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With all truth restored there is no question which cannot be answered, no heart which cannot be comforted and no failing spirit which cannot be enriched. I invite you to dive in and immerse yourself in this Gospel for you will find a strength you have never known, a happiness which you have never felt and a connection with heaven unlike anything you have enjoyed previously. Dedicate yourself to God and trust that He has and will be your strength and your life.