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What do Mormons Believe About Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Creator of the earth, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the redeemer and salvation of mankind. He is the way, the truth and the life, and no person goes to the Father but by Him.

Mormons believe that Jesus is the literal Son of God by a miracle wrought through the Holy Spirit. This is confirmed by: (1) Gospel Principles, an official publication of the LDS Church, pgs. 54-57; (2) Jesus the Christ, another book published by the LDS Church, pg. 80-81

Mormons believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary. This is confirmed by: (1) Gospel Principles, an official publication of the LDS Church, pgs. 54-57; (2) Jesus the Christ, another book published by the LDS Church, pgs. 91-92

Mormons believe that Jesus, as our Messiah and Savior, literally died upon the cross at Calvary, a sinless sacrifice to redeem mankind from their sins. This is confirmed by : (1) Gospel Principles, an official publication of the LDS Church, pgs. 61-71; (2) Jesus the Christ, published by the LDS Church, pgs. 654-662

Mormons believe that Jesus the Christ was literally resurrected, that after death He took up His body again. This is confirmed by : (1) Gospel Principles, an official publication of the LDS Church, pgs. 62, 68; (2) Jesus the Christ, published by the LDS Church, pgs. 678-689

Mormons believe that Jesus the Christ will come to the Earth again, in power and great glory, to cleanse the Earth and judge His people. This is confirmed by : (1) Gospel Principles, an official publication of the LDS Church, pgs. 265-269; (2) Jesus the Christ, published by the LDS Church, pgs. 780-792

If you want to know what Mormons really believe about Jesus the Christ, read a book officially published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two excellent books are the ones mentioned above, Gospel Principles and Jesus the Christ. If you’ve heard a pastor, minister, or other person state that Mormons don’t believe in Jesus’s literal Sonship, or don’t believe in the Virgin birth, or don’t believe in His literal death upon the cross, or don’t believe in His literal resurrection, or don’t believe He will come to the Earth again (...and I’ve heard a nationally popular radio preacher tell listeners to avoid Mormons because they “don’t”...) they are VERY mistaken....perhaps even plain lying to you.

Personal Note: Polls indicate that around 26% of mainstream Christian pastors and ministers do NOT believe that Jesus is really the Son of God. Yet, His Divine Sonship is a basic belief of the LDS Church.... Mainstream Christians don’t agree among themselves on every detail of Jesus, yet believe “Jesus Saves”. Mormons also believe “Jesus Saves”. Mainstream Christians say all you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ, and ask Him to “save” you, and you’re “saved”. Devout Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, strive daily to be Christ-like, PLUS pray daily for salvation, repentance and cleansing of their sins through the Atonement of Christ. [And who supposedly aren’t “Christians”...? As former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said, "I think that the worst thing that we can do, among the worst things we can do, as believers in Christ, is to spend our time condemning others, who profess faith in Christ. (from Access Atlanta News, 11/16/97)"] Feel free to e-mail me at myriad@geocities.com.)

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What books do Mormons get their beliefs from?

First, let’s make a distinction between the Mormon Church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS Church), and the Mormon people as a general population.

The official beliefs and doctrines of the LDS Church -- the doctrines that Mormons are expected to believe -- come from four (I stress, FOUR) books, and official ratified statements by the First Presidency. The four books, often called the Standard Works, are the Holy Bible (KJV), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. An example of an official ratified statement by the First Presidency would be the The Family.

The official beliefs of the LDS Church come only from those four books, or official ratified statements. They do not come from any other "extra literature" written by Mormon people. They do not come from the Dissertations of Brigham Young, not from Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine, nor any other such “extra literature”. Some people dig up scraps of information from “extra literature”, trying to twist personal views and speculation into official LDS doctrine--when it is not. Anyone who quotes such "extra literature", when talking about the beliefs of the LDS Church, is probably misleading you. Many people fail to see the line between: (1) Official LDS canon, which Mormons are expected to believe, and (2) extra, non-canonical writings by individual Mormons for personal speculation and reflection. Don’t be duped by missing the line. Joseph Smith himself said that a prophet did not speak as prophet all the time, but only when he was actually acting in that capacity (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Sec. 5, p. 278). To claim every word that flowed from Smith, Young, or any other LDS leader was divine revelation is absurd.

Mormon individuals, like any other people, read a variety of books about whatever interests them. Like any other people, they form their own opinions about various topics. Some Mormons write their thoughts and opinions in letters, journals and books. Sometimes, non-LDS people see what a Mormon wrote. Then they assume the whole LDS Church believes that. Such assumptions are often wrong.

For example, say I read a book that states God flies around space in a UFO. Then, I find the author is a Lutheran. Would it be wise of me to assume, then, that the whole Lutheran Church believes God flies around in a UFO? I don’t think so.... However, sometimes non-Mormons make similar assumptions about the LDS Church. (By the way, no offense is meant to the Lutheran Church. The Lutheran Church does not believe that. It’s just easy for me to use that as an example since my husband was Lutheran.)

If someone quotes literature about what Mormons believe, check the source. Are they taking it from the Standard Works (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price)? If not, use caution. They might be misleading you with rumor, opinion, half-truths or pure lies.

If they do quote the Standard Works, it could be more reliable. That depends upon who’s interpretation they are using. If they are using their own interpretation, they might be wrong. If they are using the official interpretation of the LDS Church, and can back it with official LDS publications, then it is a belief of the LDS Church.

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A Closer Look at the Standard Works

  • Holy Bible (KJV) -- A collection of sacred writings containing God’s revelations to man. These writings cover many centuries, from the time of Adam through the time of Christ’s Apostles. The only Bible officially used by the LDS Church during church services is the King James Version. (Although the Joseph Smith Inspired Version is gaining popularity as a personal study tool.)
  • Book of Mormon -- A sacred record of some of the peoples who lived on the American continent between about 2000 B.C. and A.D. 400.
  • Doctrine and Covenants -- A collection of modern revelations, to prepare the inhabitants of the earth for the coming of the Lord.
  • Pearl of Great Price -- Contains the Book of Moses, the Writings of Joseph Smith, the Articles of Faith, and other valuable writings.

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The Articles of Faith

1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11. We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

--Joseph Smith

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A Closer Look at the First Principles and Ordinances

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

Matthew 17:20 "And Jesus said unto them,...If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

James 2:17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

Mosiah 3:12"....For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ."

Alma 32:21 "And now as I said concerning faith--faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."

Repentance

Matthew 4:17 "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Acts 26:20 "But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

1 Nephi 10:18 "For he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him."

Helaman 14:30 "...and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them..."

Baptism

John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

Acts 2:38 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

2 Nephi 9:23 "And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God."

3 Nephi 11:33 "And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God."

A note on baptism in general: The LDS Church believes in baptism by immersion. They do not believe in infant baptism. (Infants and young children are innocent. Christ’s Atonement has guaranteed them both resurrection and salvation in the kingdom of God. Children do not need baptism until they reach the age of accountability, which is 8 years old.)

A note on baptism by immersion: (The LDS Church, to the best of my knowledge, does not use the following quotes on baptism. I am using them from personal readings to stress a point.) The English verb "to baptize" comes from the Greek baptizo, meaning dipping or immersion. It is important to understand the meaning of the word as it was used at or near the time of Christ. The word baptize, as used by Latin and Greek writers of that era, means immersion. For example: "If any were hard pressed by the enemy they withdrew safely back, on account of their fast sailing into the open sea; and then turning round and falling on those of their pursuers who were in advance, they gave them frequent blows and baptized many of their vessels. (Poybius, writing during the second century before Christ, describing a naval conflict between Carthaginain and Roman fleets, Book I, chapter 51.)". That is just one of many such examples. Also, the symbolism of the baptismal rite--the comparison of baptism to a birth (John 3:3-5), and to a burial followed by a resurrection (Romans 6:3-5)--points to immersion. Lastly, here is a quote from Mosheim, writing about the first century of the Primitive Church: "The sacrament of baptism was administered in this century, without the public assemblies, in places appointed, and prepared for that purpose, and was performed by immersion of the whole body on the baptismal font. (Eccles. Hist. Century 1, Part II, chap. 4:8)"]

The Holy Ghost

John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

Acts 8:14-20 "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."

Acts 19:5-6 "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."

2 Nephi 31:12 "And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do."

3 Nephi 27:20 "Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day."

The Articles of Faith - The First Principles and Ordinances

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