There has been a lot of discussion lately about what Mormons believe, and some people outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently called the “Mormon Church,” seem to think they can clearly present Mormon belief and get it right. Others are willing to form their opinions about Mormonism from these, often erroneous, reports. Mormon beliefs are those of the early Christian Church formed by Jesus Christ and His apostles. Most Christian churches today have beliefs that have strayed from the original doctrines and patterns of Christ’s primitive church. Assuming that they have true doctrine, and knowing little about Christ’s original teachings, they weigh the doctrines of “Mormonism” against their own view of the truth and label Mormons as “weird.”
The Gospel is Eternal
The gospel of Jesus Christ imbued with power and authority from God has always existed. As in God’s words to Jeremiah, that He knew Jeremiah and chose him before he was in the womb, we all existed for a long while before we were born on earth into mortality. In pre-mortality, we lived with God as His spirit-children and agreed to His plan of salvation. We knew that Adam would fall, that we would all sin during our mortal lives, and that we needed a Savior to redeem us. We all sustained and supported Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, as He was also the Creator of it. This idea of a pre-existence was fully extant in the early church, commonly understood and commonly taught. That this knowledge has been lost does not make it weird, and that it is referred to in many places in the Bible indicates that it is truth. (See Deut. 32:8; Jer. 1:5; Acts 17:26, 29; Rom. 8:28–30; Eph. 1:3–4; 1 Pet. 1:19–20 (Rev. 13:8); Job 38:4–7; Eccl. 12:7; Heb. 12:9; Jude 1:6; Rev. 12:4, 7–9; also MormonWiki.com.)
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Jesus Christ has a Father
Mormons believe in the Bible and the biblical account that Jesus did the will and work of His Father, prayed to His Father, pleaded with His Father on the Cross, and in Gethsemane. They are now and ever were two separate beings. A belief in the corrupt concept of a trinity does not qualify a person as a Christian, and yet that is the criterion to which Mormons are held. Mormons not only believe in Christ, they believe Christ when He says He came to do the will of the Father:
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not (John 10:36-37).
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him (Luke 11:13)?
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father (John 14:12).
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:13).
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother (Matthew 12:50).
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 14:23).
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever (John 14:16).
Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22:42).
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me (Mark 15:34)??
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).
Jesus Christ was Resurrected and is Still Resurrected
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have (Luke 24:39).
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven (Acts 1:11).
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (John 10:16).
And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them….And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying: Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11).
Every Person Will Have an Opportunity to Hear the Gospel
In an exquisite revelation received by Joseph F. Smith, God revealed how His work goes forth in the spirit world where we go to await resurrection after we die.
While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful; And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.
And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wickedand the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them; But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.
Baptism must be Available to All of God’s Children
Paul speaks of baptism for the dead as if it were common practice in his time:
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29)?
Indeed, baptism for the dead was commonly practiced and understood by the Saints led by the original apostles. Baptism for the dead only ceased in 397 A.D. in the orthodox church.
The Central Belief in Mormonism is that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer
Said Joseph Smith, the first prophet of this last dispensation of time before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
“What are the fundamental principles of your religion? …the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and the Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it …” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).
Jesus Christ bore witness of Himself in the many revelations given to prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Mormon prophets have seen Him on many occasions:
We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. —The Living Christ
And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father–That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.~Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24.