Now starts the second half of the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as we continue to learn about religions. While part I provided major beliefs, part II encompasses more condensed and equally important beliefs. Many of these beliefs I have expounded on come from the 13 Articles of Faith. This document was written by founder Joseph Smith to a newspaper that had asked about their beliefs.
Restoration Beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
When Jesus lived on earth, he established a church with prophets, apostles, and other leaders. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes that when Jesus and his apostles died, God took away that church until 1830. In 1830, Joseph Smith established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, organized the same way as Jesus organized His church. They have two beliefs that make this possible: Authority and Revelation.
Authority says that God calls certain people to lead His church. Those with His authority can act in His name and perform ordinances, religious rituals, necessary for salvation, like baptism. They believe that these ordinances done by the authority from God will be recognized by God and give salvation to those that received the ordinances from those in authority. That authority comes by revelation.
According to the online Merriam Webster Dictionary, revelation means “an act of revealing or communicating divine truth and something that is revealed by God to humans.” Like many Christian religions, they teach that God communicated with prophets before the coming of Christ through revelation and visions. According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, these revelations and visions did not end after Christ. They continue with a living prophet also considered the president of their church. This prophet receives revelation for the world as prophets in the Bible did.
Also, members believe they can receive personal revelation. They believe that God as their Heavenly Father will send them revelation related to their own personal lives. Through prayer and scriptures, members receive confirmation of the words of their prophet as well as guidance for their life. They do say that only the prophet receives revelation for the world. No one else can speak for their church.
Another central tenet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the family. From the belief that all people on earth are children to God to the family unit, members believe the family is central. Many of their teachings revolve around helping the family to succeed. They work hard on having successful families because they believe that families can be ‘sealed’ together in their temples. Sealed means that their family can live together in the highest degree of heaven.
This belief also relates to their push to do genealogy or family history. They believe that they can be baptized in proxy for dead family members and sealed to them. According to this belief, these spirits will then have the choice to accept this baptism and sealing and allow them to join the rest of the family in heaven. To accomplish this, the leaders of this church encourage its members to work on their genealogy.
Agency, Gifts, and Gathering
As mentioned before, whole books could be and have been written about the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I can not cover all of them, but I think a few more are worth a brief mention.
First, members believe in agency. They define agency as the ability to choose and allow all people to choose to believe how they wish. They have certain rules or commandments, but the choice to follow belongs to the person.
Next, members of this church believe in gifts from God. They believe that God gives gifts or talents to every person. The gifts could involve anything from musical talent to revelation. Leaders encourage members to work on developing their talents. They even suggest that members can learn other talents with practice.
Finally, members believe in what they call the gathering. The gathering refers to a commandment to teach the gospel to all people and gather them together as members of the twelve tribes of Israel. In the Bible, when Moses rescued the enslaved Jews, they were broken into twelve tribes, named after each son of Jacob renamed Israel. They believe that all members belong to one of these tribes of Israel and that they have been called to gather the rest of the tribes. For this purpose, they send out missionaries throughout the world.
Conclusion of Beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
A religion generally has four components, belief, scripture, ritual, ethics. We have discussed the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In part I, we discussed their beliefs of God and the Plan of Salvation. In this part, we discussed their beliefs in restoration, revelation, family, agency, gifts, and the gathering. These beliefs encompass much of what this religion believes. Next time we will discuss their scripture.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Newsroom “Latter-day Saints 101: What Church Members Believe“
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Newsroom “Core Beliefs“
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Come Unto Christ “What We Believe“
- PBS.org The Mormons Frequently Asked Questions “THE MORMON FAITH“
- History.com “Mormons“