As I said last time, today I'd like to talk a little about my religion. I'm a Mormon, officially known as a member of the LDS church. Mormonism is the slang nickname for our religion, originally used as an insult but gradually adapted as a general recognition. The actual name of our church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, shortened to the LDS church.
I decided to talk about it today because April 6th is considered the official date of our church's organization, not to mention that today is one of our General Conference dates. That's like a big church-wide meeting that's broadcasted across the globe, where our leaders talk to us. So I figured I'd explain some of the basic concepts of our church. If you want more info, you can check out our church's website. Or hey, you could even watch General Conference yourself!
So to explain our church, I'm just going to list and explain our Thirteen Articles of Faith, which were written as an explanation of our church way back at the beginning. That should cover pretty much all the basics, for those of you wanting an intro.
1) We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. This covers a couple of things. First off, our belief in God, and in Christ. We are Christians despite the common misconception against this. Then it looks over our view of the trifecta of God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Our church is different in the sense that we believe all three are different beings, which is shown by the emphasized language in this statement. God is the father of our spirits, and has a perfected body. Christ is our spiritual "older brother", and he now has also been resurrected into a perfect body. The Holy Ghost is an angel of sorts, without a body, who ministers to the people on Earth.
2) We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. This covers part of our beliefs about sin and repentance. Unlike some churches, we don't believe that Adam's transgression applies to anyone but he himself. Therefore, we don't baptize children, until they are at the age of accountability, eight, which is when their own sins apply to them. Children who die before baptism are automatically saved through the Atonement of Christ.
3) We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Naturally, this is the other part of sin and repentance. Because of Christ's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and his crucifixion, or the Atonement, we are all able to be saved, once past the age of accountability, by following the commandments and repenting of any transgressions we make (which are inevitable, because we are in a state of imperfection.)
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. These are the very basics of the commandments, only the beginning, really. Faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, and being granted the gift of the Holy Ghost. I believe that last one is fairly unique to our church. The concept is that once you're given the gift of the Holy Ghost, he will always be there to guide you, not just in moments of desperate need. This gives you great strength, so long as you follow the Holy Ghost's promptings.
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. This is about our priesthood, basically. What we call the priesthood is a calling for all worthy men in the church to have the gift of God, which allows our men to perform great acts at times of need, like Christ when he walked the Earth. Only through the priesthood, and the line of authority related to this, can people be called to work for the church, etc.
6) We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. Basically, we believe in the same organization that Christ set up when he was on Earth, or even before, with prophets called of God and such, and we operate off of that.
7) We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth. This is actually another section added to the gift of the Holy Ghost, along with the priesthood. We actually believe in what we call spiritual gifts, granted through the gift of the Holy Ghost and priesthood authority. Every member has at least one spiritual gift, some of which are not quite as large-scale as the ones listed above. Many non-members also have a natural tendency towards a spiritual gift which could be used to better effect with the gift of the Holy Ghost. So we basically believe in great power through God, even miracles, which can work through a righteous individual.
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. We do believe in the BIble, as stated here, which I believe confirms we're Christians. Our one stipulation here is through translation. Full, correct translation can only be done through the power of God, and much of the Bible's translation has been otherwise. Academic translation, mostly, which can be accurate, but often makes mistakes. I've seen demonstrations of this, actually, in school.
We also believe in the Book of Mormon, which is the pinnacle of our church and our beliefs, as a necessary second testament of Christ, religious scripture from the Americas around the time of the Bible. The Book of Mormon is considered more accurate by our church because it was translated through a prophet with the power of God. The Bible and Book of Mormon together, however, have the full power to confirm Christ's existence and power. I would actually highly recommend reading the Book of Mormon if you're interested. Besides being religious scripture, it's quite brilliant.
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. This again refers to our belief in prophecy and modern prophets. God still speaks to the people of Earth not only through the Holy Ghost and personal revelation, but through a chosen prophet, who also leads our church. This continues the organization of the church in past times.
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. This talks about the final and Second Coming of Christ, the final defeat of Satan, the Judgment, and the renewal of the Earth and its inhabitants into a perfect state. The end of days, basically, which we do believe in, though we also believe no man will know the date. The part about the gathering of Israel speaks to our belief of the original Ten Tribes of Israel, the tribes organized within the great-grandsons of Abraham, as noted in the Bible. We believe the Tribes will be regathered, that all humanity will be taken into a Tribe, and be given their final duties as is designated for each Tribe.
11) We claim the privilege of worshiping 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. Religious freedom is important to us, basically. We support this as a proper concept in governmental organization.
12) We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. We listen to the government, basically. We respect 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. This is just the confirmation that we seek after good things, as defined by the church and laws, in life. We want that which is righteous, truthful, and good, and we seek this, and to be this. Kind of an optimistic last article.
So that covers the Articles of Faith, and a good bit of our basic belief. There is more upon which our church is based of course, a couple more basic concepts which are very vital to us. The two that probably inspire and direct me the most are our Plan of Salvation (about the afterlife, Christ's Atonement, and such), and our view of family. I won't take up any more space explaining these, but you can find more about them at the website mentioned and linked above.
Thanks for your time and understanding! :) I'll get back to you next time with our monthly humor post, which I'm sure you're dying for. Goodbye!
P.S. When the fire alarm goes off at 9:30 in the morning because of construction and you're forced to go outside without makeup and looking like the devil, it's not enjoyable. I just learned this today.
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. More than anything, stories are my life.
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