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Articles of Faith
In 1842 Joseph Smith, founder of the LDS religion (or Mormonism), wrote what has come to be called the Wentworth letter and included in it a list of thirteen of the basic beliefs of Mormonism. These are known in the Mormon Church as the Articles of Faith and can now be found in Mormon Scripture. These thirteen articles briefly outline the basic principles and beliefs of Mormonism. Below is a summary (for complete text see Articles of Faith):
- Mormonism teaches that the Godhead consists of three persons: God the Father, His literal son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
- Mormonism teaches that men and women are accountable for their own sins. While Mormons acknowledge the Fall of Adam and Eve, they do not believe in the idea of Original Sin (the notion that all mankind is cursed because of Adam and is born sinful).
- Mormonism states that all men and and women can be saved (restored to the presence of God) through the Atonement of Jesus Christ if they will obey the will of God and receive the necessary Ordinances.
- The foundation of Mormonism rests on having Faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of one's sins, being baptized by immersion to be washed clean from sin, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by having hands laid on one's head and being confirmed a member of Christ's church.
- Mormonism teaches that God grants men authority to act in his name. Such men, however must be called by Him, through prophecy or revelation, and must be ordained by having hands laid upon their heads by men who already have authority from God (see Priesthood) to administer in His name.
- In accordance with the organization of the New Testament church, the modern Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by "apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth." Through this hierarchy, the Mormon Church can look after all of its members in an organized way.
- Mormonism teaches that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues (being able to speak and understand other languages), prophesying, receiving revelations and visions, being able to heal and be healed, and all the miracles spoken of in the Bible are still given to worthy men and women. In Mormonism, miracles have not ceased.
- Mormonism teaches the truthfulness of the Bible, but acknowledges that some errors have entered it because of the difficulty of transmission and translation. Mormons also believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
- Mormonism believes that God reveals His will to mankind. He did so during Biblical times, and Mormons believe He continues to do so. They also believe He will continue to reveal His will concerning the building of His kingdom.
- Mormonism teaches that they are of the House of Israel and that all Israel will be brought back from its dispersion. Latter-day Saints believe that the Jews will be physically gathered to the Holy Land, and that the law will go forth from Jerusalem during the Millennium. Mormonism states that Zion, or "New Jerusalem," (the place of gathering for many from the other tribes) will be on the American continent. Mormons also believe that when Jesus Christ returns to the earth He will personally reign as king and will cleanse the earth.
- Latter-day Saints believe in religious tolerance. They claim the right to worship as they see fit and allow others to do the same.
- Mormonism teaches its members to be honest, law-abiding citizens of whatever country they live in.
- Mormonism believes in being honest, loyal, modest, kind, virtuous, and in doing good to all people. Mormons seeks to follow God's will with hope and endurance. Mormonism respects and admires that which is virtuous, lovely, and praiseworthy.
In 1995, the current leaders of the Mormon Church issued a statement to the world about the importance of family. This is known as The Family: A Proclamation to the World and outlines Mormonisms beliefs regarding the sanctity of marriage and family relations.
Mormons believe that all men and women are the children of God, that He is their spiritual Father. Mormons often refer to God as their "Father in Heaven" and seek to have a personal relationship with Him and His son, Jesus Christ, through prayer and proper living. As children of God, every man and woman has potential and purpose.
Mormonism holds that gender is an essential characteristic of a person's identity. This implies that a person's spirit has a gender which is eternal and cannot be altered. The differences between genders is divinely instituted so that men and women complement each other in life and in marriage.
Marriage, to Mormons, is "ordained of God" and is considered a sacred union between a man and woman. Couples ought to be legally wedded by the proper authority. If a relationship is to work out and provide a positive atmosphere for raising children it must have a firm foundation. Living together without the commitment which marriage entails is not a strong enough foundation.
Mormons also believe that, when sealed by the proper authority in one of the Mormon temples, marriages and family relationships can be eternal.