What Are Basic Mormon Beliefs?

If you’ve ever wondered about the foundational beliefs of the Mormon faith, you’re in the right place. This article will provide you with a concise and friendly overview of the basic tenets that shape the Mormon worldview. From the importance of family to the concept of eternal progression, we’ll explore the key principles that define Mormon beliefs and offer a glimpse into the intriguing world of the Mormon faith. So, let’s embark on this enlightening journey together.

Table of Contents

God and Jesus Christ

Godhead is made up of three separate beings

In the Mormon faith, God is understood to be a distinct being from Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. They are collectively referred to as the Godhead, and each has a unique role. This belief sets Mormonism apart from traditional Christian teachings that assert the doctrine of the Trinity, which suggests that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one being. Mormons believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are distinct entities with separate roles in the plan of salvation.

God the Father is the literal father of the spirits of all mankind

According to Mormon theology, Heavenly Father is the literal father of the spirits of all human beings. This means that we all existed as spirit children of God before we were born on Earth. Mormons believe that God created our spirits and that He loves us as His literal children. This belief shapes their understanding of the individual’s divine potential and the importance of cultivating a personal relationship with Heavenly Father.

Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God and the Savior of the world

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God. They view Him as the Savior of the world, the Redeemer whose atonement makes it possible for individuals to be forgiven of their sins and find salvation. Mormons emphasize the life, teachings, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ as central to their faith. They strive to follow His example, seek His guidance, and develop a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ holds a unique position in Mormon theology as the one who facilitates the path to eternal life.

The Holy Ghost is a separate and distinct member of the Godhead

The Holy Ghost is considered to be a separate and distinct member of the Godhead, alongside Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Mormons believe that the Holy Ghost is a divine being who serves as a comforter, teacher, and guide. He manifests spiritual promptings and influences individuals in their daily lives. Mormons seek to receive the Holy Ghost in their lives through personal righteousness and the gift of the Holy Ghost conferred through baptism. They believe that the Holy Ghost can provide personal revelation and guide individuals to truth and understanding.

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ

The Book of Mormon is considered another testament of Jesus Christ and a companion scripture to the Bible in Mormon theology. It is believed to be an ancient record, compiled by various prophets who lived on the American continent. According to the narrative in the Book of Mormon, these prophets were called by God to preach His gospel to the people in the Americas. The Book of Mormon contains teachings, prophecies, and testimonies of Jesus Christ and aims to provide additional witnesses of His divinity.

It was translated by Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, is believed to have translated the ancient record known as the Book of Mormon through divine means. According to his account, he was led to a set of golden plates buried in a hillside near his home in upstate New York. These plates contained the writings of ancient prophets, including Mormon, who compiled the record. With the aid of the Urim and Thummim, a seer stone, Joseph Smith translated the characters on the plates into English, resulting in the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830.

It contains the teachings and history of ancient inhabitants of the Americas

The Book of Mormon provides an account of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, including their teachings, history, and interactions with God. It covers a span of thousands of years, from roughly 600 BC to 400 AD. According to the text, these people, known as the Nephites and Lamanites, are descendants of an Israelite family who migrated to the American continent. The Book of Mormon recounts their civilizations, wars, religious practices, and prophecies. Mormons believe that studying the Book of Mormon can strengthen their faith and provide guidance in their lives.

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith is viewed as a prophet

Mormons consider Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God, chosen to restore the true Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days. They believe that just as God called prophets in ancient times, He called Joseph Smith as a modern-day prophet to receive revelation, administer ordinances, and guide the Church. Mormons view Joseph Smith’s role as pivotal in reestablishing the teachings and practices of the original Church established by Jesus Christ.

He restored the true Church of Jesus Christ

According to Mormon belief, the true Church of Jesus Christ was lost from the Earth following the death of the original apostles. The knowledge of essential doctrines and authority to administer saving ordinances was gradually corrupted and lost. Joseph Smith is seen as the instrument through which the true Church was restored in the 19th century. Through divine revelations and angelic visitations, Joseph Smith received the necessary priesthood authority and direction to reestablish the teachings and organization of the original Church.

He received divine revelation through visions and angelic visitations

Throughout his life, Joseph Smith reported various experiences of receiving divine revelations and visions. These encounters often involved heavenly messengers, including God the Father, Jesus Christ, and angelic beings such as Moroni. Through these experiences, Joseph Smith received instructions regarding the restoration of the gospel, the organization of the Church, and the translation of sacred texts. Mormons consider these revelations to be a vital source of guidance and doctrine, and they revere Joseph Smith as a conduit for God’s communication with mankind.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on earth

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often referred to as the LDS Church or the Mormon Church, is seen by Mormons as the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on earth. It is considered to be the continuation of the original Church established by Jesus Christ during His mortal ministry. Mormons believe that the true gospel of Jesus Christ was lost over time and that through Joseph Smith, it was once again given to the world in its fullness.

It is led by modern-day prophets and apostles

In the LDS Church, authority and leadership are believed to be bestowed through a line of prophets and apostles. Mormons believe that just as in ancient times, God continues to speak to His people through living prophets. The President of the Church, considered to be a prophet, seer, and revelator, is regarded as God’s spokesperson on Earth. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with other general authorities, form the Church’s leadership hierarchy and guide its worldwide membership.

It offers salvation to all people through faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost

The central purpose of the LDS Church is to invite all individuals to come unto Jesus Christ and find salvation. Mormons believe that salvation is made possible through faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. They view baptism as an essential ordinance performed by proper priesthood authority, symbolizing a covenant with God. Additionally, the individual’s commitment to following Christ’s teachings and receiving the ongoing guidance of the Holy Ghost is considered necessary for spiritual growth and eventual exaltation.

Apostasy and Restoration

Following the death of Jesus Christ’s apostles, the true Church was lost from the earth

Mormons believe that after the deaths of Jesus Christ’s original apostles, the authority and teachings of the true Church were gradually corrupted and lost from the Earth. This period of spiritual darkness and confusion, known as the Great Apostasy, is seen as a fulfillment of biblical prophecies. Without the presence of authorized apostles and prophets, the doctrines and ordinances necessary for salvation became distorted or completely altered in various Christian traditions.

Through Joseph Smith, the Church was restored in the 19th century

Mormons believe that the Church of Jesus Christ was restored to its fullness through the efforts of Joseph Smith in the early 19th century. Motivated by a desire to find the true Church, Joseph Smith sought answers through prayer, leading to his First Vision, where he saw both God the Father and Jesus Christ. This event initiated a series of divine visitations, revelations, and the translation of sacred texts, culminating in the formal organization of the Church in 1830. Mormons see the Restoration as a divine intervention in response to the spiritual needs of humanity.

This restoration included the priesthood authority and necessary ordinances

Central to the concept of the Restoration is the restoration of priesthood authority and sacred ordinances necessary for salvation. Mormons believe that Joseph Smith received the authority to act in the name of God through the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. This authority is believed to have been conferred upon Joseph by heavenly messengers, including John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John. Through this restored priesthood authority, Mormons believe that the ordinances, such as baptism, confirmation, and the administration of other saving ordinances, can be performed with divine efficacy.

Eternal Families

Mormons believe in the importance of the family unit

The family unit holds a central place in Mormon theology. Mormons consider it to be the fundamental unit of society and the most essential institution in God’s plan for individuals’ happiness and progression. The family is seen as an eternal entity, capable of continued growth and development after death. Mormons believe that an eternal perspective on family relationships encourages love, unity, and support among family members, fostering an environment conducive to personal and spiritual growth.

Marriage can be eternal through temple ordinances

Mormons believe in the eternal nature of marriage and its potential to extend beyond mortality. Through specific ordinances performed in temples, such as temple marriage or sealing ceremonies, couples can be united not only for time but also for eternity. Mormons view these sealing ordinances as sacred and binding, ensuring that family relationships can persist beyond death and continue throughout the eternities. The belief in eternal marriage strengthens the commitment to marriage and emphasizes the importance of fostering strong family relationships.

Families can be together in the afterlife

The concept of eternal families in the Mormon faith provides hope and reassurance to believers that family relationships can endure beyond mortality. Mormons believe that through faithful adherence to gospel teachings and covenant making, families can be reunited in the afterlife and experience continued growth together. This belief offers comfort to those who have lost loved ones and highlights the eternal significance of familial bonds. Mormons strive to live in accordance with God’s commandments to ensure that their families can be eternally united.

Pre-earth Life

Mormons believe in a pre-earth life

Mormons believe in a pre-earth existence, known as the pre-mortal or pre-earth life. They believe that prior to their earthly birth, each individual’s spirit lived with Heavenly Father. During this pre-earth life, Mormons believe that individuals had the opportunity to progress, learn, and exercise agency. This belief informs their understanding of the purpose of mortal existence and the potential for eternal progression.

Spirits lived with God before being born on earth

In Mormon theology, the pre-earth life is characterized by a time of learning and growth in the presence of God. Mormons believe that their spirits had the opportunity to communicate with God, learn divine truths, and make choices that shaped their individuality and prepared them for earthly experiences. This understanding of a pre-earth existence contributes to the Mormon emphasis on the divine potential of each person and the belief that individuals have a personal relationship with Heavenly Father.

Heavenly Father has a plan for each individual’s life

Mormons believe that Heavenly Father has an individualized plan for each person’s mortal life. This plan, known as the Plan of Salvation or the Plan of Happiness, encompasses God’s desire for His children to progress, learn, and ultimately return to His presence. It includes the experience of mortality, the opportunity to exercise agency, and the development of personal faith in Jesus Christ. Mormons view this plan as evidence of God’s love and investment in the well-being and eternal progression of His children.

Salvation and Atonement

Mormons believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ

The atonement of Jesus Christ holds profound significance in Mormon theology. It is viewed as the central act of divine love and mercy through which individuals can find forgiveness, redemption, and salvation. Mormons believe that through His suffering in Gethsemane, death on the cross, and subsequent resurrection, Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of humanity. Through faith in Christ, repentance, and living according to His commandments, individuals can access the blessings of the atonement and find spiritual renewal and healing.

Salvation comes through grace, faith, repentance, baptism, and keeping the commandments

Mormons emphasize the cooperative nature of salvation, viewing it as a combination of divine grace and individual effort. They believe that salvation comes through the grace of Jesus Christ, made available by His atonement, and accepted through faith. Additionally, repentance is seen as an essential step in accessing the redeeming power of Christ’s atonement. Mormons also place great emphasis on the ordinance of baptism, which they view as a necessary step in the salvation process. Finally, Mormons strive to keep the commandments and engaging in good works as evidence of their faith and commitment to following Christ.

All individuals will be resurrected and judged according to their actions

Mormons believe in a general resurrection of all individuals, regardless of their righteous or sinful actions in mortality. They believe that just as Jesus Christ was resurrected, all people will be resurrected and receive perfected, glorified bodies. However, Mormons also emphasize the concept of judgment, in which individuals’ actions, thoughts, and desires will be assessed. This judgment is believed to determine one’s eternal destiny within the heavenly realms, including degrees of glory or exaltation. Mormons strive to live righteously and prepare for this final judgment.

Temple Worship

Mormons consider temples as sacred buildings

Temples hold a special place in Mormon worship and religious practice. Mormons view temples as sacred buildings dedicated to the service of God and the performance of sacred ordinances. These buildings are considered distinct from meetinghouses or chapels, which are used for Sunday worship and other congregational activities. Temples are seen as a place of reverence, holiness, and connection with the divine presence of God.

Ordinances performed in temples are essential for salvation

One of the primary purposes of temples in Mormon theology is to perform essential saving ordinances necessary for salvation and exaltation. These ordinances include baptism for the dead, endowments, and sealings. Through these ceremonies, Mormons believe that the blessings and promises of the gospel can extend not only to the living but also to those who have passed away. This belief demonstrates the importance of family connections and the collective salvation of all of God’s children.

These ordinances include baptism for the dead, sealing families together, and receiving additional knowledge and blessings

Within the sacred space of temples, Mormons participate in various ordinances that are believed to bind families together for eternity and provide additional knowledge and blessings. Baptism for the dead allows living individuals to perform the sacred ordinance of baptism on behalf of deceased ancestors, giving them the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel in the spirit world. Similarly, sealing ceremonies bind families together in eternal relationships. Additional ordinances are performed, such as the endowment, which provides increased knowledge and understanding of Heavenly Father’s plan.

Agency and Free Will

Mormons believe in the principle of agency

The principle of agency is highly valued in Mormon theology. Mormons believe that God offers individuals the precious gift of agency, which grants them the freedom to choose for themselves. This divine endowment allows individuals to exercise their own judgment, make decisions, and be responsible for their actions. The belief in agency recognizes the inherent dignity and worth of each person, encouraging them to seek personal growth, make choices based on their spiritual convictions, and ultimately progress toward their divine potential.

God grants individuals the freedom to choose

Mormons believe that God respects and honors the principle of agency by granting individuals the freedom to make choices, even if those choices lead to consequences. They see this as evidence of God’s love and trust in His children, allowing them to learn and grow through their experiences. The freedom to choose is seen as a fundamental aspect of the human condition, enabling individuals to exercise personal judgment and responsibility for their own spiritual development.

Choices have consequences and can impact eternal progression

While Mormons believe in the freedom of choice, they also emphasize the eternal consequences that follow from those choices. They believe that the choices individuals make during their mortal lives can impact their eternal progression. Choices aligned with God’s commandments and teachings are believed to foster spiritual growth and bring individuals closer to God. Conversely, choices contrary to His will can result in spiritual regression and distance from God. Mormons strive to make choices consistent with their understanding of God’s plan and seek divine guidance in their decision-making process.

In conclusion, the beliefs outlined here are just an introduction to the basic tenets of the Mormon faith. Mormons, also known as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have a distinctive theology that sets them apart from mainstream Christianity. Their beliefs in the Godhead, the Book of Mormon, the restoration of Jesus Christ’s Church, and various key doctrines shape their understanding of purpose, salvation, and eternal progression. With a focus on personal relationships with God, family, and individual agency, Mormons seek to navigate life’s challenges while striving for salvation and exaltation.