What Are Mormon Beliefs In A Nutshell?

If you’ve ever been curious about the core tenets that define the Mormon faith, look no further. This article is here to provide you with a concise summary of the fundamental beliefs held by Mormons. From a belief in a modern-day prophet to the central role of family, get ready to explore the key principles that shape the Mormon worldview. Whether you’re seeking to deepen your understanding or simply satisfy your curiosity, let’s embark on a friendly journey through the beliefs of the Mormon community.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, is a Christian denomination that traces its origins back to the early 19th century in the United States. The name of the religion reflects its belief in Jesus Christ as the central figure of worship and its focus on the latter days, or the last dispensation before the second coming of Christ. Today, it has millions of followers worldwide who embrace its unique doctrines and practices.

Origin and History of the Church

The Mormon Church was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, a young man from upstate New York. According to Smith’s account, he had a series of divine visitations from God the Father and Jesus Christ, resulting in the restoration of the gospel and the establishment of the true church. These revelations and experiences led to the publication of the Book of Mormon, a sacred text believed to be an additional testament of Jesus Christ, alongside the Bible.

In the early years of the church, the members faced significant persecution and opposition due to their beliefs and practices. They were driven from place to place, ultimately finding refuge in what is now known as Utah. Over time, the church grew and prospered, spreading its message and attracting followers from all walks of life. Today, the Mormon Church is recognized for its emphasis on family values, service, and strong sense of community.

Number of Followers Worldwide

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a global presence, with millions of members spread across various countries and continents. While exact statistics may vary, as of 2021, there are believed to be more than 16 million Mormons worldwide. The majority of these followers reside in the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. However, the church continues to experience steady growth in many other countries, as its missionaries and members reach out to share their faith with others.

The Book of Mormon

At the heart of Mormon theology is the Book of Mormon, a sacred text that Mormons believe to be an additional testament of Jesus Christ. According to their beliefs, the book was translated by Joseph Smith from gold plates given to him by an ancient prophet named Moroni. The Book of Mormon tells the story of an ancient civilization in the Americas and contains teachings and prophecies that Mormon believers consider to be profound and relevant to their lives today.

Believed to be an Additional Testament of Jesus Christ

Mormons view the Book of Mormon as a companion to the Bible, providing further insights into the mission and teachings of Jesus Christ. They believe that both books together serve as witnesses of Christ’s divinity and his ministry among different peoples throughout history. The Book of Mormon teaches principles of faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, which are fundamental to Mormon beliefs. It is considered a valuable resource for personal study, teaching, and spiritual guidance.

Translation and Publication

The process of translating the Book of Mormon was a remarkable event in Mormon history. According to Joseph Smith, he used a divine instrument known as the Urim and Thummim to aid in translating the ancient engravings on the gold plates. This translation process took place over a period of several months and resulted in the publication of the book in 1830. Since then, the Book of Mormon has been translated into numerous languages and distributed worldwide, allowing Mormons from different cultures and backgrounds to access its teachings.

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith is revered by Mormons as the founder of their faith and the instrument through which God restored the true church and the gospel in the latter days. Born in 1805, Smith grew up in a religiously diverse environment and had a deep curiosity about matters of faith. His visions and divine encounters led to the establishment of the Mormon Church and the publication of the Book of Mormon.

Founder of the Mormon Church

Smith’s role as the founder of the Mormon Church is central to Mormon theology and history. Mormons believe that he was chosen by God to be a prophet and instrument in the restoration of the gospel. They regard him as a key figure in religious history and recognize his contributions in guiding and shaping the early church. Despite facing persecution and eventual martyrdom, Smith’s teachings and legacy continue to resonate with Mormons today.

First Prophet and President of the Church

As the founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith also served as the first prophet and president of the church. He received ongoing revelations and guidance from God, which provided direction and instruction to the growing church. Smith’s leadership was characterized by a deep sense of devotion, spiritual insight, and a commitment to establishing a church that adhered to the principles taught by Jesus Christ in ancient times. His successors have continued this role, leading the church with the belief in ongoing revelation and divine authority.

Divine Authority

One of the foundational beliefs of the Mormon Church is the restoration of priesthood authority. According to their teachings, the priesthood—the power and authority to act in God’s name—was lost from the earth after the apostles of Jesus Christ were martyred. Joseph Smith claimed that he was visited by heavenly messengers who bestowed upon him the authority to organize the church and perform essential ordinances such as baptism and the laying on of hands.

Hierarchy and Leadership Structure in the Church

The Mormon Church has a hierarchical structure that reflects its belief in divine authority and the need for leadership and guidance. At the head of the church is a living prophet and president, who is considered to be the mouthpiece of God on earth. This individual is believed to receive ongoing revelation for the entire church and is responsible for leading and directing its affairs. Below the prophet, there are other church leaders, including apostles, seventies, and bishops, who serve in various roles and capacities to support the mission of the church.

Plan of Salvation

Mormons believe in a comprehensive plan of salvation that outlines the purpose of human existence and the journey of the soul from pre-mortal life to eternity. According to Mormon doctrine, before coming to Earth, individuals existed as spirits in the presence of God and had the opportunity to learn and progress. Earthly life is seen as a crucial step in the eternal progression of each individual, providing a physical body and a testing ground for the exercise of agency and the development of faith.

Belief in a Pre-mortal Existence

Mormons believe in the pre-mortal existence, a concept that sets them apart from many other Christian denominations. They teach that before being born on Earth, every human spirit lived with God and participated in a divine council where the plan of salvation was presented. This pre-mortal life is seen as a time of learning and preparation for the mortal experience and provides a context for understanding the unique nature of human beings and their potential for eternal progression.

The Purpose of Life on Earth

Mormons believe that life on Earth is a crucial part of God’s plan and provides individuals with the opportunity to develop godly attributes, exercise agency, and make choices that will affect their eternal destiny. They view mortality as a time of growth, challenges, and learning experiences that help individuals build character and develop a relationship with God. Mormons strive to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, seeking to serve others, keep God’s commandments, and find joy in living a virtuous and fulfilling life.

Life After Death

Mormon beliefs about life after death are based on the assurance that physical death is not the end of existence. They believe in the resurrection of the body and the eternal nature of the spirit, with the opportunity for families to be united in the afterlife. Mormons envision a progression of existence that includes different degrees of glory, with the highest being exaltation, or the ability to dwell in the presence of God and live in eternal families. This hope for eternal life provides Mormons with comfort and assurance in the face of mortality.

Jesus Christ

In Mormon theology, Jesus Christ holds a central and revered position. Mormons believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, viewing him as the literal Son of God and the Savior of the world. They affirm his role in the plan of salvation, teaching that through his atoning sacrifice, all people have the opportunity to repent, be forgiven of their sins, and be reconciled to God.

Central Figure in Mormon Theology

Jesus Christ is not only seen as a historical figure but as a living, guiding presence in the lives of Mormons. They seek to follow his example and teachings, striving to live as he lived and love as he loved. Mormons believe in the power of prayer and personal revelation through the Holy Ghost, enabling them to receive guidance and inspiration from Christ in their daily lives.

Belief in His Divinity and Atonement

Mormons firmly believe that Jesus Christ is divine, and his atoning sacrifice is central to their understanding of grace and repentance. They believe that Jesus Christ voluntarily suffered for the sins and sorrows of all people, providing a way for them to repent and turn towards God. Through faith in Jesus Christ, individuals can receive forgiveness, be cleansed from sin, and ultimately become more Christlike.

Importance of Following His Teachings

Following the teachings of Jesus Christ is emphasized in Mormon doctrine and is seen as a path to happiness, fulfillment, and eternal progression. Mormons seek to emulate Christ’s character, striving to show love, kindness, and compassion to all people. They believe in the importance of living a virtuous and righteous life, honoring covenants made with God, and actively serving others. Jesus Christ is seen as more than a historical figure; he is a living example and source of inspiration for Mormons today.

Family and Marriage

The Mormon Church places a strong emphasis on the importance of family and views it as a central unit in God’s plan. Mormons believe that marriage and family relationships extend beyond mortality and can be eternal. They teach that families can be sealed together through sacred ordinances performed in their temples, ensuring that these relationships continue in the afterlife.

Emphasis on the Importance of Family

Mormons strive to create strong and loving families, recognizing that they have a significant impact on individual growth and happiness. Family activities, including regular family prayer, scripture study, and quality time spent together, are encouraged to strengthen the bond between family members. Mormons believe that family relationships can be eternal, reinforcing the significance they place on the family unit.

Belief in Eternal Marriages

Mormons believe that marriages performed in their temples can be sealed for time and all eternity. This sealing ordinance, performed by priesthood authority, allows couples to be together in this life and the next, as long as they remain faithful to their covenants. The belief in eternal marriages provides Mormons with hope and comfort, knowing that their relationships and love can continue in the eternities.

Prohibition of Same-Sex Marriage

The Mormon Church adheres to traditional marriage principles and upholds the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is not recognized or performed within Mormon temples, reflecting the church’s stance on marriage and its understanding of gender roles. While this position has generated heated debate and controversy, the church maintains its perspective on the sanctity of marriage as defined by its religious teachings.

Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom is a health code embraced by Mormons and is considered to be a guiding principle for physical and spiritual well-being. It includes guidelines regarding the use of alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, and illicit drugs. Mormons believe that following the Word of Wisdom brings blessings, clarity of mind, and greater spiritual sensitivity.

Code of Health

The Word of Wisdom is more than a simple list of do’s and don’ts. It is a comprehensive code of health that emphasizes the importance of taking care of one’s body, mind, and spirit. Mormons are encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding harmful substances.

Avoidance of Harmful Substances

One of the key components of the Word of Wisdom is the avoidance of harmful substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. Mormons see these substances as detrimental to physical and spiritual health and strive to abstain from them. This commitment to clean living is believed to create an environment conducive to receiving personal revelation, developing self-control, and living a life of holiness.

Dietary Guidelines

In addition to avoiding harmful substances, the Word of Wisdom also includes dietary guidelines. Mormons are encouraged to eat nutritious foods and exercise moderation in their eating habits. While not prescriptive, the teachings emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and self-discipline in the care of one’s body.

Missionary Work

Mormon missionary work is a vital aspect of the faith, reflecting the church’s commitment to sharing its message with others. Mormons believe that the restored gospel brings joy, peace, and eternal blessings, and they feel a deep responsibility to share these teachings with those around them.

Effort to Share the Mormon Message with Others

Mormon missionaries can be seen in communities worldwide, engaging with people of different backgrounds and cultures. These missionaries, young men and women who have chosen to dedicate a significant portion of their lives to service, strive to share the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. They engage in conversations, teach principles of the gospel, and invite others to join the Mormon faith.

Full-Time Missionaries

Full-time missionaries, usually young adults, serve for a period of two years for young men and eighteen months for young women. During this time, they live away from home, often in a foreign country or unfamiliar culture, and devote themselves to full-time proselyting. Missionaries receive training and support from church leaders and strive to live exemplary lives as representatives of their faith.

Conversion and Baptism

The ultimate goal of missionary work is to help individuals come unto Christ and find salvation through faith, repentance, and baptism. Missionaries teach individuals and families about the doctrines and principles of the Mormon faith, inviting them to study the Book of Mormon, pray, and seek personal revelation. Those who choose to embrace the teachings and join the Mormon Church are baptized and become part of the global Mormon community.


Temples hold a central place in Mormon worship and are considered to be sacred buildings where special ordinances and ceremonies take place. Mormons view temples as more than gathering places for Sunday worship; they are seen as places of revelation, learning, and making sacred covenants with God.

Sacred Buildings

Mormon temples are distinct from regular meetinghouses and are designed and constructed with great care and reverence. These buildings are considered to be holy ground, dedicated to the work of God and the edification of his children. The architecture and symbolism in the construction of temples are rich with spiritual meaning, representing the connection between heaven and earth.

Importance for Mormon Worship

Mormons consider the temple to be the house of the Lord, a place where they can draw closer to God and receive sacred ordinances that are believed necessary for salvation and eternal progression. These ordinances include baptism for the dead, eternal marriage ceremonies, and endowment ceremonies, among others. Temples provide a sense of peace, serenity, and focus for Mormons as they seek to deepen their relationship with God and worship Him.

Ordinances and Ceremonies

Temples are central to certain important ordinances and ceremonies in the Mormon faith. These rituals are considered sacred and are not discussed in detail outside of the temple. Mormons believe that by participating in these ordinances, individuals can make covenants with God, find spiritual renewal, and further their progression towards eternal life. The temple experience is seen as deeply personal and transformative, providing Mormons with a sense of connectedness to God and their eternal purpose.

In summary, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon Church, is a Christian denomination with millions of followers worldwide. It believes in the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. The church assigns great importance to family, marriage, and individual progression through adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It has a structured hierarchy, believes in divine authority, practices missionary work, and holds temples as sacred places for worship and sacred ordinances. This comprehensive article provides an overview of the fundamental beliefs and practices of the Mormon religion.