Mission Of The Church
The mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to help all of Gods children come to Jesus Christ3 through learning about His gospel, making and keeping promises with God , and practicing Christlike love and service.4
Members of the Church believe in helping individuals and families fulfill the commandments to love God and to love your neighbor.5 Members do so by living the gospel of Jesus Christ,6 caring for those in need,7 inviting all to receive the gospel,8 and uniting families through family history and temple work.9
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The principles that were recorded in the Book of Mormonfaith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, joy, salvationchanged the lives of an ancient people. In our day, the Book of Mormon has influenced the lives of millions of people around the world by bringing them closer to Jesus Christ. Here are a few stories:
Restoration Of The Church Of Jesus Christ
While Jesus Christ was on the earth, He established His Church. Following His death and the deaths of His Apostles, some of the precious truths He taught and His sacred authority were lost for a time.11 This time period is known as the Great Apostasy.
In the spring of 1820, a young man named Joseph Smith prayed to God with great concern for the salvation of his own soul and to know which church he should join. God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph12 and began to prepare him to bring back the precious truths and the sacred authority that had been lost from the Church Jesus Christ formed while on the earth. Under the Lords direction, Joseph Smith organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830.
Through the power of God, Joseph Smith translated an ancient record written by prophets who lived on the American continents and taught and testified of Jesus Christ.13 This ancient record is called the Book of Mormon and stands alongside the Bible as another testament that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.
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Mormon No More: Faithful Reflect On Churchs Move To Scrap A Moniker
For the Latter-day Saints faithful, a shift away from a longtime name has meant lighthearted screw-ups, logistical complications and reflections on identity.
A statue of the angel Moroni sits atop the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City. Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have said that adherents should no longer call themselves Mormons or even use the shorthand L.D.S.Credit…Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
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After finally getting her twin babies to fall asleep in Rexburg, Idaho, Kristine Anderson described herself as a stereotypical, Mormon stay-at-home mom.
Then she sighed loudly, annoyed that a lifetime habit had slipped out.
Ugh, she said. I just said the word Mormon again. I apologize.
Last August, leaders of her faith announced a game-changing divine revelation. Russell M. Nelson, the churchs president, said that God had impressed upon my mind the importance of the name he has revealed for his church. Church members should no longer call themselves Mormons, or even use the shorthand L.D.S., the church announced.
The word Mormon has been with the church from the beginning. It comes from the Book of Mormon, the churchs signature text , which adherents believe was recorded on gold plates by the prophet Mormon and his son, Moroni.
Activity Rates And Disaffiliation
The LDS Church does not release official statistics on church activity, but it is likely that only approximately 40 percent of its recorded membership in the United States and 30 percent worldwide regularly attend weekly Sunday worship services. A statistical analysis of the 2014 Pew Religious Landscape Survey assessed that “about one-third of those with a Latter-day Saint background” outright “left the Church”, identifying as disaffiliated. Activity rates vary with age, and disengagement occurs most frequently between age 16 and 25. Young single adults are more likely to become inactive than their married counterparts, and overall, women tend to be more active than men.
Church humanitarian aid includes organizing food security, clean water, mobility, and healthcare initiatives, operating thrift stores, maintaining a service project website, and directly funding or partnering with other organizations. The value of all donations from the church in 2021 was $906 million.
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Polygamy Officially Discontinued In 1890
The Tanners argue that the church’s 1890 reversal of its policy on polygamy was done for political reasons, citing the fact that the change was made during the church’s lengthy conflict with the federal government over property seizures and statehood. The Ostlings say that, soon after the church received the revelation that polygamy was prohibited, Utah again applied for statehood. This time the federal government did not object to starting the statehood process. Six years later, the process was completed and Utah was admitted as a state in 1896. The Ostlings note that soon after the church suspended the practice of polygamy, the federal government reduced its legal efforts to seize church property. Despite this, Mormon leaders after 1890 continued to sanction and participate in plural marriages in secret, in smaller numbers, both in the U.S. and in Mexico, for the next several decades.
Mormons Ron Wood and Linda Thatcher do not dispute that the change was a result of federal intervention and say that the church had no choice in the matter. The 1887 EdmundsTucker Act was crippling the church and “something dramatic had to be done to reverse trend.” After the church appealed its case to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost, church president Wilford Woodruff issued the 1890 Manifesto. Woodruff noted in his journal that he was “acting for the temporal salvation of the Church”.
Name Of The Priesthood
In the spring of 1835, Joseph Smith received a revelation explaining the name of the priesthood: âThere are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood. Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest. Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood. All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood. â¦ The second priesthood is called the Priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations. Why it is called the lesser priesthood is because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinancesâ .
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Tithing And Other Donations
Church members are expected to donate one-tenth of their income to support the operations of the church, including construction of temples, meetinghouses, and other buildings, and other church uses. Members are also encouraged to abstain from food and drink on the first Sunday of each month for at least two consecutive meals. They donate at least the cost of the two skipped meals as a fast offering, which the church uses to assist the poor and needy and expand its humanitarian efforts.
All able LDS young men are expected to serve a two-year, full-time proselytizing mission. Missionaries do not choose where they serve or the language in which they will proselytize, and are expected to fund their missions themselves or with the aid of their families. Prospective male missionaries must be at least 18 years old and no older than 25, not yet married, have completed secondary school, and meet certain criteria for physical fitness and spiritual worthiness. Missionary service is not compulsory, nor is it required for young men to retain their church membership.
Unmarried women 19 years and older may also serve as missionaries, generally for a term of 18 months. However, the LDS Church emphasizes that women are not under the same expectation to serve as male members are, and may serve solely as a personal decision. There is no maximum age for missionary service for women.
They Do Have Special Underwear
This is one of those things that quite a few may have heard about, but immediately dismissed as another myth about Mormons. However, this one is true, and while it may be an object of ridicule for many, it also serves a very specific purpose within the faith. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, these skivvies are referred to as temple garments, according to The Atlantic. These garments are plain white and don’t look unlike a typical white t-shirt and long white boxer shorts. The Atlantic references an often told joke that they’ve been referred to as “magic underwear” but, in case this needs saying, they aren’t magic at all.
The thing is, they are simply garments. Practically every religion dresses a certain way, especially when in a temple or holy places. Christian nuns wear very specific habits, and Buddhists of certain sects don particular robes, as do Muslims. The only real difference is that the Mormon garments are much simpler, and worn underneath other clothes. These garments had been kept secret, according to The Atlantic, but when the jokes kept coming in at the expense of Mormons, the church itself leveled with the general public about the purpose of the clothes, as well as pointing out that literally every religion has some sort of special garb.
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The Founder Joseph Smith Jr
When Smith was fourteen years old, he claimed to have had a religious experience, in which both God the Father and Jesus Christ spoke to him and instructed him not to affiliate himself with any denomination. Three years later, he reported being visited again by a heavenly angel named Moroni who told him that a book written on gold plates had been buried and Smith had been charged with its protection.
Smith allegedly retrieved the gold plates in 1827 and began the process of translating their engravings. On March 26, 1830, when his dictation was complete, Smith published the work as the Book of Mormon. Shortly thereafter, on April 6, 1830, Smith also founded the first Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints church.
To avoid conflict and persecution encountered for his claims, Smith and his followers moved to Kirtland, Ohio early in 1831. Here the church’s first temple was built and some Mormons believed erroneously that Jesus’ Millennial reign had begun. However, the controversy and mob violence that had plagued Smith followed him to Kirtland and in early 1832, Joseph was dragged from his bedroom in the dead of night, tarred and feathered, and left for dead.
In February, 1844, Smith announced his candidacy for President of the United States, with Sidney Rigdon as his vice-presidential running mate.
Joseph Smith And The Early Church
Polygamy is perhaps the most controversial early LDS practice, and was a key contributing factor for Smith’s murder. Under heavy pressure Utah would not be accepted as a state if polygamy was practiced the church formally and publicly renounced the practice in 1890. Utah’s statehood soon followed. However, plural marriage remains a divisive issue, as despite the official renunciation of 1890, it still has sympathizers, defenders, and semi-secret practitioners.
completely demoralizes good men and makes bad men correspondingly worse. As for the womenwell, God help them! First wives it renders desperate, or else heart-broken, mean-spirited creatures.
Pratt ended her marriage to husband Orson Pratt in 1868 because of his “obsession with marrying younger women” . Sarah Pratt lashed out at Orson in an 1877 interview, stating:
Here was my husband, gray headed, taking to his bed young girls in mockery of marriage. Of course there could be no joy for him in such an intercourse except for the indulgence of his fanaticism and of something else, perhaps, which I hesitate to mention.
However, Bushman notes that evidence of sexual relations between Smith and any wives of his followers is sparse or unreliable. Compton argues that some marriages were likely dynastic in nature, to link families.
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Life Is A Proving Ground For Us
God sent us to earth to learn and grow through experiencesboth pleasant and painful. He lets us choose between good and evil. The challenge is to have faith in His plan even though we dont have all of the answers.
And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. 2 Nephi 2:2627
They Were At The Forefront Of Women’s Rights
Mormons definitely have a muddled history with polygamy a practice that has since been completely outlawed by the Mormon church but aside from that, they have a strong link to women’s rights, and being ahead of the curve too. In fact, they were the first to give women the right to vote in the United States, and Mormon women rightfully wore this as a shining badge of pride, according to the National Park Service.
One Latter-day Saint, Eliza R. Snow, said in 1870, “Do you know of any place on the face of the earth, where woman has more liberty, and where she enjoys such high and glorious privileges as she does here, as a Latter-day Saint?” . That’s right, during the raging debate over the 14th, 15th, and later 19th amendments, in which the national government couldn’t quite decide who was human enough to cast a vote of representation, the Mormons over in territorial Utah didn’t have as much trouble. Some 49 years before woman’s suffrage became federal law and an amendment to the Constitution, Mormons had already achieved it.
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Why Do You Baptize For The Dead
Jesus Christ taught that except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God . For those who have passed on without the ordinance of baptism, proxy baptism for the deceased is a free-will offering. According to Church doctrine, a departed soul in the afterlife is completely free to accept or reject such a baptismthe offering is freely given and must be freely received. The ordinance does not force deceased persons to become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor does the Church list deceased persons as members of the Church. In short, there is no change in the religion or heritage of the recipient or of the recipients descendantsthe notion of coerced conversion is utterly contrary to Church doctrine.
Proxy baptism for the deceased is nothing new. It was mentioned by Paul in the New Testament and was practiced by groups of early Christians. As part of a restoration of New Testament Christianity, Latter-day Saints continue this practice. All Church members are instructed to submit names for proxy baptism only for their own deceased relatives as an offering of familial love.
How Do Members Practise Their Faith
There are two main types of ordinances performed in the church. Those necessary for exaltation , also called saving ordinances. These include:
- Conferral of the Melchizedek priesthood
- Temple endowment
There are also ordinances for guidance and comfort, including:
- Naming and blessing of children
- Administering to the sick
- Various types of blessings
- The dedication of graves
Temple endowment and marriage are the most significant ordinances, necessary for eternal life. Endowment is an initiation ceremony in which members make pledges called covenants affirming those made in baptism. The ceremony is preceded with washing and anointing, and afterwards, members receive their white temple undergarments.
Temple marriage is a ritual that seals in heaven relationships formed on earth, principally a man and a woman in marriage, all children born and unborn, and any they adopt, for eternity.
Proxy ordinances can also be performed on behalf of members dead ancestors, thus offering them the chance of salvation and the opportunity to be sealed in the family unit in the spirit world. The church provides genealogy services for this reason but also for the public.
Sunday is the Sabbath day for the church and members attend the sacrament meeting. Baptised members receive bread and water in remembrance of the Last Supper. Sunday services take place in churches, not temples. The services and churches are open to the public temples are not.
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