What is Mormonism?
Mormonism began as part of the Christian restoration movement, which hoped to restore the original practice of Christianity. It is also referred to as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mormons, followers of the faith, rely on several religious texts, including the traditional Doctrine and Covenants, Christian Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price. Today, 15 million individuals practice Mormonism around the world. This article inspects the history of this religion as well as some of its basic beliefs.
Founding Of The Mormon Religion
Joseph Smith Jr. founded the religion during the 1820’s. During this period in history, the US was experiencing the Second Great Awakening, a Protestant revival movement. While considering which denomination to join, Smith claimed to receive a message from God that none of the new Christian denominations adhered to true Christianity.
On September 22, 1823, an angel directed Smith to find hidden golden plates, which he took home in 1827. Smith said the plates had text written in a reformed Egyptian language that he translated by using a special pair of glasses and a seer stone. After he had translated the golden plates, he returned them to the angel. The fruit of this effort is the Book of Mormon.
The first members of the Mormon Church moved from New York and tried to establish a new city in Missouri. However, the state did not accept the religious group. The government issued an order to kill them or expel them. The Mormons fled to Illinois. In 1844, Joseph Smith, Jr. was killed during an uprising against the church and its practices.
A New Prophet
After the death of Smith, members of the church needed a new leader. The majority agreed upon Brigham Young, who took devoted followers west to Utah. Here, Mormons were safe to practice some of their beliefs, like multiple marriages. Brigham Young founded Salt Lake City and was the first governor of Utah. He also helped establish the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Salt Lake Temple, and Salt Lake Tabernacle.
In 1890, the federal government prohibited multiple marriages, and the church split into several denominations. The largest of these, the Church of Latter Day Saints, opposes multiple marriages, promotes patriotism, and send missionaries all over the world.
The Book Of Mormon
The Book of Mormon tells the story of the Nephites, who Mormons believe are one of the four Israelite tribes. They are direct descendants of Nephi, whose father left Jerusalem in 600 BC and settled in the Americas around 589 BC. In the Book of Mormon, the Nephites believed in Jesus before his birth.
The Authenticity of the book has been criticized by the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, and many non-Mormon archaeologists. These criticisms claim that no archaeological or historical evidence has been found to verify any of the stories in the Book of Mormon. They claim that the book is only a religious text. Mormons, however, accept the book as historical fact.
What Do Mormons Believe?
Mormonism is similar to other Christian denominations in that it teaches about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. However, the Mormon church teaches that these 3 are separate individuals with shared thoughts and actions. In Mormonism, it is believed that the Father is actually the Father of all human spirits. These spirits have always existed, since before inhabiting human bodies on earth. This church also teaches that there is a Heavenly Mother. Because of this close relationship with God, humans can become a God as well by returning to live with him as a family. Therefore, they must live their lives purely and become close to Jesus.
Mormons believe that life as humans is only a piece of their eternal life. They believe that humans began as spirits near God and that God gave them a salvation plan, the opportunity to also become gods. After accepting his salvation plan, the spirits were sent to earth in human form to experience pain, suffering, and sin as a sort of trial before becoming god-like. Each human is in a different stage of development.
Mormons also practice baptism, confirmation, the sacrament, naming and blessing children, and anointing and blessing the sick. They do not believe in abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, sex before marriage. In addition, Mormons abstain from tobacco, gambling, alcohol, and caffeine.
About the Author
Amber is a freelance writer, English as a foreign language teacher, and Spanish-English translator. She lives with her husband and 3 cats.
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