Having a member of my church run for president again has brought a lot of media attention to the LDS church lately. Some of the reports have been fairly accurate, and some articles have chosen to propagate misconceptions about the Church that have been around for years. I know that many of my readers share my faith, but for those who do not, I wanted to add my voice to the dialogue and answer some common questions and misconceptions about "Mormons."
- Are Mormons Christians?--This question is asked frequently, to which we answer a resounding "Yes!" The name of our church is not "The Mormon Church," but "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." We revere Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of mankind, and as divine. We worship Him and strive to follow His example and His teachings in our everyday lives. We believe the Bible to be the word of God, just as other Christian faiths.
- Do we believe, as Mike Huckabee insinuated, that Jesus and Satan are brothers?--This is a common teaching from those who wish to defame Mormons and show that they are not true Christians. We believe that God the Father is the spiritual father of all creation, including Christ, Lucifer, and us. We also believe that Christ is the only begotten of the Father in the flesh, whereas Satan was not born to mortality, and we have our own mortal parents. I think it would be more accurate to say that we believe that Lucifer was a spirit child of God, who fell from Heaven, as it records in the Bible. In no way to we believe Satan and Christ to be equals or physical brothers.
- Do we believe that people of other faiths will go to hell?--No. We believe that the afterlife is more complex than heaven and hell. "Heaven" is made up of three different degrees of glory, which can be compared to the sun, the moon, and the stars (and Paul does compare them in an epistle to the Corinthians.) God loves all of his children, and He has prepared a place for them that is glorious and wonderful. People of other faiths, even those who do not believe in Christ, will still experience immortality in a place far greater than this life. We do believe that in order to gain the highest level of eternal life and all that God offers us, we must gain access to Christ's atonement through His Church, which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
- Do we worship Joseph Smith?--No. We revere him as a prophet, much like Moses or Noah. We believe that through Joseph Smith, Christ restored the same church that He had established on the earth when He lived on the earth 2000 years ago. We do not believe that Joseph Smith was perfect, but we do believe that he was called of God and inspired to do His will.
- Do we believe in the Bible--Absolutely. One thing that differentiates us from most other Christians is that we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. It does not replace the Bible, but acts as "Another Testament of Jesus Christ," confirming the truths of the Bible and making many biblical doctrines clearer. It is the record of an ancient people, just as the Bible is, who were led by God out of the Holy Land and to the Americas during Old Testament times. The Book of Mormon does not contradict the Bible, and members of the Church study both as books of scripture, given by God.
- Do Mormons believe in the Trinity?--No. We do not accept the Trinity, which is not a Biblical teaching, but is accepted by many Christians today as a result of a decision made at the council of Nicea in 325 AD. Here is an article that explains it in detail, including the origins of the Trinity doctrine. We believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct beings, and that God the Father and Christ have bodies of flesh and bones--immortal, glorified bodies, but bodies nevertheless. The Bible is full of references to the body of God and Christ and also says that man was created in God's image. The article linked above includes some Biblical references to the physical body of Christ.