My Mormon beliefs are the driving force in just about everything I do in life, so it is not a trivial task to explain my beliefs in a blog post; however, Mormon beliefs are not complicated to understand, and you’ll find that most of it is very familiar to anyone with a Christian background.
In short, Mormons believe in God the Father, in Jesus Christ who is the Savior of the world, and in the Holy Spirit. We believe that God has given us commandments through prophets like Moses, Abraham, and Peter which help us to develop our faith in Christ and to be the best people we can. We believe that through faith in Christ, we can be redeemed of our misdeeds and can one day return to live with Him.
Because God loves the people of the world, He has called prophets throughout time to lead the people of the world to develop faith in Him. Mormons believe God called Noah, Moses, Abraham, Peter, and other biblical prophets to deliver the word of God to us. These prophets gave us the 10 Commandments, temple worship, the rite of baptism, and other important teachings. Each of these prophets were accepted by some, and rejected by others. When the people were wicked, God cleansed the earth and called a new prophet. God has always called prophets to guide His people back to Him.
All of the prophets throughout time preached against sin, and the importance of following the commandments of God. However, all people commit misdeeds and sin throughout life. Because God is perfect, our sins prevent us from enjoying the peace that only God can give. These prophets taught of a way that we could all be redeemed from our misdeeds, shame, imperfections, and sins–through Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem as a tiny baby, who would become the Savior of the World. He lived a perfect life and was given great power by God to perform miracles for the people. His power to heal the sick and still the sea was only outpaced by his power to forgive sin. By and large, the people rejected Christ. They rejected the most precious soul to ever be born, and killed Him in a most cruel fashion.
Christ became the Savior of the world when he finished his mission. His death was not the end–he arose from death three days later. In his death he took with Him all of the sins of the world down to the grave and arose as our Savior–having overcome death and bands of sin.
Christ called Peter and his other disciples (Matthew, James, John, Paul, etc) to lead the people of the world after Christ ascended into heaven. He said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will establish my church.” Despite the relentless teachings of these disciples, the people consistently rejected them. Paul traveled far and wide establishing the church, but as soon as he left a city, it would soon fall into sin.
One by one, all of Christ’s disciples were martyred or died. The organization of the church with a prophet and 12 apostles which Christ had established on the Earth had been rejected. The earth entered another period of abandonment from God, and had to await the Lord to call another prophet to deliver God’s word to us. After all, Christ had taught, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
The Lord called another prophet on the earth. In rural New York in 1820, a young boy was chosen to guide the earth to Christ. Joseph Smith was an innocent boy of 14 years when he knelt down to pray and ask God the Father which church he should join to lead him to Christ. As with prophets in ancient times, Joseph was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Joseph Smith was called by God himself to be a prophet, and was asked to call 12 apostles. The ancients Peter, James, John, and John the Baptist appeared as angels to Joseph Smith and his twelve called apostles and gave them the authority of the Priesthood. The Priesthood is God’s power which he can give to man to heal the sick, perform baptisms with His authority, and seal together families forever.
After Joseph Smith died, the most senior apostle, Brigham Young, became the prophet. Since that time in the mid-1800s, there has been an unbroken line of prophets and apostles leading The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is a prophet today, Thomas S. Monson.
So what do Mormons believe? We believe in Jesus Christ and that our purpose on earth is to learn to become a little more like Him. We need to learn to resist temptation and sin. We need to learn to love our families and to be faithful to God’s commandments. We believe that all of us are weak and that we have all sinned, and can only return to God by the grace of Christ’s suffering for us.
We believe that God did not leave us alone on the earth, that the prophet is here on this earth to give us God’s word, and that we can teach it to each other in our families and become happier and stronger.
That’s what this church is all about, and that’s what Mormons believe.