It really bugs me when people who are not affiliated with an organization or entity think they can determine what said group believes or should believe.
For instance, there are many who have decided that Muslims who practice Islam are one thing when those who are actually practitioners of the faith declare they believe something completely different.
When we begin to judge by the fringe elements of a group, the judgments we make have a tendency to be very suspect.
For instance, I am generally drawn to the Republican Party but I do not necessarily agree with ALL the precepts taught by their creed.
Likewise, those who choose to associate with the Democratic Party are not all, in my view, “baby-killers” and Socialistic in their leanings.
I bring this up because this past weekend one of the political candidates made some disparaging remarks about a member of my faith. The accusation stated that my fellow Latter-day Saint could not be trusted because he wasn’t ‘really’ a Mormon.
That’s a little confusing to me because I, as a practicing Mormon, recognize the accused individual as a REAL Mormon, just as much as I claim to be one myself.
So!! I am taking upon myself a task to remove some of the mud that has been slung and inform those who read my little missive some of what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really believe. I will try to keep it short, but you know that is difficult for me.
MORMONS BELIEVE IN CHRIST
Everything in our faith is based on the complete trust and worship we have in the Savior and His Atonement. Without Him, nothing else works. We are totally committed to following His path and living as He has suggested/commanded. We cannot get back to God, the Father, without the help and blessing of His Son. No one else can do what He has done and we look to Him as the only hope for eternal salvation and exaltation.
MORMONS BELIEVE IN THE ETERNAL NATURE OF THE FAMILY
Families are not just nice arrangements to help us get through our struggles in mortality.
Families are the foundational organization of Eternity.
God is our Father, literally, and we are trying to emulate Him by creating, raising, and binding together our families.
There is no church in heaven: only family.
There is no government in heaven: only family.
God loves the family and invites us to use the family as a way to learn who He is and who we can be.
MORMONS BELIEVE IN UNIVERSAL SALVATION
Some may balk at this but bear with me for a moment.
We believe that all men and women are children of a loving God who has created this earth as a place to learn and grow to become like Him. He has also placed us here with the ability to make choices for ourselves (AGENCY) in HOW we will follow Him. Each choice we make will have an impact on the depth and breadth of the blessings He can provide to us when we have finished our sojourn here in mortal life.
Our time on this planet is part of The Plan of Salvation. We are not placed here ‘willy-nilly’ with no purpose or reason for existence. How we respond to the opportunities and blessings of life will be the major part of our judgment.
When we are ready for our reward, our Heavenly Father (who loves us more than we can fathom) will provide a place for us that will allow us to be happy for eternity. Every person who has ever lived on earth will be rewarded according to what they desire most. Those desires will be determined by what we desired most in mortality.
Every one of God’s children will have a place to live through eternity that will correspond with what they have shown they desired through their efforts on earth.
There are many who are limited in their abilities or opportunities to choose.
All those considerations will be factored into their life and the Atonement of Christ will make it right for them.
NO ONE will be destroyed. We are eternal beings (see D&C 93:33).
NO ONE will reside in literal “fire and brimstone” (though others looking at those perceived therein may see it as that).
EVERYONE will accept and embrace the reward they receive because it will be exactly what they desired as they lived.
Thus, all of us will receive the salvation we most desire as witnessed by actions and beliefs during our excursion on earth.
In other words, every person who has or will live on this planet can be assured they will receive some form of eternal life – Salvation – exactly the kind they asked for through their efforts during mortal life.
MORMONS BELIEVE THERE IS HOPE, NO MATTER WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD
Darkness has reigned over the world for most of its existence. Every time God brings prophets and priesthood to the earth, the adversary convinces the masses to reject and destroy the message. Apostasy has run rampant ever since the days of Eden. Father Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and even Christ had to deal with the rejection of their message from the majority of the world. Christianity has never been the prevailing religion of the earth.
And it is this way today.
But we have hope in the Atoning blood of Christ. He has given Himself for ALL God’s children and, eventually, the bulk of those souls will understand and accept His precious gift. Even those who do not accept the full blessings of Christ’s sacrifice will receive greater joy because of the good that comes from His efforts.
Mormons are not afraid of the future or the events that are to come. We are confident in Christ and are prepared to accept His return and the blessings that will accompany His arrival.
MORMONS NEVER GIVE UP
This is actually a corollary to the previous truth. When there were only six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there was the belief that, with God’s guidance, the Church would grow and fulfill Daniel’s prophecy given to King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:31-45).
Since that day in 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has struggled to survive and maintain the charge given by Christ to His prophets. But we have endured. And today we are still just a small group (less than 1% of the world’s population) but we keep moving forward. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will never be the dominant faith on the earth but it will roll forth and fill the whole world with the word of God. It will be available to all of God’s children and will prepare the way for the coming of Jesus Christ to initiate the Millennium.
MORMONS TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER
Part of the reason for this is related to the relative size of the Church in the world. We are a small group of people, living amongst a population that is in varying degrees sensitive, apathetic, or hostile to our cause. This has resulted in our banding together in a way that, to some, may seem cliquish in nature. We tend to find many of our friends within the ranks of the Church and that can be off-putting to some. The Saints take seriously the charge found in Mosiah 18:8-9 which invites us to bear the burdens of others, mourn with those who mourn, and stand as a witness of Christ in all things.
If you are familiar at all with Latter-day Saints then you know we watch out for each other. Every one of us has specific assignments to look after individuals and families in our neighborhoods. What you may not know is that every member of the Church is invited to serve in some sort of position in the functioning of their congregations (ward or stake). These are voluntary positions and they rotate from time-to-time so everyone is allowed to have an abundance of experiences.
The purpose for all this is to provide a way to make sure everyone is remembered. From the most capable to the weakest of the Saints, we are encouraged to always be on the lookout for those in need.
Obviously, this is not all you can know about Latter-day Saints, but these few basics will give you an idea who we are. I am aware of the failings many call to mind when they speak of Mormons and I acknowledge that there are many examples of failed followers of our faith. Yet, I would hope we could be judged by the intent of our hearts and not the assumptions of our detractors.
Real Mormons are nothing more than mortal beings, attempting to live in an imperfect world while seeking for something a little better. I would ask only that we be judged by the intents of our hearts as well as the results of our actions.
And I hope those who make claims of “REALNESS” against our members can understand when we are not receptive to their classless and shameful accusations.