Mormonism refers to the religion practiced by followers of the leading Latter Day Saint movement. This assembly began in the 1820s and was founded as a form of Christian primitivism by Joseph smith; Jr. At the time of its formation, the main need was to distinguish itself from the traditional Protestantism.
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Angel Moroni, the son of Prophet Mormon, is believed to have revealed himself to Smith and endowed him with him a golden plate that had unique symbols. This plate enabled him to translate the unique symbols into the modern Book of Mormon.
The number of Mormons grew significantly overtime, prompting the United States government to persecute their leader Smith, and some of the followers because of beliefs such as polygamy.
Persecution created a shock in their freedom and security and they were forced to move to the western sides of U.S. later Brigham Young succeeded him. At the end of their movements, many settled at the present state of Utah and the neighbouring areas of Colorado, Idaho and Nevada. Mormonism religion is unique and has contradicting belief with the Christians.
Mormons believe that divine revelation continues up to date as reflected by smith and the succeeding leaders. They believe that Jesus is God’s son and that even after his disciples, the divine revelation continues. As time progresed, the support of Smith’s initiated plural marriages raised contentions. Some Mormon groups left the LDS church to form other small groups relating to Mormonism.
Over time, the advocacy of polygamy by Mormons that resulted in conservatism and family-oriented behaviour among the followers received attention within the United States Congress and the church existence was threatened.
Later on, the church president officially ended the plural marriage, although it continued to be practiced secretly. After the long struggle, LDS church became a supporter of monogamy and patriotism. It has also grown internationally through its vigorous missionary program1.
Since the inception of the Mormonism religion by smith, it has received multiple criticisms on the church because of its practice of plural marriage, historical revisionism, homophobia, racism, sexist policies and inadequate financial disclosures.
These critics emanates from various religious experts and church organisations on: its church theology, its particular book of Mormon, the temple ceremonies, and the critical financial secrecy.
Meanwhile, Mormonism is viewed as a deviation from the Christianity thus it has no sufficient history to prove its validity and logic but as a critic to the earlier Christianity doctrines. As the practices of Mormons are similar to the Christian’s, Christians believe that Mormons try to dissociate itself from the norms and practise of Christianity.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is entirely criticised on the doctrinal changes of the church teachings. Concerning this, it is believed that allowing all worthy males to hold priesthood was not initially divined by the church but it was because of matter of convenience. To proclaim effectively the teachings of the Mormons, the bible, the book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the pearl of great price are used.
They believe that the bible is far below the other standards Works formulate by its founder and the other succeeding leaders whenever it disagrees with the Mormon doctrines.
It is based on the concept that the early Christian church was a restored dispensation since Jesus Christ’s ascension. In their argument, the Mormons insist that the restoration of Smith and his successors demonstrates that their religion is the only proven and acceptable one.
The Mormons cosmology gives restoration significance because it portrays the real and acceptable definition of God, the universe, and human life. According to Mormonism, the eternal existence is greater than life on earth, which is just a small part of it. They believe that people existed initially as spirits independent of God. Through the convincing of God, most spirits accepted the offer to advance like him.
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For the spirits that accepted the offer, they came to earth as human beings while the rest led by Lucifer adopted Satanism. Existence on earth was based on the knowledge that there would be sin and suffering. According to the Mormon’s doctrine, the main purpose of life is to learn to differentiate between the good and the evil.
In the process, people admit that it is impossible to live without making mistakes, necessitating some to lead a life devoid of any religious beliefs. They believe that one has to undertake an atonement to be fully saved even though Jesus died for their sins2.
Trust, repentance, prescribed covenants and living a life guided by Christ’s example, portrays His atonement. Following these teachings faithfully it gives people surety that they will leave earth to rejoin with their mate who is God.
In Mormonism, ordinance plays a critical role in the formation of covenants between people and God. The priests who are guided by the spirits and the example of Jesus Christ perform this ritual. It involves baptism, confirmation, ordination to priesthood for males, endowment and marriage to a spouse.
Baptism is done at the age of accountability by immersion in water and later ordinance of other elements of the doctrines takes place with maturity. Though certain ordinance rituals are mandatory and essential, Mormons believe that it does not guarantee an individual the eternal life. In the performance of ordinance of saving, they sought the help of the deceased who should intervene in the spirits living in the human body.
At their interpretation of the bible, the LDS church believe in both the Old and New testaments. Their official scripture text is the King James Bible. Although they generally belief in the content of the modern day Bible, they claim that it is not whole and has numerous errors.
The book of Mormon restores all the missing elements in the modern Bible3. It is highly regarded among the Mormons since it is the divine scripture and is equivalent to the bible in its teachings. Additionally, the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price books are cited and accepted as divine scriptures.
Mormons believe also that there is continuous revelation between God and humankind. Their scriptures speak of the ability to relate with the Holy Spirit to get favors and get direction of how to guide their families. They admit that God reveals Himself to those who earnestly seek His stewardship.
For the family leaders, the receive revelation on the appropriate raising techniques for their children and the blessings they are to hand over to their children. These personal revelations are encouraged in the church to give instrumental skills for the humankind and its succeeding generation.
There exist numerous differences between the Mormons and the Christians. The LDS church believes on four standards of work, which are authoritative and include the Bible, the Book of the Mormon, Covenant and Ordinance, the Pearl of Great Price and the authoritative messages from their president. While for the Christians, they believe only on the Bible.
There works at the same time indicates that there exist numerous Gods while for Christians they believe only on one God. In explaining the nature of their Gods, they indicate that they result from the exaltation of man with the body of flesh and bones. The concept of this notion is reflected in the support of the James smith’s translation while for the Christians the Bible supports their belief.
The Mormons’ Gods are believed to be married and through them, there is procreation of spirit children. This belief contradicts the Christian belief that God exist in the Spirit form and nowhere does the eternal mother mention in the Bible4.
In their belief, God is not a unique eternal being, but is a spirit guided by intelligence and can stop being God if it loses its intelligence. For Christians this is very wrong since they believe that God exist as single and is all-powerful, all knowing, and absolutely in charge.
The distinction between sin and man varies in the two religions. For Mormons they believe that man was at the beginning with God and was never created. After existing in the spirit world they choose to be made on the human body and came to earth. On the contrary, Christians belief that man was created by the only existing God5.
About the sin of Adam and eve, Mormons appreciate the deed and complement that through it procreation was put in place. On the Christians perspective, sin was hurting and lead to the deterioration of the human being.
The doctrine of salvation also indicates that Mormons can be forgiven only through atonements and Christ death cancelled the penalty of death. Christians believe that sins were forgiven by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the cross and one can acquire salvation through accepting Jesus Christ.
Bushman, Richard L.. Joseph Smith and the beginnings of Mormonism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984.
Ludlow, Daniel H.. Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan, 1992.
Williams, Jean Kinney. The Mormons. New York: Franklin Watts, 1996.
1 Bushman, Richard L.. Joseph Smith and the beginnings of Mormonism. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984), 25.
2 Ludlow, Daniel H.. Encyclopedia of Mormonism. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 125.
3 Richard ,Joseph Smith and the beginnings of Mormonism, 214.
4 Daniel, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 285.
5 Williams, Jean Kinney. The Mormons. (New York: Franklin Watts, 1996), 185.