The Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Here is a list of just 20 of the church’s distinctive beliefs:
1. Living Prophets and Modern Revelation
“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” (Articles of Faith 1:9)
Throughout history, God has communicated to his children through living prophets. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)
God has always communicated to his children through living prophets. That is no different today.
2. Personal Revelation and the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Members of Christ’s church receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those holding the priesthood. Thereafter, the members are entitled to personal revelation and the constant guidance and companionship of the Holy Spirit. Most members of the restored church frequently receive personal revelation.
“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” (Articles of Faith 1:1) We believe the Father and Son are separate physical beings. This is clarified in modern revelation and scriptures and confirmed by the Bible.
4. Additional Scripture, Open Canon:
“We believe the Bible to be the word of God . . . ; we also believe the Book of Mormon, to be the word of God.” (Articles of Faith 1:8) The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price are additional scriptures that compliment and reinforce the authenticity of the Bible.
5. Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ
The Book of Mormon is ancient scripture from the New World. It is another testament of Jesus Christ and is the “keystone” of our religion and testimonies.
6. Pre-Mortal Existence
We lived with our Heavenly Father as his spirit children before we came to earth. “In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father.”
7. Plan of Happiness/Salvation/Redemption
God established a plan to accomplish his purposes. This is called: the plan of salvation, the plan of redemption, the plan of restoration, the plan of mercy, and the plan of happiness. “For behold, this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
“In the premortal realms . . . we and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.”
God’s plan answers the ultimate questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? What happens to me after death?
8. Eternal Marriage and Families
We believe that marriages and families can survive death and last for eternity, if sealed in the holy temple. We do not believe in, “Until death do ye part.” “Families are forever.” “The family is ordained of God.” “Marriage between man and woman is essential to God’s eternal plan.”
9. Degrees of Glory
After the final judgment everyone will receive a degree of glory based on their faith in Jesus, their works, and the desires of their heart. Each degree is more glorious than earth life. We do not believe that a just and loving God would condemn most of his children to eternal damnation and never-ending torture in hell.
10. Eternal Progress, Exaltation, Deification of Man
We believe that man can become like God, and joint heirs with Christ. This doctrine of deification is clear from modern revelation and scriptures. It is also found in the Bible, and it was openly preached until the fifth century.
11. Faith and Works
The Bible teaches that faith without works is dead, and works without faith is dead. This is the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints. Of course, the first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no salvation or exaltation without Jesus and God’s grace. (Article of Faith 1:4)
12. The Great Apostasy and the Divine Restoration of the Gospel and Church
Jesus Christ established His church on the earth while He lived among men. It taught certain doctrines and had a specific organization. It operated under power of the priesthood, and it enjoyed the gifts of the spirit.
Following the death of Jesus and His apostles, his church was lost from the earth through apostasy, as foretold in the Bible. The reformation brought into clear view the results of the apostasy.
The gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth, and his church re-established, through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the same doctrines, organization, priesthood, and gifts of the spirit as Christ’s ancient church.
13. Foundation of Twelve Apostles
“We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets . . . and so forth.” (Articles of Faith 1: 6)
Jesus built his church on a foundation of twelve apostles. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is still built on a foundation of twelve living apostles. (Eph. 2:19-20; 4:11-14)
14. Baptism by Immersion for the Remission of Sins
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins . . .” (Article of Faith 1: 4) Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. Baptism by immersion by one having authority is an essential commandment.
15. The Word of Wisdom, the Lord’s Modern Law of Health
The Lord, through his prophets, gives laws of health to protect his children. These laws are based on the health threats and needs of the times. In 1833, revealed the modern “Word of Wisdom.” (D&C 89) It prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco, and “hot drinks,” being defined as tea and coffee. It recommends using fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains, and eating red meat sparingly.
16. Redemption and Baptism for the Dead
Traditional Christians believe that billions of people, including babies and small children, who died without a accepting Christ, will be condemned to hell, even though they never learned about Jesus. This belief is not consistent with a fair, just, and loving God. We believe that everyone will be given a chance to accept Jesus as their Savior, Lord, and Redeemer. These people will be taught the gospel after death in the spirit world, and the sacred covenants and ordinances, like baptism, can be performed vicariously on their behalf in holy temples.
17. Infants and Children are Alive in Christ
Traditional Christians believe that, because of the Fall of Adam, we are all born in sin. We believe that the atonement of Jesus Christ overcame the Fall and therefore children are born innocent. They are “alive in Christ.” “We believe that [because of the atonement of Jesus] men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.” (Articles of Faith 1: 2)
18. Priesthood Authority
“We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.” (Articles of Faith 1: 5)
19. Modern Miracles and the Gifts of the Spirit
We believe in the same gifts of the spirit that existed in Christ’s ancient church. “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues . . . “(Articles of Faith 1:7) The members of the church frequently witness the gifts of healing, revelation, and miracles.
20. Divinely Inspired U.S. Constitution
We believe that God established the Constitution and Bill of Rights through wise men whom God raised up for that purpose. America is a nation chosen to be a light to the world. The Constitution’s guarantees of religious liberty, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press set the stage for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
These, and other distinctive beliefs and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attest to the restoration of Christ’s gospel and church through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Those who decline to accept the restored gospel, or those who decide leave the church are rejecting these wonderful distinctive beliefs.
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