The Mormon Church was founded in the United States in the 19th century. It is also called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or The Church of Jesus Christ. Although Mormonism is a Christian faith, it is very different from the other sects of Christianity. According to Mormons, the other Christian churches have gone off course, and their church is the only one that is modeled after the church envisioned by Jesus. Their holy books are: The Holy Bible (King James Version), the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. With 12 million members throughout the world, the Mormon Church has been active in spreading the gospel throughout its history.

History of Mormonism

In 1820, Joseph Smith received several revelations from God. Through these, God told him to restore the Church of Christ. Smith also saw writings on gold plates. The text was written from 600 BC to 400 AD by prophets in Meso-America. Smith translated the text into the Book of Mormon and founded the Mormon Church in New York in 1830. Opposition to the Church was always a problem. The Mormons moved to Illinois. After many arrests and stays in prisons, Smith was eventually murdered in 1844. Thus, led by Brigham Young, the Mormons moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1847. Young referred to their new city as the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. The Mormon faith has been growing since then, despite its share of problems.

Mormon Beliefs

The Mormons believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost, which together form the Godhead. According to Mormon faith, God created the world. He has a body, is married, and is able to have children. Jesus is central to the Mormon faith. They believe that people become like gods after their life on Earth, and that people are like gods before birth, as well. For Mormons, salvation is to live eternally as a family in the celestial kingdom. Mormons believe in living prophets. The first of their prophets was Joseph Smith; every president of the Mormon Church is a prophet. Mormons emphasize the importance of family life and moral values. They are against abortion, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, gambling, pornography, the consumption of coffee and tea, among other things. It has been over a century that the Mormon Church has banned polygamy. Their major holidays are Christmas, Easter, and Pioneer Day on July 27 (marking the anniversary of the Mormons' move to Utah).

Mormon Customs

Instead of a professional priesthood, the Mormon Church has lay ministers. Communal worship takes place in an unadorned Chapel. The Mormon Temple is only used for holy ceremonies. Prayer consists of a simple and honest talk with God. Sunday is the day of worship. Mormons fast on the first Sunday of each month, when they refrain from two consecutive meals. Monday evenings are reserved for family time. Mormons follow an ancient tradition called tithing and give the Church ten percent of their annual income. Mormon rites include: weddings, baptisms, baptisms for the dead, funerals (burying is preferred), ordinances, and temple ordinances.

By Ryan Brown