The Mormon Religion
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the official name of the often misused title the “Mormon Church.” The misnomer comes from a book which Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) regard as holy scripture: the Book of Mormon. While Latter-day Saints accept a few different books as scripture (including the Bible), the Book of Mormon sets it uniquely apart. The Book of Mormon is a record of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas who were led out of Jerusalem by the hand of the Lord. It contains His dealings with this people and records the instance of His appearance to them after His death and resurrection. The book is another testament, along with the Bible, that Jesus is the Christ. Its name comes from the man who abridged the book, and that is where the misnomer originates.
While there is nothing offensive to Latter-day Saints about being called “Mormon,” replacing the Church’s true name with “Mormon Church” takes away the focus of the Church on Jesus Christ. Faithful Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus is the Christ, the literal Son of God, and that He died for us. They strive to live their lives to emulate His.
The Mormon religion has been steadily growing since its organization on April 6, 1830. It was organized by a man named Joseph Smith, called to be a prophet in our day. Latter-day Saints believe that this church is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the same church which Jesus Christ organized when He was on the earth. Because of wickedness, the priesthood authority was lost along with many sacred truths, and a restoration was essential to bring the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ again to the earth.
Today, the “Mormon Church” has grown into a global religion. It now has more members outside of the United States than inside it and gains more members outside the United States each year than in it. Membership exceeds 14 million people in more than 100 countries around the world. The faith centers on Jesus Christ and on following His example of love and charity to all those around us, not just to others who are members of the Mormon faith.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has one of the largest humanitarian aid programs in the world, which serves all those who stand in need of help. Millions of people have been served in response to famine, war, flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters. Individuals and communities are helped without regard to race or religion, because we are all God’s children. In addition to emergency response aid, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many programs which help communities become self-sufficient and take better care of their own.
One thing that sets Latter-day Saints apart from other Christians is their lifestyle. While many Christians live similar lifestyles to Latter-day Saints, few live so strict a code. This code, called the Word of Wisdom, is a health law which teaches faithful Latter-day Saints to take care of their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Some restrictions outlined include the consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco, as well as any substance which is harmful to the body. Latter-day Saints are also commanded to get ample rest, to limit their consumption of meat, and to get regular exercise. Each person’s adherence to this health code is personal, though the consumption of those things listed above will keep a person from being worthy to enter Mormon temples.
The Mormon religion is one of happiness, love, hope, and obedience. Those who live the religion faithfully find joy in their lives. This does not mean they have no trials or struggles, but they do have the forbearance and faith to deal with them better than if they had no knowledge of God. Latter-day Saints believe families can be together forever, as part of God’s plan for us, which also brings them joy and perspective in their lives.