Often, when people write or teach about Mormons (a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), they focus on teachings that are untrue, are personal opinions of some Mormons but are not official doctrine, or are outside the core doctrine. Although Mormonism is a very complex religion, most things Mormons believe are seldom if ever still taught. (They are still true, but are not taught because they are not essential.)
Instead, Mormons tend to focus on the core beliefs, which are those that impact our salvation. They are the beliefs that really define who Mormons are and how they live their lives. Following is a brief summary of some of these core beliefs. Over time, this section will contain links to more detailed information on each topic. This list is derived from a list created by the church to help people understand Mormons better. The explanations that follow come from ordinary Mormons, not official sources unless otherwise noted.
Read the official explanations of Mormon core beliefs.
1. What do Mormons believe about God? Mormons believe in God and believe He is literally their Father in Heaven, having created their spirits before they were born. Mormons believe they lived with God before coming to Earth and that those who are here came voluntarily, vowing to find God again and to return. Mormons believe in a kind and loving, but just God who is actively involved in their lives and has a plan for each person. We also believe God has a physical but divine and perfected body that looks much like ours and that He, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose and doctrine, but not in body.
2. Are Mormons Christian? Yes. Mormons believe whole-heartedly in the divinity of Jesus Christ and in His atoning sacrifice. However, they are New Testament Christians, not fourth century Christians. They reject the doctrines voted on and adopted in the councils long after the death of Jesus Christ and His apostles.
3. Do Mormons Believe in the Trinity? Mormons prefer to use the term Godhead to describe the divine leadership of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. As mentioned earlier, they do not believe the three are one being. They accept the Biblical evidence that they are separate beings and that the oneness referred to in the Bible is one of unity in purpose, love, and doctrine.
4. What Do Mormons Believe is the purpose of life? Mormons believe life on earth is the third step in a grand plan of salvation. It is a stage in which we gain a body, families, and experiences we could gain no other way and a time to learn to have faith in God even when He is not with us. The Book of Mormon also tells us we exist to have joy.
5. Do Mormons believe in the Bible? Yes, Mormons use the King James translation of the Bible in English and approve other versions in other languages. They consider the Bible to have been perfect as it came from the hands of the original writers, although translation and other errors have sometimes altered the original text.
6. What is in the Book of Mormon? Mormons consider the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, just as the Bible is. It was written by ancient prophets in the Americas and then hidden away until modern times. The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ and one of the most powerful sections of the Book tells of Jesus Christ’s visit to the Americas after His death and resurrection, demonstrating without question His divinity and His love for all mankind, not just those in the Holy Lands.
7. What are Mormon temples? Temples were first built in Biblical times and were the house of the Lord, as they are today. In temples, which are open only to worthy Mormons, Mormons learn about Jesus Christ, covenant with God to keep His commandments, and marry for eternity rather than for this life only.
8. Do Mormons have modern apostles and prophets? Yes, Mormons accept God’s command that His church will be built on a foundation of prophets and apostles. Although everyone is entitled to personal revelation concerning his or her own life, only a prophet can receive revelation for the entire church.
9. Do Mormon women have opportunities to lead in their church? Yes, the Mormons have a lay church, so everyone works without pay. Some leadership positions are only open to women and some only to men. Other positions can be held by either gender. Women serve at both the local and the international level.
10. What are the Mormon views about family life? As mentioned earlier, Mormons believe families are meant to continue on into the eternities. When Mormons marry in the temple, they are married for eternity and their children are also joined to them forever. Because they want their families to be worthy of eternity, they make family life a top priority and have a number of traditions designed to strengthen their families.