The religion sometimes referred to as Mormonism is correctly called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon is a nickname and may be applied to the members, but not used as the name of the Church itself. This distinction is very important to Mormons because the Book of Mormon records Jesus Christ as warning that if a church is named after a man, it is that man’s church. If the people wanted their Church to be the Savior’s church, they must name it after Him.
Just as Jesus Christ is in the center of the name of the Church, it is at the very heart of the religion of the Mormons. Each Sunday, Mormons meet in Sacrament Meeting, the primary worship service, to take the Sacrament, which is the Mormon term for communion. They do this in remembrance of the blood and body of Jesus Christ, which was sacrificed for them. This ordinance refers to the atonement of Jesus Christ, when Jesus took on our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane and then died for us on the cross so we could be resurrected and live forever. As Mormons wait for the sacrament to be brought to them, they are instructed to ponder on the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Mormons believe they could not be saved without this atonement. It is impossible for mortals to live a sinless life and so a Savior was required. Jesus Christ is the only one of God’s children who could carry out this atonement and so Christians owe Him their lives—quite literally. Had He not volunteered to take on this responsibility that only He could fulfill, we could not be forgiven for our sins, return to God, or live forever. We would have no hope of returning to be with God for eternity. Many of the most precious teachings of the gospel might not exist had He not come to earth to teach us the higher laws. For these reasons, and because we return His love with our love, Mormons center their lives around Jesus Christ and His teachings.
Mormons believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, as taught in the Bible. His mother is Mary. Mormons do not teach that this parentage came through an intimate relationship because the Bible and the Book of Mormon teach that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born. In fact, they have no teaching at all as to how this happened and don’t consider it important to their eternal salvation. Mormons reject the non-Biblical teaching that the Holy Ghost is Jesus’ Father.
Mormons believe that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. They do not believe they are saved by their works, but rather that God has required them to keep the commandments as part of their covenant (a promise between God and mankind).
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 7:21).
24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen (2 Nephi 10:24).
The first scripture reference above is from the Bible. The second scripture reference is from the Book of Mormon. Mormons use both books of scripture as part of their official sources of gospel information.
In the year 2000, Mormon leaders issued a declaration called “The Living Christ.” This declaration accurately outlines Mormon beliefs about Jesus Christ and most Mormons hang a copy in their own homes for reference. It can be read in its entirety here:
It includes a brief summary of the mission of Jesus Christ:
“He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.
He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.”