Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yes, Mormons Are Christians (Part II)

Dear Christian Friend,

With apologies for the long break between posts, Madame L now turns to some more of the Articles of Faith as answers to common questions about the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Madame L also wants to explain why she's using the Articles of Faith to explain LDS beliefs by quoting from a lesson manual for young children, which gives the history of this document:

"In 1842 a man named George Barstow was writing a history of the state of New Hampshire, and he wanted to include a chapter about the members of the Church living in New Hampshire. Mr. Barstow did not know much about the Church and wanted to find out what the Latter-day Saints believed. Since the headquarters of the Church were in Nauvoo, Illinois, Mr. Barstow contacted his friend John Wentworth, who was the editor of a newspaper in Chicago, Illinois.

"Mr. Wentworth asked Joseph Smith about the beliefs and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet answered with a letter that has become known as the Wentworth Letter. In it he told Mr. Wentworth about the First Vision and how he received and translated the gold plates, and he also described the organization of the Church and the persecution and history of the Saints. In the last part of this important letter, the Prophet listed some of the basic beliefs of the Church. This list has become known as the Articles of Faith."

Now, continuing with the Articles of Faith themselves, to answer your questions about the church's teachings:
5 and 6. How are your church leaders different from the ministers and priests of other Protestant churches and the various Catholic churches?
Fifth Article of Faith: 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.

Sixth Article of Faith: We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

From a church lesson manual, a little more discussion: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not break off from another church. It is a restored church, established by Jesus Christ through His prophets in the last days...The restored Church of Jesus Christ is patterned after the Church established during Jesus’ mortal ministry and the ministry of His Apostles, with priesthood quorums, gifts of the Spirit, sacred scripture, and continuing revelation from God."

7. Do you believe in the same spiritual gifts given to the members of Christ's early Church?

Yes, we do. Seventh Article of Faith: "We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth."

"We believe that from the very beginning the Lord established a plan for His children on earth. He would, in times and seasons, have the priesthood on earth to bless mankind with the authority to perform the sacred ordinances that would prove man’s obedience to His will. There were tests to be conducted as we progressed in each step towards achieving God’s greatest gift, the gift of life eternal. Fundamental, then, is having faith in His plan, in His law, to be clean and holy and to repent of our sins, and to partake of the sacred ordinance of baptism required for admission into His celestial kingdom. And after baptism to be given the great gift, that Comforter, to abide with us, to lead and guide and direct us as we progress through mortality—all of these done under the authority given to mankind from God. Each man who officiates can trace that authority directly back to the Lord Himself, who bestowed that right on mankind.

"Building on the foundation established in the first five articles of faith, the sixth article tells us that an organization is necessary, and the same organization that existed in the primitive Church has been restored. The restored Church exists on the earth today, with the sacred power received through the restoration of the holy priesthood."

8. Do you believe in the Bible, and, if so, why do you also have the Book of Mormon?
We DO believe in the Bible: Eighth Article of Faith: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God."

"The eighth article states our belief in the Bible as the “word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” The Book of Mormon gives to us that second witness of the authenticity of the scriptures as recorded in the Bible. The Lord, in His divine plan for the restoration of the gospel in the latter days, brought forth the Book of Mormon as that additional witness to the mission of our Lord and Savior. It also provides a religious history that is profoundly important to our Father in Heaven’s children."

9. So you believe that God still provides revelation to humans, as He did in ancient times?
Yes, we believe God continues to provide revelation to humans individually and through prophets. We believe He will continue to provide revelation to us as He sees fit. Ninth Article of Faith: "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.

"The seventh and ninth articles profess that the heavens are not closed, that God continues to reveal His will to mankind; as He has in the past, He does now in the present, and He will in the future. Spiritual gifts are received by mankind today, just as they were in days past."

Madame L hopes this information has helped answer more of your questions. Madame L will write more about the Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in coming days. 

Please submit more questions to Madame L through the Comments space below or by e-mail to Madame L at [ellemadame] at [].

Best wishes,

Madame L

1 comment:

Ellen said...

The other day in a class I was attending I heard a quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley about critics who say Mormons are not Christians. I found something similar at this site, so I thought I'd share:'t_believe_in_the_%22traditional%22_Christ