An Introduction to Mormonism

An Introduction to Mormonism

An Introduction to Mormonism

An Introduction to Mormonism

Synopsis

Although one of the fastest growing religious movements in the world, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remains a mystery in terms of its core beliefs and theological structure. This timely book provides an important introduction to the basic history, doctrines and practices of The LDS--the "Mormon" Church. Emphasizing sacred texts and prophecies as well as the crucial Temple rituals of endowments, marriage and baptism, it is written by a non-believer, who describes Mormonism in ways that non-Mormons can understand.

Excerpt

A vision, a plan and a church: these are three major elements of Mormonism. The first vision produced a prophet, the plan of salvation a blueprint of doctrine, and the Church an organization through which vision and plan are realized. This threefold basis of the religious movement founded by Joseph Smith is outlined in this introduction alongside the two notions of 'relations' and 'principles' that run throughout this book as interlinked perspectives underlying the Latter-day Saint way of life.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the formal name of the movement popularly called Mormonism, is often abbreviated to LDS or the LDS Church, and members often simply refer to the Church. Its members can, similarly, be called Saints, Latter-day Saints, LDS, or Mormons. When using 'Mormon', this book does so as a simple description of the Church or its members and not in any derogatory sense even though I acknowledge that Saints themselves do not prefer that title. Occasionally, reference will be made to the Utah Church in order to distinguish it from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), whose headquarters is at Independence, Missouri, and which now calls itself the Community of Christ. These name-related issues, associated with changing identities are discussed in chapter 9.

This book focuses on Mormon beliefs, doctrine and opinions in relation to the Church's sacred texts, epics and revelations. Together these primary sources offer a broad tradition of Mormon theology as the means by which Latter-day Saints have approached God and the meaning of life. Secondary streams of opinion come from a small number of books by central church leaders that have gained something of an official status (e.g. Talmage 1915), or have been accepted with appropriate amendment (e.g. McConkie, B. R. 1966), or even with caution (e.g. Roberts, B. H. 1994). Others interpret LDS thought in a more directly personal way (e.g. McMurrin 1959, 1969; White 1987). Still, Mormonism has by no means developed as formal an academic tradition of theology as is present in many other major Christian . . .

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