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Mormonism Essay Research Paper Church of Jesus

Mormonism Essay, Research Paper Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized by Joseph Smith in Western New York on April 6, 1830, and by 1978, spread to more than seventy nations. One uniqueness of the Mormon religion is that it was the first church to have begun in the United States.

Mormonism Essay, Research Paper

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized by Joseph Smith in Western New York on April 6, 1830, and by 1978, spread to more than seventy nations. One uniqueness of the Mormon religion is that it was the first church to have begun in the United States.

Following the revivals of the 1800’s, religion entered a temporary decline in Western New York, reawakened in 1807-1808, then declined again because of the military exciteme The Chnts of 1812.

After this time, a new wave of revivalism began, in liberal churches such as the Unitarians and to conservative churches such as the Congregationalists. Not surprisingly, as all of these churches participated in revivals, there was plenty of squabbling to go around.

Joseph Smith Jr. was born in Sharon, Vermont, on December 23, 1805, and as a boy moved with his family to New York. His family by no means had it easy, in their first two years in New York they ran a small shop in town and hired themselves out as laborers to more prosperous citizens. Joseph Smith Jr. was taught at home, and he was literate.

Joseph Smith had his first “vision” when he was between fourteen and sixteen years of age. He reported this to his parents and of course the claim that God and Jesus Christ actually appeared to a modern man was somewhat doubted. “Faced with Joseph Smith’s account of a subjective religious experience in a literal historical setting, writers of the past have either accepted it as fact, or more commonly, rejected it as falsehood or delusion.” (Arrington p.5) There seemed to be no middle ground on the issue.

The account of the first “vision” describes Joseph Smith’s confusion as a boy over the many different religious expressions going on. Inspired by the words of James he was asking God for wisdom. He went into the woods to pray and in the words of Joseph Smith, “I saw a pillar of light over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me . . . when the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spoke unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other, This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him.” To Joseph this meant that he was forgiven of his sins and was not to join any of the organized churches.

For the Mormons the visit of an angel to Joseph Smith during the night of September 21, 1823, signaled the documentary foundation of Mormonism. A statue representing the angel stands atop the Salt Lake Temple. In one hand the figure holds a trumpet: in the other are clasped plates symbolic of the Book of Mormon, the ancient religious record whose existence Smith claimed was revealed to him in 1823.

Shortly after his first vision Joseph Smith was concerned with his lack of spirituality. He was praying on Sept. 21 when he was rewarded with the appearance of an angelic being who said his name was Moroni. It was Moroni who told Joseph Smith where the gold leaves or “plates” were located. Smith tried to keep this secret, however, word got out. And today, this religion is practiced by millions in the United States.

The governing scriptures of the Mormon Church are the Bibles, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.

The Bible is the first of the “Four Standard Works” of the Mormon Church. The King James is most widely used. Because of the manner in which the Bible has come down through the centuries, with errors in translations and interpretations of language, the church makes a reservation for its own interpretation as given in its “Articles of Faith,” number 8: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly . . . ”

The Book of Mormon is the second of the four standard works of the church. It is a direct translation from ancient records (gold plates) of God’s dealings with ancient peoples on the Western Continent. Many of these civilizations which are described in the book to have chariots and swords and all types of fantastic things, have never been proven to exist by archeological discoveries. Historians alike tend to disbelieve the claims of these civilizations. In number 8 of the Articles of Faith, the church signifies the importance of this book, ” . . . we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.”

In the Book of Mormon, a record with detailed description is given to the appearance and visitation of Jesus Christ the Savior to the people on the American Continent, following His death and resurrection in Jerusalem.

The Doctrine and Covenants or books of Commandments contain modern day revelations, written mostly verbatim as given by God to Joseph Smith. They deal with some great variety subjects pertaining to the organization of the church: its name, special instructions to many men in the beginning of its history; the counsel on diet and health; explanations on the life to come; and instruction on the authority to act and perform ceremonies in the name of God, such as baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and many others.

The Pearl of Great Price is the fourth of the Four Standard Works of the church. It contains many selections from the revelations, translations, and narrations of Joseph Smith. The latter part or second section of the book contains a translation of some ancient records which came into Joseph Smith’s possession. These records were on papyrus and came from the catacombs of Egypt. They are the words of Abraham, written by his own hand while he was in Egypt. These papyri were later destroyed in the great Chicago fire.

The Articles of Faith give a basic outline of the Mormon Doctrine.

1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2. We believe that men will be punished for their sins, and not for Adam’s transgressions.

3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinance of the Gospel.

4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

5. 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.

6. We believe in the same organizations existed in the Primitive Church, viz., apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.

7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, vision, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.

8. We believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon is the Word of God.

9. 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.

10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be built upon this (the American) continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what the may.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

The Mormon Church also has many distinct beliefs that most people know about. Probably the most commonly known fact about Mormonism is their tremendous missionary work. Most Christian missionaries believe in ministering to the non-Christians. The Mormons on the other hand believe their work is to be done among all people, both Christian and non-Christian who are not Mormon. They believe that most Christians are misled.

“They believe they have the complete Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is so different form any Christian or non-Christian church that missionary work, or the sharing of this complete Gospel of Christ with all peoples, is their accepted obligation and goal.”(Howells p.116)

All eligible and worthy adult members of the Mormon Church are possible candidates for missionary work, this may be full or part-time service. A member doing missionary work supports himself or herself completely through saving enough money beforehand.

A missionary’s term averages 2-2.5 years. Their work is organized and supervised. When their mission is completed, the member returns to his or her normal life or if they choose they can continue their work.

There are from five to ten thousand full-time missionaries, each self-supporting, who are in the “field” most of the time. There are also close to five thousand part-time missionaries.

Mormons are also very concerned with their own health. Their moral code can be summarized as their body is seen as a tabernacle, and a spiritual child of God. To defile this tabernacle is to hamper the free operation of man’s own personal eternal spirit.

They severely believe in marriage. Adultery, by either spouse, is ground for being disfellowshipped from the church. It seems kind of odd to me that they used to practice polygamy. This practice was discontinued after it was made illegal and the law “freed” them from practicing polygamy.

Their Health Code in part implies to eat wisely and understandingly. Eat only what will build your body. Eat meat sparingly and then preferably during winter. Eat fruits and vegetables freely. All grains are good, but some are better for animals, and wheat is best for man.

Moderation is the key for living. They are also to abstain from several things such as tobacco, alcohol and any drink containing unnatural stimulating substances such as caffeine.

The Mormon Church is very proud of its welfare programs. The Welfare Plan of the Mormon Church is a combination of Red Cross, Flood and Disaster Relief, Employment Services and Community Chest.

“Every true Latter-Day Saint believes that Gad requires the membership of His church to look after the temporal wants of its needy members so that none shall suffer for the necessities of life.” (Howells p.136)

The products produced by the welfare organizations are not for sale. They are kept in the bishop’s storehouses, established exclusively for that purpose. All the goods, foods and materials are distributed on the bishop’s orders to the worthy poor on the basis of need.

To be prepared for a “rainy day” or whatever may come to disrupt orderly and normal living, the church leaders have also advised each family to store sufficient nutritious foods to last for one or two years as circumstances of the individual member permits.

Over the years, one major practice of Mormonism has dramatically changed, and that is the practice of polygamy. The announcement of the doctrine of polygamy by Joseph Smith to his followers was a very serious and grave undertaking.

The Mormons believe that they have the restored religion of the past. As it was revealed to Joseph Smith this old way of marriage which was practiced in ancient times should be reestablished.

When Joseph Smith announced this revelation most of the Mormons were strict-monogamist, and this claim was shocking to them. But they did accept it as a commandment. Not everyone was allowed to practice polygamy. They had to prove themselves capable of maintaining more than one family.

The publicity given to this controversial practice is said to have been blown out of proportion. “There were never at any time more than 3 percent of the families of the church who practiced polygamy.” (Howlles p. 140)

In their practice of polygamy, the Mormons, at the time, were living according to the religious liberties granted to all Americans by the Constitution of the United States. However, Congress enacted a law prohibiting polygamy, the Mormons accepted it, and (supposedly) since October 6, 1890, have neither sanctioned nor practiced polygamy.

Members of the Mormon Church are very respectable people. They take care of their homes, their bodies, their families, and their government. They believe that the Constitution of the United States is an inspired document. They are committed to upholding the law of the country to which they live. When Congress passed the law abolishing polygamy, they complied with that law because they were “released from their obligation” to comply with the commandment to practice polygamy.

Women also play a vital role in the Mormon religion. From the very beginning of the organization of the Mormon Church, women have voted on church matters.

In the first provisional government set up by the pioneers after their arrival in the Great Salt Lake valley (1847-1850) women were also given the franchise to vote on political issues. “Thus the Mormons as a group were among the very first in America to grant women the franchise to vote in both religious and political affairs.” (Howlles p.146)

During my interview, I spoke with an “assistant” of the bishop of the local ward and he was telling me things that really showed the differences between what I believe, and what the Mormons profess to believe. He (and the Mormons) do not believe in one heaven. They believe there are different levels of the Celestial Kingdom and your behavior and works on earth determine what level you go on.

Another belief he told me about was that all members are to wear special under clothes purchased specially through the church to protect them from evil spirits. I had to probe for that one. I had been told that a long time ago and didn’t believe it, but some members of the church for a time wear these protective garments.

Another interesting point that I learned about was the fact that they believe that marriage isn’t “till death do us part.” They believe that you are married for eternity. The whole family will be reunited in the Celestial Kingdom and live forever there. That is a very serious commitment. Each individual must pick their partners very carefully.

The Mormons are good people, and contribute some beneficial things to the American society, but I have found there to be many faults with some fundamental issues they believe in. First of all, Joseph Smith Jr. seemed to be a shady character from most of the references that I have read. His neighbors claimed he was always over exaggerating things and making up stories. I also discovered that the plates that Smith found were most likely falsified documents. He said the characters were of some Egyptian, Caldiac, Assyrian and Arabic languages, all put together. He claimed to have these characters authenticated by Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia University. Well, the professor says (on the record) that one of Smith’s men came to him and gave him the documents. The professor told him that it was nothing but garbage characters and to beware of “rogues” and liars. The language was supposed to be a “reformed Egyptian” but linguists have refuted it as mythical. These tablets are supposed to be telling stories of ancient civilizations, which never existed. I just find that such a falsehood could be found with one of their documents, how can I believe anything else they have to say. I did learn a lot about the Mormons, but I think for the most part it has helped to strengthen my Christian beliefs.

References

1. Affington, Leonard. The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-Day Saints, New York:Alfred A Knott, Inc., 1979.

2. Gottliev, Robert and Peter Wiley. Americas Saint-The Rise of Mormon Power, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1984.

3. Howells, Rulon. The Mormon Story, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1962.

4. Martin, R. Dr. Walter. The Kingdom of the cults, Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship In. 1977.

5. Shipps, Jan. Mormonism, The Story of a New Tradition, Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1985.

6. Smith, Joseph. Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1963.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized by Joseph Smith in Western New York on April 6, 1830, and by 1978, spread to more than seventy nations. One uniqueness of the Mormon religion is that it was the first church to have begun in the United States.

Following the revivals of the 1800’s, religion entered a temporary decline in Western New York, reawakened in 1807-1808, then declined again because of the military exciteme The Chnts of 1812.

After this time, a new wave of revivalism began, in liberal churches such as the Unitarians and to conservative churches such as the Congregationalists. Not surprisingly, as all of these churches participated in revivals, there was plenty of squabbling to go around.

Joseph Smith Jr. was born in Sharon, Vermont, on December 23, 1805, and as a boy moved with his family to New York. His family by no means had it easy, in their first two years in New York they ran a small shop in town and hired themselves out as laborers to more prosperous citizens. Joseph Smith Jr. was taught at home, and he was literate.

Joseph Smith had his first “vision” when he was between fourteen and sixteen years of age. He reported this to his parents and of course the claim that God and Jesus Christ actually appeared to a modern man was somewhat doubted. “Faced with Joseph Smith’s account of a subjective religious experience in a literal historical setting, writers of the past have either accepted it as fact, or more commonly, rejected it as falsehood or delusion.” (Arrington p.5) There seemed to be no middle ground on the issue.

The account of the first “vision” describes Joseph Smith’s confusion as a boy over the many different religious expressions going on. Inspired by the words of James he was asking God for wisdom. He went into the woods to pray and in the words of Joseph Smith, “I saw a pillar of light over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me . . . when the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spoke unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other, This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him.” To Joseph this meant that he was forgiven of his sins and was not to join any of the organized churches.

For the Mormons the visit of an angel to Joseph Smith during the night of September 21, 1823, signaled the documentary foundation of Mormonism. A statue representing the angel stands atop the Salt Lake Temple. In one hand the figure holds a trumpet: in the other are clasped plates symbolic of the Book of Mormon, the ancient religious record whose existence Smith claimed was revealed to him in 1823.

Shortly after his first vision Joseph Smith was concerned with his lack of spirituality. He was praying on Sept. 21 when he was rewarded with the appearance of an angelic being who said his name was Moroni. It was Moroni who told Joseph Smith where the gold leaves or “plates” were located. Smith tried to keep this secret, however, word got out. And today, this religion is practiced by millions in the United States.

The governing scriptures of the Mormon Church are the Bibles, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.

The Bible is the first of the “Four Standard Works” of the Mormon Church. The King James is most widely used. Because of the manner in which the Bible has come down through the centuries, with errors in translations and interpretations of language, the church makes a reservation for its own interpretation as given in its “Articles of Faith,” number 8: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly . . . ”

The Book of Mormon is the second of the four standard works of the church. It is a direct translation from ancient records (gold plates) of God’s dealings with ancient peoples on the Western Continent. Many of these civilizations which are described in the book to have chariots and swords and all types of fantastic things, have never been proven to exist by archeological discoveries. Historians alike tend to disbelieve the claims of these civilizations. In number 8 of the Articles of Faith, the church signifies the importance of this book, ” . . . we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.”

In the Book of Mormon, a record with detailed description is given to the appearance and visitation of Jesus Christ the Savior to the people on the American Continent, following His death and resurrection in Jerusalem.

The Doctrine and Covenants or books of Commandments contain modern day revelations, written mostly verbatim as given by God to Joseph Smith. They deal with some great variety subjects pertaining to the organization of the church: its name, special instructions to many men in the beginning of its history; the counsel on diet and health; explanations on the life to come; and instruction on the authority to act and perform ceremonies in the name of God, such as baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and many others.

The Pearl of Great Price is the fourth of the Four Standard Works of the church. It contains many selections from the revelations, translations, and narrations of Joseph Smith. The latter part or second section of the book contains a translation of some ancient records which came into Joseph Smith’s possession. These records were on papyrus and came from the catacombs of Egypt. They are the words of Abraham, written by his own hand while he was in Egypt. These papyri were later destroyed in the great Chicago fire.

The Articles of Faith give a basic outline of the Mormon Doctrine.

1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2. We believe that men will be punished for their sins, and not for Adam’s transgressions.

3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinance of the Gospel.

4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

5. 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.

6. We believe in the same organizations existed in the Primitive Church, viz., apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.

7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, vision, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.

8. We believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon is the Word of God.

9. 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.

10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be built upon this (the American) continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what the may.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

The Mormon Church also has many distinct beliefs that most people know about. Probably the most commonly known fact about Mormonism is their tremendous missionary work. Most Christian missionaries believe in ministering to the non-Christians. The Mormons on the other hand believe their work is to be done among all people, both Christian and non-Christian who are not Mormon. They believe that most Christians are misled.

“They believe they have the complete Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is so different form any Christian or non-Christian church that missionary work, or the sharing of this complete Gospel of Christ with all peoples, is their accepted obligation and goal.”(Howells p.116)

All eligible and worthy adult members of the Mormon Church are possible candidates for missionary work, this may be full or part-time service. A member doing missionary work supports himself or herself completely through saving enough money beforehand.

A missionary’s term averages 2-2.5 years. Their work is organized and supervised. When their mission is completed, the member returns to his or her normal life or if they choose they can continue their work.

There are from five to ten thousand full-time missionaries, each self-supporting, who are in the “field” most of the time. There are also close to five thousand part-time missionaries.

Mormons are also very concerned with their own health. Their moral code can be summarized as their body is seen as a tabernacle, and a spiritual child of God. To defile this tabernacle is to hamper the free operation of man’s own personal eternal spirit.

They severely believe in marriage. Adultery, by either spouse, is ground for being disfellowshipped from the church. It seems kind of odd to me that they used to practice polygamy. This practice was discontinued after it was made illegal and the law “freed” them from practicing polygamy.

Their Health Code in part implies to eat wisely and understandingly. Eat only what will build your body. Eat meat sparingly and then preferably during winter. Eat fruits and vegetables freely. All grains are good, but some are better for animals, and wheat is best for man.

Moderation is the key for living. They are also to abstain from several things such as tobacco, alcohol and any drink containing unnatural stimulating substances such as caffeine.

The Mormon Church is very proud of its welfare programs. The Welfare Plan of the Mormon Church is a combination of Red Cross, Flood and Disaster Relief, Employment Services and Community Chest.

“Every true Latter-Day Saint believes that Gad requires the membership of His church to look after the temporal wants of its needy members so that none shall suffer for the necessities of life.” (Howells p.136)

The products produced by the welfare organizations are not for sale. They are kept in the bishop’s storehouses, established exclusively for that purpose. All the goods, foods and materials are distributed on the bishop’s orders to the worthy poor on the basis of need.

To be prepared for a “rainy day” or whatever may come to disrupt orderly and normal living, the church leaders have also advised each family to store sufficient nutritious foods to last for one or two years as circumstances of the individual member permits.

Over the years, one major practice of Mormonism has dramatically changed, and that is the practice of polygamy. The announcement of the doctrine of polygamy by Joseph Smith to his followers was a very serious and grave undertaking.

The Mormons believe that they have the restored religion of the past. As it was revealed to Joseph Smith this old way of marriage which was practiced in ancient times should be reestablished.

When Joseph Smith announced this revelation most of the Mormons were strict-monogamist, and this claim was shocking to them. But they did accept it as a commandment. Not everyone was allowed to practice polygamy. They had to prove themselves capable of maintaining more than one family.

The publicity given to this controversial practice is said to have been blown out of proportion. “There were never at any time more than 3 percent of the families of the church who practiced polygamy.” (Howlles p. 140)

In their practice of polygamy, the Mor

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