Tonight former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is going to give a speech on his Mormon faith. I believe that one aspect of this blog is to inform it’s readers about topics in the news. I have been looking for a straight forward “small” survey of the Mormon faith. I have a little book called “Pocket Dictionary of North American Denominations” It is published by InterVarsity Press so I am not sure what bent it has. I have been looking for something that is not twisted or bent in any direction but that is very difficult. I will reproduce a few pages from the book below.
Mormon beliefs and practices. Utah Mormonism is an indigenous religious movement that incorporates American values of self-reliance, pragmatism, progress and democracy. It fits into the religious context of early nineteenth-century New England, which produced the Oneida Community and a host of other communal experiments based on a theology of human perfectibility and an implicit belief in the essential divinity of humankind.
The Book of Mormon is fundamentally an early-American romance based on the Bible. LDS missionaries stress the importance the Bible and the Book of Mormon as sources for their beliefs, down playing the role of continuing revelation characteristic
of their church. Yet in reality they read both the Bible and the Book of Mormon in light of later revelations given to Joseph Smith and successive prophets. These include Doctrine and Covenants and The Perls of Great Price as well as other revelations given to church leaders since Smith’s death.
Structurally, Latter-day Saints theology is held together by an evolutionary framework known as the doctrine of eternal progression. This belief is summed up by the phrase “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” Thus human destiny is to evolve to Godhood through obedience to the laws and ordinances revealed to the LDS church. Spiritual progress is, however, conditional on choices made by the individual, making LDS theology an extreme form of Arminianism at best. The doctrine of eternal progression claims by Brigham Young and other early leaders that Adam was the God of this earth also opens the door to criticism of incipient polytheism. Some Mormon scholars, however, point out that these are not part of official LDS doctrine.
Belief in preexistent souls and the existence of various heavenly realms endow Utah Mormonism with a system of rewards that motivate individuals to participate in elaborate temple ceremonies. In many respects these practices reflect the influences of popular religious (both orthodox and unorthodox) and scientific beliefs of the early nineteenth century. However, contrary to sensational claims by some evangelical writers, there seems to be no evidence that Mormon temple rites involve explicit Satanism.
Recently, the Latter-day Saints have made a concerted effort to become part of mainstream America, and it appears that they are succeeding. In spite of their unconventional past and the doctrinal and scientific problems that continue to dog them, they are known as a socially and politically conservative, morally respectable, clean-living, industrious and family-oriented people.
Mormons and their church have had difficulty living down a couple of questionable social teachings from their past (although these seem to have had little effect on the church’s growth). First is the issue of polygamy. It is historically established that Joseph Smith practiced and taught polygamy. It is also clear that this doctrine was central to his entire theological system and is an “everlasting covenant” (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 132). In 1890 under the leadership of their president, Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898), the Utah Mormons officially declared, “We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice.” This was done in order to reach a political accommodation with the U.S. government. And in 1904 the LDS leadership forbade their members to enter into new polygamous relationships. A few small splinter groups, however, continue to be polygamous, and occasional media reports to this effect plague the Latter-day Saints.
Second, reflecting the predominant attitudes of the nineteenth century, Joseph Smith clearly taught that African Americans could not enter the Mormon priesthood – an office held by most male church members. This racial segregationism, however, was countered in 1978, when President Spencer W. Kimball reported that he had received a revelation from God extending the priesthood to all male members. Yet another example of continuing revelation correcting past infelicities can be seen in changes made to 2 Nephi 30:6 of the Book of Mormon, where God is said to promise to make certain Native Americans “a white and delightsome people.” Since 1978 the wording has read pure instead of white.
From the beginning Christians have rejected Mormon claims to be a Christian church. Major differences remain in the doctrines of God, salvation, Scripture and eternal destinies, to name but a few. Although most Mormons sincerely believe that they are Christians, the differences between the teachings of the Latter-day Saints and traditional Christianity are so great that most, if not all, other North American denominations do not officially recognize the LDS as a Christian church.
If a Mormon presents him/herself for entry into the Orthodox Church the must be baptized because we, as Orthodox, do not recognize Mormon Baptism.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – From Wikipedia
I hope this information helps!