After frequent visits to develop 35mm film (does anyone do that anymore?) and uplifing conversations with the nice girl behind the counter about God, we turned to email to continue our conversation about the difference between Christian churches. Below is her question and my response.
“It was awfully nice of you to think of inviting me, but I’m actually already very involved with the singles group in my own church. I do have one question, though, if you feel inclined to answer. If I remember correctly, you are a Mormon, right? I am a Christian, and I’ve heard some things from other people, but I’m wondering what your take is on the fundamental difference between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity (biblically speaking, of course). I hope you also had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Hello. Yes I am a “Mormon”, although that’s a funny term to describe me, you have an excellent question, thanks for asking. I have noticed people hear a lot about us from a lot of different sources. The basis for any religion, particularly Christianity to which we both subscribe, is the foundation of the Church upon which it is founded. I think we can ask some important questions; what is the foundation of the church? Why are we members of it? What does it do for me now and in the here-after? I spent two years in the Ukraine among a wonderful people who have been smitten by years of poverty, disaster and Godlessness. Those that did belong to a church did so because it was the tradition of their fathers or families. There wasn’t any direct tie or benefit for them besides the Christmas and Easter celebrations. So what is the difference you wonder? Where do I begin? We believe as you do in a living and loving God especially in the divinity of Jesus Christ (his crucifixion and resurrection), in His Gospel and commandments, in the world to come, in the Bible, and the Holy Ghost.
As Latter Day Saints, we have a very unique message to the world and even Christian world for we believe in the same church organization that existed in the primitive Church; complete with Apostles, Prophets (as in olden days), Pastors, Teachers and so forth (Ephesians 2:19-20, 4:11-14), that there is one faith and one baptism (Ephesians 4:5) necessary for us to enter his Kingdom (), that God calls and leads his people through Revelation and Prophets (Amos 3:7) even today that are called of God (Heb. 5:4, Exodus 28:1, 40:13-16) not a paid ministry (Isaiah 45:13, Peter 5:2), that we can receive personal revelation from God to direct all aspects of our lives (Matt 7:7) and answer our questions (James 1:5), that sacred ordinance can be performed in temples namely baptism for the dead (1 Cor. 15:16,19) and sealing families for eternity not “until death do us part”, but that those bonds continue unbroken if done by the right authority, that Christ set up his church here on the American continent over two thousand years ago as he did in Jerusalem and ministered to “other sheep not of this fold” (John 10:16) but who stand as a witness through the words they wrote contained in other scripture that stand as “another testament of Christ” (2 Cor. 13:1) we call the Book of Mormon, that there was an apostasy prophesied before and during Christ’s ministry (2 Thes. 2:3, Amos 8:11) in which His Church and true Authority or Priesthood was lost from the earth in what we call the Dark Ages (Isaiah 24:5, 2 Tim 3:5), that because there was an apostasy there needed to be a restoration of Priesthood, Principles and Church (Acts 3:19-20), that this restoration of the Priesthood and Church happened in our dispensation (Matt 17:11) as Christ prayed it would 2000 years ago in his prayer (Matt 6:10), restored with all its glory and power (Heb. 5:4-10) including the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:14-17) and truth about the Character of God being separate (John 17:11, 20:17) having flesh and bone (Luke 24:36-39, Acts 1:9-11), that the foundation of this church “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” is Jesus Christ who personally restored it through a humble boy who too once wondered why there were so many churches divided again themselves and pondered which of all, if any of the churches was true, that he received an answer and was tutored and inspired by God to restore Christ’s Church answering the questions (where we came from, why were are here, where we go), that God loves all of his children upon this earth and would have them also come to a knowledge of all things (1 Tim. 2:4), that “by their fruits” people with recognize and know His Church (Matt 7:16-20) for Hebrews 13:8.
Those are a few scriptures I could think of, but to sum all that up there are 13 simple points in what we believe you can read here: Articles of the Latter Day Saint Faith. What do you think? Why are you a member of Orthodox Christianity?
The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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 own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances 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 organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
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 to be 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 (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon 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 they 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.