Leaders of my church have recently exhorted us to write up some brief statements about our religion, for the purpose of dispelling myths and informing the curious about our faith. I thought that this would be a good place to do that.
**I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also referred to as LDS (latter day saints) or Mormons. The term 'saints' refers to believers, just as it did in the new testament.
**We are Christians
**There are over 13 million members worldwide, with about 6million in the USA.
**We believe that Christ's true church was lost from the earth following the martyrdom of the original apostles, and was restored through Joseph Smith in 1830. Joseph's telling of the events is here.
**Joseph Smith was a man, as was Mormon, and both were called to be prophets, just like Abraham or Moses or Noah. Joseph Smith also served as the president of the church, as did Peter in the New Testament.
**We have prophets, apostles, and seventies, as outlined by Christ in the New Testament. They speak to us in conferences twice a year.
**We do not have a paid clergy.
**Women do not have the priesthood, nor do they serve as clergy. Women are involved in leading and serving in other areas of the church. The church does not suppress, repress, or abuse women.
**We hold our weekly worship meetings in chapels, and they are open for anyone to attend. Temples are for worthy members, and are places for meditation and renewing of commitments to God, as well as for ordinances such as marriages. There are currently 136 temples worldwide (you can see about them here).
**We believe the Bible to be the word of God so far as it is translated correctly. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
**We believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as three separate beings.
**We do not believe in original sin, nor infant baptism. We believe that we are responsible only for our own sins.
**We baptize by immersion. We believe that baptism is essential for salvation, and thus use our temples to do vicarious baptisms for those who have died without this ordinance.
**We believe in ongoing revelation, both for individuals and (through prophets) for the world.
**We believe that we are "saved by Grace, after all we can do" meaning that repentance and good works must be ongoing, but that we know salvation is a gift, and can only be given, not earned.
**Additional information can be found here in our Articles of Faith.
**We believe that the family is the basic unit of both church and society. We work hard to support and strengthen home and family.
**We believe that a marriage is ordained of God and is between one man and one woman. Polygamy was briefly practiced by some church members in the mid 1800s, but has not been practiced nor church-endorsed since 1890.
**Additional information about our teachings on families can be found here.