Basic LDS (Mormon) Beliefs are Summarized in 13 Simple Statements

Three of These 13 Points Are at Odds With Other Christian Religions

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Narrowing a faith's beliefs down to just a few points is hard. You need to cover what the faith shares with other faiths and what makes it distinct as well. These 13 points are a nice summary of LDS (Mormon) beliefs

The 13 Articles of Faith Neatly Summarize Most LDS Beliefs

What do Mormons believe? Founding prophet Joseph Smith was asked this question shortly before he died. His answer consisted of 13 points.

These points are still the best answer to this question and are called, The Articles of Faith. These points are basic LDS beliefs and serve as the foundation for most other beliefs.

Members, especially children, often memorize the points. They are often framed and hung in people's homes. They have even been put to music.

They are explained and summarized below. Some original phrasing is preserved in italics. The numbers correspond to each original Article of Faith in the order it was written. These Articles of Faith are now considered scripture and are canonized in the Pearl of Great Price, a volume of modern LDS scripture.

  1. The Godhead: Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three separate persons and are called, "The Godhead." Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bones. The Holy Ghost is a spirit. They are united in purpose.
  2. Adam's Fall: People suffer only for their own sins. We do not suffer for Adam's transgression. LDS members do not believe in original sin.
  1. The Atonement: By obeying all the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, everyone may be saved through Jesus Christ's Atonement.
  2. The first and most basic principles and ordinances of the Gospel are the following:
    • Faith in Jesus Christ.
    • Repentance.
    • Baptism by immersion.
    • The Gift of the Holy Ghost.
  3. Leadership: God chooses the men he wants to administer His Church and its affairs. He does this through the men he has already chosen and empowered to act on His behalf.
  1. Reestablishment: Jesus Christ set up and organized His Church while he was on the earth. Over time, that authority and organizational structure was lost. Jesus Christ restored it to Joseph Smith in modern times. His Church is now set up and organized like it was when He was on the earth.
  2. Spiritual Gifts: Gifts such as tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth, still exist.
  3. Scripture: The Bible is the word of God, as long as it is correctly translated. The Book of Mormon is also the word of God.
  4. Revelation: God has revealed many things through his prophets in ancient times. We believe that He continues to reveal His will through modern prophets, both now and in the future.
  5. Gathering: God will literally gather the children of the house of Israel that are scattered around the earth. The lost Ten Tribes will be restored. Zion, or the New Jerusalem as it will be called, will be built on the American continent. In addition, Christ will physically return and will personally direct the Church and His people here on the earth. In addition, "the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory."
  6. Religious Freedom: Everyone should have the privilege to worship however they wish, wherever they wish and whatever they wish, according to their own conscience.
  1. Government: People should obey, honor and sustain the governments, authorities and laws they live under, wherever they are.
  2. All Good Things: We believe, and seek to achieve, all good things: honesty, integrity, chastity, benevolence, virtue, justice, purity, anything praiseworthy, etc. We've endured many things and we want to endure all things, both now and in the future.

What Makes Mormon Beliefs Different Than Other Religions

Members of other faiths share many LDS beliefs. However, a few are distinct. These distinctions are tremendously important in evaluating how Mormons differ from others.

  • Article of Faith #1: The LDS concept of the Godhead is at odds with how most Christian faiths view The Trinity.
  • Article of Faith #4: Baptism must be by immersion, not some other method like sprinkling. Also, it must be done by those with priesthood authority and priesthood power. New members must be rebaptized into the Church. We do not honor or accept any other church's baptism.
  • Article of Faith #9: There are modern, living prophets on the earth today and there will be in the future. Few current religions claim they have modern prophets and that God continues to reveal His will through them.