The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is becoming a hot media topic again after Pastor Robert Jeffress' recent comments about Mormonism being a "cult" at an event where Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at, and also after polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs' trial and imprisonment.
But with the all the controversy surrounding Mormonism, many are left with the question: What do Mormons really believe?
Interestingly, when asked to outline their beliefs, many Mormons will simply refer you to a higher up, or to their website. Otherwise, many – even former Mormons – remain mum.
"You'll find that many Mormons who have left the church have 'thrown the baby out with the bathwater.' They were deceived once – they don't want it to happen again. And many tend to be very bitter and angry about religion in general," Beth, who declined to give her last name, said in an email to The Christian Post.
Beth, who is now a practicing Christian, was formerly a Mormon.
The LDS church lists 13 fundamentals of Mormonism on its website, www.lds.org.
The publicly stated articles of the LDS faith, as quoted from the website, are:
LDS Article 1: "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."
Article 2: "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."
Article 3: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
Article 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."
Article 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."
Article 6: "We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth."
Article 7: "We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth."
Article 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."
Article 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."
Article 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."
Article 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."
Article 12: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."
Article 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."
An upcoming CP article will give a firsthand account of a former Mormon's experience and her thoughts on these fundamentals of Mormonism.