The fourteen fundamental articles or beliefs of Mormons
The reason this is here is because many have written to me wanting to know what do Mormons really believe. There are a lot of pro-Mormon propaganda sites and they all say the same thing - family unity, they are Christian, the Book of Mormon is true and on and on. These other sites still do not say what they really believe. What Mormons actually believe is not normally taught by the Mormon missionaries or shown on the TV commercials. Mormon doctrine is quite fluid.
The Mormon church has the 13 articles of faith that missionaries and members like to hand out, but it does not contain most of the doctrines that make the Mormon Church unique. Also, when the original "13" articles of faith were written it was 14. So being true to the idea of original version, I decided to have the 14 fundamental beliefs of Mormons. I listed these in order of importance to a Mormon. There may be some variance in the order of importance depending on the Mormon you may talk to. This list does not follow the original 14 except in number. I use the term "we" to refer to Mormons. I used to believe these things. I have included at least one reference on some points where Mormons have written to me saying they don't believe those things. They apparently do not know their own doctrines.
1 - God was once a man who lived on another planet
This is the most important teaching of Mormonism. Nothing else comes close to it. We believe that God was once a mortal man on another planet who progressed by living in obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel he had on his world, then he died. He became a resurrected man and evolved to become a god. He is still married now (some early leaders say he is a polygamist) and created this world. We worship only the one true god, which is really one god among millions or billions or more. We believe that we will follow in God's footsteps by becoming perfect and we too will become Gods and Goddesses creating spirit children and peopling other worlds. The Mormon TV commercials showing family togetherness is the foundation for life in the next world - as a family - as gods.
Reference: Journal of Discourses Vol. 6 Page 4, 1844. Joseph Smith speaking:
"...you have to learn to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, - namely, by going from one small degree to another..."
Reference: Journal of Discourses Vol. 6 Page 275, 1852. Brighan Young speaking:
"After men have got their exaltations and their crowns - have become Gods..."
2 - We are co-eternal with God
We believe we have all existed for all eternity. First we existed as "intelligences", which has never been defined, then we were given spirit bodies in a heaven by our eternal parents. Our "intelligences" have existed forever just like the our God's has and we have been around him in one form or another forever. He has just simply progressed ahead of us.
Reference: Journal of Discourses Vol. 6 Page 7, 1844. Joseph Smith speaking:
"God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a priviledge to advance like himself"
3 - The origin of Jesus Christ
Jesus was begotten by physical union of God and Mary. Since God has a body of flesh and bones, he really had literal sex with Mary. The product of this union was Jesus, part man and part God. We believe Jesus was the first born in heaven by heavenly father and mother who created his spirit and our spirits using our "intelligences" as a foundation for our spirits. Our "intelligences" were floating around in the universe and needed to be organized into spirits. Since he was the first born spirit, and according to the Book of Abraham, his "intelligence" was better than the other "intelligences" out there, he is the most important spirit creation. When Jesus received his physical body by the union of God and Mary, his spirit was put into his body like our spirits were put into our bodies. His body was special though because his father was a god. The rest of us have only regular dads.
Again, a few Mormons wrote saying they do not believe this and I am misrepresenting the church's position. Actually the quotes from the early leaders are stranger than I could create from my imagination. Here are a few references:
Brigham Young speaking in the Journal of Discourses Vo1 1, Page 51 1852, "Jesus our Elder Brother was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven."
Brigham Young speaking in the Journal of Discourses Vo1 15, Page 770 1853, "Now remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost... if the Son was begotten by the Holy Ghost, it would be a very dangerous to baptize and confirm females, and give the Holy Ghost to them, lest he should beget children..."
4 - Truth is determined by feelings
We believe we know the truth by our feelings. We do not rely on and we will disregard any facts that contradict what our feelings tell us is true. If something feels bad, like someone telling us that Joseph Smith was a fraud, then we know that Smith must of been a prophet since falsehoods create bad feelings and it feels bad when someone tells us that we have been duped. In other words, if we get a bad feeling, we are hearing bad things which must be lies. We feel good when we read the Book of Mormon, therefore it is true. Archeology, genetics, science, metallurgy, agriculture and animal studies are irrelevant since our feelings tell us it is a true book revealed by God. This good feeling applies to all aspects of our lives. We determine if we should do something or know the truth of something if we have prayed about it and have a good feeling about it.
5 - What a Prophet said can be revised depending on the circumstances
We believe that when the Prophet, the head of our church, says something that is definitely wrong he was not being inspired at that time. He was only speaking as a man. We believe that the newer Prophets can override the older Prophets. We believe we have a prophet on earth today even though he never prophecies anything.
Reference: Ezra Taft Benson '14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophets' pgs 1-16, 1980:
"Beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence."
6 - Saving our dead ancestors shows we are the only Christian church
We believe we have temples where we get the handshakes and passwords that allow us to become gods. We also baptize by proxy dead people so they too can become Mormons.
7 - Ex-Mormons or apostates had sin in their life or never had a testimony
We believe apostates, if they had a testimony, will be cast into outer darkness. The others who leave Mormonism must never had a testimony.
8 - We will only read church approved materials
Any literature which is critical of the church is Satanic and/or written by disgruntled apostates or others who do not know the truth. They can be ignored and any reasonable arguments they have are unimportant since they oppose the gospel of Mormonism.
9 - We need to convert the whole world to Mormonism
We believe we must send all our young men from ages 19-22 on missions throughout the world and many of our unmarried daughters. We must also save our money so that when we are older we can go on a mission as a married couple.
10 - By being Mormons we are assured of salvation - even if we are wrong
We believe that even if we are wrong about Mormonism, God will forgive us since we believed in Christ just like the Christians said we should. If we are right, and we know we are, then we will be together forever with our families as gods. Why should we want to be anything other than Mormons since we have all our bases covered?
11 - Since we have the name of Christ in our church - our church is the only true one.
Only the true church would have Christ's name in it. We ignore the fact that the Doctrine and Covenants and other books were published by the church when Joseph Smith had the church renamed for several years as the Church of the Latter-day Saints.
12 - We believe in the Book of Mormon
We believe in a book which has no archeological support whatsoever and claim it is a religious record of various peoples who populated the Americas for over 2600 years from around 2200 BC to 420 AD. We believe that the second group of people who occupied the Americas were Jewish and spoke Hebrew and kept their records in reformed Egyptian. These people also numbered in the millions and somehow they left no tangible proof of their existence. Some Mormons believe that in the near future the leaders of the church will admit that the peoples the book describes are fictional, but maintain that the book still contains religious truths.
13 - The fruits of Mormonism prove it is the true church
We believe by manipulating statistics we can show we have a superior belief system. We disregard statistics which are embarrassing to our position such as the high divorce rate in Utah.
14 Since there are people who oppose our beliefs - our beliefs must be true
We believe that those who write against us and assail our beliefs are proof that we are the only true church. Only the true church would have anything bad said about it. The Devil fights against the truth.
This is from a letter received from an Internet friend 2/8/96:
"As a Mormon for my entire life, the very first time I felt persecuted for my beliefs was when I tried to leave the LDS faith. Never on my mission did I ever feel opposed (I went to a foreign country with virtually no anti-Mormons). Never did I feel like someone didn't allow me the "same priviledge of worshipping God according to the dictates of my own conscience" until MY OWN FAMILY found out I no longer believed in the fairy tales of Mormonism. Then all of a sudden my active LDS mother-in-law thought it would be "better" for my wife to leave me. All this despite the fact that my wife loves me, I love my wife and child, and I hadn't even committed anything the Mormon church would consider a sin (except perhaps apostasy, but apostatizing from a lie is no sin in my book). Anyway, if "only the [truth] would have anything bad said about it" the reaction I received by leaving the LDS church meant I was heading into the truth."