Beliefs of the LDS Church
Introduction; public opinion poll;
LDS beliefs similar to Evangelicals
Describing beliefs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
is a difficult task:
||We can describe the teachings found in some of the Church's Standard Works --
including the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl
of Great Price -- which are considered to be divinely inspired and
authoritative. However, some of these teachings are ambiguous and
contradictory. Others have not been formally accepted by the LDS
||We can follow the official teachings of the LDS Church. But some of
these change over time.
||We can study the beliefs of individual members. However, they often deviate from
Church teachings in non-critical areas. The Church gives members
considerable latitude in such areas.
The problem is made more difficult by the church's belief in continuing
revelation: the concept that God occasionally transmits new beliefs to the
The Articles of Faith were written by
Joseph Smith as a brief description of the Mormon faith. He is considered the
founder of the faith, and was the first major prophet. Mormons consider him to be on the same scale as Abraham,
Moses, Solomon, Isaiah, etc. The Articles are general in nature; most are
acceptable to a broad range of Christians, conservative Protestant, mainline
Protestant, even Roman Catholic.
Results of a public opinion poll:
A U.S. public opinion
poll by Barna Research in 2001 showed that in many cases, the beliefs of
LDS members were quite different from those of other Christian groups.
||Importance of religion: 90% of the Mormons sampled regard
religious faith as an important factor in their life. This is the second
highest percentage of any denomination; only Pentecostal/Four square
members are higher at 94%. Members of the Assemblies of God and of
non-denominational --mostly Fundamentalist -- Christian churches were next
at 86%. The average for all adults was 68%.
||Being "born again:" 34% of adults who attend a Mormon church
regard themselves as having been "born again." i.e. they have made a personal commitment to
Jesus that is still important in their life today and believe that when
they die they will go to Heaven solely because they have repented of their
sins and accepted Jesus as their savior. This compares with 30% of
Episcopalians and 25% of Roman Catholics.
||Satan: 59% of Mormons believe Satan to be a living entity. This
is the highest of any Christian denomination in the U.S. Only about 20% of
Episcopalians, 18% of Methodists and 17% of Roman Catholics regard Satan in this way. The national average is 27%. Most Americans view
Satan as a symbol of evil without having an actual personality or corporal existence.
Only 29% believe that the bible is "totally accurate." This is the
third lowest figure of any Christian denomination. Only the Roman Catholic
Church at 26% and the Episcopal Church, USA at 22% were lower. The national
average was 41%.
Only 15% of LDS members accept the belief that works don't earn a person a
place in Heaven. Only Roman Catholics were lower at 9%. The national average
||Was Jesus sinless:
70% of Mormons believe that Jesus led a sinless life while on Earth. This is exceeded only by
Pentecostal Churches at 73%. The national average was 40%. 1,2
Mormons feel that the Holy Spirit will reliably guide them towards truth. If
they are on a path towards determining the right course of action or discerning
what is true on a certain topic, the Holy Spirit will make them feel confident
about their decision. As one example, a Mormon member was teaching a lady who was
blind and nearly deaf. She wanted to know if the Book of Mormon was true.
She was asked to hold the Book in her hand and very slowly turn its pages.
Although she could not read the words, the Holy Spirit guided her to an
understanding that it was true.
Some LDS Church beliefs are the same or similar to those of evangelicals:
Church beliefs are similar to those of Evangelical Christianity. These include the
importance of their faith, salvation by being born
again, atonement, resurrection, tithing, the widespread
influence of angels and of Satan and his demons.
Mormon faith groups
oppose both equal rights for homosexuals. They have
played a major role in preventing the Boy Scouts of America from accepting gay
The LDS Church, along with many other conservative
Christian faith groups, remains sexist. Women are expected to fill specified roles within families,
in the church and in society. in an usually frank admission, president
Gordon B. Hinkley referred to wives as possessions of their husbands. He
said at the LDS biannual conference on 2007-APR-01:
"Husbands, love and treasure your wives. They are your most precious
possessions. Wives, encourage and pray for your husbands. They need all
the help they can get. Parents, treat your children with great kindness.
They are the coming generation who will bring honor to your name."
The LDS church excludes all women from the priesthood. This compares with
fundamentalist and other evangelical denominations which express a range of
views on this topic. They took a major role in defeating the Equal Right's
Amendment (ERA). The LDS church also opposes women's
access to abortion (except in rare circumstances,
like incest, rape or a life-threatening pregnancy). Their position appears to be
moving in a more liberal direction.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Religious Beliefs Vary Widely By Denomination," Barna Research,
"Barna Poll on U.S. religious belief - 2001," 2001-JUN-25, at:
"Church president defends Mormon faith, validity of Book of Mormon,"
Deseretnews.com, 2007-APR-02, at:
Copyright © 1995 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2007-JUN-04
Author: B.A. Robinson