Beliefs and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Beliefs and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Joseph Smith, Jr. said that he saw two "personages" in the spring of 1820, one of which pointed to the other and said, "This is my beloved son. Hear him!" The church teaches this was an actual visitation by God the Father and Jesus in the flesh.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) focuses its doctrine and teaching on Jesus Christ; that he was the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, lived a perfect life, performed miracles, bled from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane, died on the cross, rose on the third day, appeared again to his disciples, and now resides, authoritatively, on the right hand side of God. In brief, some beliefs are in common with Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant traditions. However, teachings of the LDS Church differ significantly in other ways and encompass a broad set of doctrines, so that the above mentioned denominations usually place the LDS Church outside the bounds of orthodox Christian teaching as summarized in the Nicene Creed.

The church's core beliefs, circa 1842, are summarized in the Articles of Faith, and its four primary principles are faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sin, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.[1]


Theology and doctrine

Apostasy and restoration

In common with other Restorationist churches, the church believes in a Great Apostasy. It teaches that after the death of Jesus and the Twelve Apostles, the priesthood authority was lost and some important doctrinal teachings, including the text of the Bible, were changed from their original form, thus necessitating a Restoration prior to the Second Coming. That restoration, according to church doctrine, began during the life of Joseph Smith, Jr.

According to church theology, the restoration began through a series of visions and revelations, including Smith's First Vision in 1820, visits by various angelic messengers including Moroni from whom he received "the everlasting gospel",[2] John the Baptist,[3] Moses,[4] Elijah,[5] and the apostles Peter, James and John.[6] Both Smith and Oliver Cowdery testified that these last messengers came to them while they were together and conferred upon them the priesthood authority with its various "keys", so that mankind again possessed the "fullness of the Gospel" with authority to administer in the ordinances thereof.[7] The restoration also included the re-establishment of the Church of Christ on 6 April 1830. The LDS Church teaches that it is the successor of this Church of Christ and that the current President of the Church is Smith's modern successor.

Sacred texts

The Standard Works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints printed in the Quadruple Combination format, often referred to simply as a "Quad"
See also: Genetics and the Book of Mormon and Archaeology and the Book of Mormon

The church's canon of sacred texts consists of the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. These are more commonly referred to as the church's Standard Works. Though not canonical, many members of the church also accept the teachings and pronouncements of the church's general authorities—and in particular those of the President of the Church—as doctrine, and complementing the Standard Works.

The church accepts the Holy Bible as the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.[8] Joseph Smith wrote, "I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers"[9] The LDS Church uses the Authorized King James Version (KJV) for its English-speaking members and other translations to accommodate alternative languages. Joseph Smith did work on his own translation, but it is only used in conjunction with the KJV. An extract of his translation can be found in the Pearl of Great Price, called Joseph Smith—Matthew. For English-language speakers, the church encourages the use of the King James Version,[10][11] and the church publishes an edition of the KJV. The church regards parts of the Apocrypha,[12] the writings of some Protestant Reformers and non-Christian religious leaders, and the non-religious writings of some philosophers to be inspired, though not canonical.[13]

The church's most distinctive scripture, the Book of Mormon, was published by founder Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1830. It is believed to be "another testament of Jesus Christ" and bears that subtitle as of 1982.[14] Smith stated that, under divine direction, he translated the Book of Mormon from metal plates having "the appearance of gold" found buried near his home.[15] Eight men signed a statement as witnesses that Smith possessed the plates and that they had seen them.[16] As of September 2007, the full text of the Book of Mormon had been translated and published in 77 languages, and selections in an additional 28 for a total of 105 languages.[17] The introduction printed with the book says that it is a history of the ancestors of the "American Indian" peoples.[18]

The church's Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of modern revelations, declarations, and teachings, primarily written by Joseph Smith. The Pearl of Great Price consists of five separate books, including two portions of Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible. These five books are Selections from the Book of Moses (corresponding to a portion of the Old Testament), the Book of Abraham (Smith's translation of an Egyptian papyrus, which includes an account of the creation), Joseph Smith—Matthew (corresponding to a section of the New Testament), Joseph Smith—History (an excerpt from Smith's 1838 autobiographical writings), and the Articles of Faith (an excerpt of one of Smith's 1842 letters describing church beliefs).

God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost

In LDS belief, God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are referred to as the "Godhead".[19] According to LDS scripture, the Godhead has the following attributes:

  • They are three separate and distinct beings.[20]
  • They are "one God" collectively,[21] meaning that they are united in spirit, mind and purpose.[22] According to LDS theology, Jesus is "one" with the Father in the same way as he asked his disciples to be "one" with him and each other.
  • Jesus and the Father have physical "bodies of flesh and bone", while the Holy Spirit does not, though the Holy Spirit has a "spirit body".[23][24]
  • God the Father is understood to be the literal father of the spirits of humanity,[25] as well as the literal father of both the spirit and physical body of Jesus.

The church's view of the Godhead breaks with Nicene Creed tradition and believes it returns to the teachings taught by Jesus. It does not accept the creed's definition of Trinity that the three are "consubstantial" nor the Athanasian Creed's[26] statement that they are "incomprehensible",[27] arguing that the LDS view is self-evident in the Bible that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate persons, three divine beings as illustrated in the Savior’s great Intercessory Prayer, his baptism at the hands of John, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the martyrdom of Stephen.

In addition to the Godhead, LDS theology recognizes at least the possibility of other divine entities; however, these other "gods" and "goddesses" are not considered to be objects of worship, and have no direct relevance to salvation. Official church materials refer to "Heavenly Parents", implying to some the existence of a Heavenly Mother.[28] Belief in such a figure is common among members, and she has been mentioned in meetings by church officials[29][30] and alluded to in two of the hymns of the church.[31] However, very little on the subject of a Heavenly Mother has been taught by the church.

God the Father

God the Father is understood to be the literal Father of the spirits of all mankind.[32][33] He is also understood to be the father of Jesus' spirit body and his physical body. On the morning that Jesus was resurrected, Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."[34]

LDS Church President Lorenzo Snow expressed the nature of the Father in his couplet, "As man is, God once was—and as God is, man may become"—differing significantly from the traditional Christian idea of theosis. Exaltation is a belief among members of the LDS Church that mankind, as spirit children of their Father in heaven, can become like him.

His Son, Jesus Christ

See also: Religious perspectives on Jesus: Nontrinitarian views
Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected Jesus Christ, as depicted in the Christus Statue in the North Visitors' Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City

The church follows what it understands to be the teachings of Jesus, both in the Bible and in other scriptures, such as the Book of Mormon. According to that book, Jesus Christ is considered "the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary."[35] As the Creator, he is at times referred to as the father of heaven and earth. This is one sense in which he shares the title "Father" with God the Father. The church also teaches that Jesus is the LORD Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Holy One of Israel. Because he has the "Divine Investiture of Authority" from the Father, the church teaches that Jesus Christ often speaks in the scriptures as though he were God the Father, because in so doing he is representing the Father.[36][37]

The church teaches that those who accept Christ and are baptized are symbolically born again and become the children of Christ.[38] The church teaches that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.[39] Christ's divinity[40] enabled him to take upon himself the penalty for sin and to endure the consequential suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross that paid for the sins of humanity since the Fall of Adam.[41] Thus, having satisfied the demands of justice,[42] Christ offers mercy to mankind in two general forms: unconditional (all will be resurrected),[43] and conditional (those who believe in Christ, repent of sin,[44] and are baptized, “the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God")[45] This Atonement however is also believed to cover not only sin, but all pain, suffering, heart ache, or hardship experienced in this life.[46] Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus' status as the son of a mortal woman (Mary) gave him the ability to suffer temptation (yet he did not succumb to it)[47] and experience physical death; while his status as the Son of God gave him the power to lay down and take up his life again at will. The church also believes in the physical resurrection of Jesus' body.[48] Because of its emphasis on Jesus' resurrection and his status as the living head of the church, the church does not use the symbol of the Christian cross except on the uniforms of military chaplains. Instead, the church tends to focus on the belief that Jesus overcame suffering and death and that he lives today.

The Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is regarded as "a being endowed with the attributes and powers of Deity and not a mere force or essence."[49] He testifies of the Father and the Son.[50] "By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."[51] The Holy Ghost can sanctify people enabling them "to put off the natural man and [become] a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord"[52] Jesus promised to send another Comforter: "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever."[53]

Plan of salvation

The plan of salvation or gospel of Christ is a series of steps, a continuum, or means to come to God through the mediation of the Messiah. It comprises those teachings of Christ which enable a mortal man or woman to overcome the fall of Adam in his or her life, and ultimately return to the presence of God, to enjoy the life of the Great Eternal God, or, more succinctly, eternal life. The specific teachings include the fact that Adam fell, becoming subject to the temptations of the devil, bringing upon himself and his posterity both physical death and spiritual death, separating himself and them from God. As a remedy for Adam's predicament, consistent with His own nature and objective to produce Divine heirs, God gave Adam and his posterity the moral agency to (1) follow and serve Christ, or (2) follow and serve the devil (Mosiah 16). To overcome the lasting effects of the fall, Christ offered Himself an infinite sacrifice for the sins of all those willing to repent and enter into a covenant with Him, trusting in His righteousness or merits for salvation (Alma 22:14; Moroni 6:4), while all the rest must depend on their own good works for salvation, or answer the ends of the law themselves, falling short of the glory of God (2 Nephi 2:22-26; Romans 10:4). Furthermore, Christ brought about the universal resurrection of all men and women, as they were not responsible for the fall, leaving them to account only for their own deeds in the flesh (Articles of Faith 1:2; Alma 11:41-46).

Also, as the Agent of the Father and Judge of all, Christ is able to be both merciful and just (John 5:22; Romans 2:16). To obtain His mercy, or be saved from His wrath, or indignation, on the day of judgment, men and women must (1) have faith in Christ, (2) repent of their sins, (3) be baptized by one of His authorized agents in water in the likeness of His burial, to come forth born again of the Spirit, (4) receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, again by an authorized servant of God bearing His priesthood, and (5) endure in faith in Christ and repentance from sins to the end of their mortal lives. This is the only gospel ever taught by Jesus, and is imparted in the Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, and most plainly in the Book of Mormon, whose purpose is to "convince Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ," as stated on the Title Page. (See also 2 Nephi 25:24-30; Articles of Faith 1:1-4.)

Multiple scriptural names for this limited and oft-repeated body of teachings are: gospel of Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 27:13-22), doctrine of Christ (3 Nephi 11:31-41), plan of salvation, plan of redemption (Alma 11:40-41), words of eternal life (John 6:68), gospel of repentance, gospel of baptism, gospel of salvation, good tidings Isaiah 52:7), our report (Isaiah 53:1), gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), good tidings of great joy (Luke 2:10), gospel of the grace of God (Acts 2:24), gospel of peace (Romans 10:15), "good news," and other equivalent names. Once a man or woman has obeyed the first principles of the gospel, the milk of the kingdom, he or she must press forward, feasting on the words of Christ, going on unto perfection, or seeking the meat of the kingdom, much of which has to do with the temple and a comprehensive understanding of the life God leads (Hebrews 5:12-14; Hebrews 6:1-3).

The plan of salvation, or "The Great Plan of Happiness," as taught by the church, describes humanity's place in the universe and the purpose of life. The church teaches that there was a pre-mortal existence, a place which existed prior to mortality in which all people and all life were created in spirit form.[54][55] Central to this is the notion that humans existed as spirits before birth, were raised by Heavenly Parents and had essential human characteristics such as gender.[56] This general idea is also stated as "We lived in the presence of God."[57][58]

During the pre-earth life, Heavenly Father presented a plan to have a Savior make it possible for mankind to be saved. The purpose of an earth life was to give men the opportunity to demonstrate obedience to the commandments of God while outside of His presence. This is the central test of the evolution or eternal progression of man to godhood. Jesus Christ stepped forward as the chosen Savior. However, Lucifer, one of the spirits, proposed a rival plan whereby every soul would be saved, he would receive God's glory, and human agency would be eliminated.[59][60] When God rejected that plan, the War in Heaven ensued, resulting in Lucifer and one third part of the spirits being cast out and denied ever receiving physical bodies. Lucifer became the devil.[61]

The earth, according to church teachings in the temples, was created by Jehovah, which the church identifies as the pre-mortal Jesus, and Michael the archangel, who is identified as the pre-mortal Adam. The earth was "organized" from pre-existing matter,[62] as were other planets with their inhabitants.[63] Michael's spirit was placed into his body which was created by God the Father and Jehovah, and became a living soul known as Adam.

The church teaches that at birth, a pre-existing spirit enters a mortal body. Upon death, the spirit goes to a "spirit world" to await the resurrection of the dead. There, a preliminary judgment, based solely on whether a person has had a baptism by the authority of the priesthood and received their confirmation, either in this life or after death by proxy, places the spirit in either a state of paradise (has completed all the saving ordinances) or spirit prison (those who have not had the saving ordinances). Those in "prison" will be visited by spirits from paradise and given the chance to learn of the teachings of Jesus Christ and to accept the accompanying saving ordinances.[64] The church teaches that all persons, wicked or righteous, will be resurrected and receive an immortal, physical body.[65] The nature of that body, however, will depend on the result of the Last Judgment, at which Jesus will assign each soul to one of three degrees of glory (heavenly kingdoms): the celestial kingdom in the presence of the Father and the Son for those who accept Jesus Christ and receive all LDS saving ordinances, either as a mortal or by proxy; the terrestrial kingdom, a place of glory in the presence of Christ for righteous persons who refuse to receive the saving ordinances and for those who do not keep the covenants they commit to; and the telestial kingdom for the wicked. A further destination, called outer darkness, is reserved for Satan, his devils, and those mortals who commit the unpardonable sin and thereby become the sons of perdition.[66] Those who are ultimately destined for the telestial kingdom will be those who suffer for their sins in hell; however, these persons remain in hell only the 1000 years during the millennial reign of Christ, after which they will exit hell and be resurrected with an immortal body into a state of peace.[66] The church also teaches that all animals have souls and, having been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, will be resurrected, along with every human child who died before the age of accountability.[67]

Those in the celestial kingdom will be allowed to continue to progress and become joint heirs with Jesus Christ;[68] but only individuals that are in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom will eventually be enabled in eternity to become gods and goddesses and participate in the eternal creative process of having spirit children.[69]


The church encourages all people to pray often "for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray."[70] In LDS scripture Jesus tells his disciples, "Ye shall call upon the Father in my name."[71] Prayer is viewed a means of communication between man and God. It is LDS belief that God hears the sincere prayers of all people because they are his children, he is no respecter of persons, and because he knows all things.[72]

God is to be approached in reverence. Except for certain ordinances the specific words of a prayer do not have a prescribed form. Generally, prayer is addressed to God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, and thanks or petitions are expressed as prompted by the Holy Ghost.[73]

The Priest has a scriptural duty "to exhort members to pray vocally and in secret."[74] LDS Children are taught to remove distractions while praying by doing such things as closing their eyes, and folding their arms, Reverence for deity can also be expressed while praying through folding arms, bowing the head, or kneeling. But prayer may be accomplished while standing or sitting.[75] According to LDS theology, the First Vision came in answer to a prayer of faith.[76]


The church teaches that revelation from God continues today. Accordingly, revelation to direct the entire church comes to the president; revelation to direct a stake comes to the stake president; for a ward, to the bishop; and so forth. Latter-day Saints also believe that individuals can receive personal revelation and divine guidance in raising their families and managing their personal affairs. Because of their belief in modern revelation, Latter-day Saints give significant weight to the teachings of their church leaders. They revere the words their prophets and general authorities speak when "moved upon by the Holy Ghost" (Doctrine and Covenants 8:3-4).[77] as modern-day scripture, and members are encouraged to ponder and pray for revelation regarding the truthfulness of such statements.

Family and gender

A couple following their marriage in the Manti Utah Temple


The LDS Church has been characterized by its members as a family-centered religion. The church teaches that every being that lived upon the earth initially had a spirit body and that all were born to Heavenly Parents in a pre-mortal existence.[56] The church teaches that on earth, families may be "sealed"—meaning that they are eternally bound as husbandwife, parents–child—and that these bonds will continue after death.[78] Sealings can also include deceased ancestors, providing much of the church's rationale for its extensive family history activities. Members tend more often to be married,[79] and have families with more children,[80] than members of other Christian traditions.[81]

Exaltation and marriage

In consequence of the atonement of Jesus Christ, a son or daughter of God the Father may overcome physical and spiritual death and return to live with God forever. Those individuals who receive this—which is described as the "greatest gift of God"[82]—are said to enter into a state of "exaltation" after they are resurrected.[69] Exaltation is also called "salvation" or "eternal life".[83]

Exaltation is "the kind of life God lives".[69] In other words, exalted beings will live in great glory, be perfect, and possess all knowledge and wisdom.[69] Exalted beings will live forever with God the Father and Jesus Christ, will become gods and goddesses, will live with their righteous earthly family members, and will receive the fulness of joy enjoyed by God and Christ.[69] One of the key qualifications for exaltation is being united in a celestial marriage to an opposite-sex partner.[84][78] Such a union can be created during mortality, or it can be created after death by proxy marriages performed in temples.[85]

Humans who fall short of exaltation still receive an immortal physical body. Most will be awarded one of three kingdoms of glory, whether it be the celestial, terrestrial, or telestial kingdoms.[66] Those who are exalted are said to inhabit the "highest degree" of the celestial kingdom.[86] Satan, his spirit followers, and a select number of people who lived on the earth will receive no glory and will be called the sons of perdition.[66]


The church also teaches that each person's gender is eternal and that each gender has roles and duties in the family that are ordained by God. The church teaches that "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."[56] Some have characterized this view of the man-woman relationship as "equal but different".[87] Nevertheless, LDS women in the United States work outside the home in about the same percentage as other American women.[88]

The church teaches that gender is inherently linked to sex, but the church has no official policy on the status of intersex persons. Transgender persons are accepted in the church and may be baptized, but may not receive the priesthood or even enter the temple if they are considering or have undergone elective sex reassignment surgery.[89]

Law of chastity

The church teaches what it calls the law of chastity, a moral code that its members must follow to be in good standing with the church. At its core, the law of chastity prohibits sexual relations between individuals who are not married, adultery,[90], and sexual relations between gay and lesbian partners whether married or not. The law also prohibits other sexual behavior, such as bestiality and masturbation, as well as mental behavior such as lust, sexual fantasy, and viewing of pornography.[91] The church's teachings are ambiguous about the scope of allowable sexual behavior between legally married couples.[92] Sex in marriage is seen as a means for expressing and building joy, unity, love, and oneness, as well as for the purposes or wanting to produce and to reproduce children.[93]

The church encourages members to enter a celestial marriage, performed as a church ordinance in an LDS temple. This is the only form of marriage recognized by the church as a sacrament and "the only due and proper way of joining husband and wife".[94] For purposes of the law of chastity, however, the church presently recognizes civil unions that are considered "legal and lawful" by the government where the legal agreement takes place. In the church's view, exceptions to the acceptance of civil unions include same-sex marriage, polygamous marriage, common law marriage, and other types of non-ceremonial marriages in non-common law countries.[95] In countries where the celestial marriage ordinance is not recognized by the government, it must be preceded by a civil marriage.

The law of chastity has also been interpreted to include standards of modesty in dress and action.[96] Sexual activity outside of marriage may result in church discipline, including a possible excommunication, in which a member loses his or her church membership and privileges but may continue to attend meetings.[97] In most instances, the church strongly discourages surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control among married couples.[98]

LGBT members of the church are expected to keep the law of chastity.[99][100] If they do, they can “go forward as do all other members of the church.”[99] If they desire to enter into a heterosexual marriage, they should first learn to deal with their homosexual feelings; otherwise, they must remain celibate.[101] Gay or lesbian sex, in any form, whether the participants are married or not, may be grounds for excommunication.

The church has supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and polygamous marriage in the United States and has stated that it "favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship."[102] The church's position is that government recognition of such rights will "undermine the divinely created institution of the family".[102] Support of an amendment to end same-sex marriage in California has caused then-California State Assemblyman Mark Leno to publicly question whether the church's tax-exempt status should be revoked.[103]

The emphasis on the law of chastity leads to a lower rate of pre-marital sex among LDS youth than among their peers.[104]

Ordinances and covenants

Baptismal font in the Salt Lake Temple, circa 1912, where baptisms for the dead are performed by proxy. The font rests on the backs of twelve oxen representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel

Latter-day Saint sacraments are called ordinances, of which there are two types: saving ordinances and non-saving ordinances. All ordinances, whether saving or non-saving, must be performed by a man ordained to the appropriate priesthood office, with the exception of certain parts of the temple Endowment and the initiatory or washings and anointings, in which men and women are separated, and women administer the ordinances for women, and men administer the ordinances for men. However, both men and women must be "set apart", or authorized and "blessed by the laying on of hands" by those who have proper authority before serving as temple ordinance workers.

Saving ordinances are those that are required for salvation or exaltation, and include baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (confirmation of membership in the church of Jesus Christ), with the "sacrament" of the Lord's supper, taken each Sunday, to keep in remembrance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to renew the covenants made at baptism, ordination to an office of the priesthood (for males), the initiatory or washings and anointings, the Endowment, celestial marriage, and family sealings. Each saving ordinance is associated with one or more covenant that the person receiving the ordinance makes with God, and one or more blessing that God promises to the recipient.[105][106]

Three primary covenants are administered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints under the heading “new and everlasting covenant,” called “new” because they have been restored again and “everlasting” because they are eternal with God.[107] Specifically, they are the gospel, or baptismal covenant; the priesthood covenant; and the marriage covenant. The latter two are administered in the temple. Each covenant, or “contract,” between God and Man has one or more pre-requisites, offers one or more rewards, and specifies punishment for breaking it.

The first, the gospel covenant, is entered into after the sincere communicant fulfills the pre-requisite of exercising faith in Christ, repents of his sins, is baptized by proper authority, receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, and promises to endure to the end of his mortal life continuing to exercise faith in Christ and repentance from his sins. He also agrees to stand as a witness for Christ at all times and in all places, and bear the burdens of his fellow servants Mosiah 18:9. The scriptures are replete with references to all these gospel elements (3 Nephi 27:13-22). The covenant maker receives the reward of the gift of the Holy Ghost, receives membership in the Church of Jesus Christ, receives forgiveness of sins, peace of conscience, a rebirth of the Spirit (Mosiah 4:1-13; Alma 5:49; Alma 7:14), grace, a hope in Christ, salvation or eternal life, and the joy of the saints.[108] The punishment for breaking the covenant is perdition (Hebrews 10:25-31,39). The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or partaking of bread and wine instituted by Jesus, is in remembrance of this covenant, in remembrance of His blood, or atonement for sins, and His resurrection, or body.[109] The “milk” of the kingdom of God has to do with learning of and keeping this gospel covenant. The “meat” is “going on unto perfection,” or entering into subsequent covenants, to obtain a fullness of the life God leads Hebrews 5:11-14; Hebrews 6:1-4; John 17:3).

Latter-Day Saints believe the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a God of covenants.[110] In return for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s faith and obedience, God promised them (1) a numberless posterity, (2) a chosen land, and (3) the blessing of all nations through their posterity and the priesthood of their posterity, the “blessings of heaven.”[111] God promised Jacob’s son, Joseph, additional blessings, a special land and a righteous branch to be separated from the rest of the house of Israel (Genesis 48; Genesis 49:22-26). Even later, promises and assurances were given through Moses and other prophets that, even though all Israel should be scattered and many persecuted, the earlier promises would not be forgotten, and a day of restoration and gathering would come in which all the tribes of Israel would be united in peace under the King of kings and Lord of lords. The Book of Mormon is a witness to the truth of these promises, and it is an assurance that more of them will not be left unfulfilled.[112][113]

The church teaches there are three rewards or degrees of glory in the heavenly world (1 Corinthians 15:29-,40-42; D&C 76; D&C 131:1-4), and that to obtain the highest degree of salvation (referred to as "exaltation" in the celestial kingdom), all people who have lived to the age of eight must participate in each of the saving ordinances. However, the church teaches that they may be performed for a person either during their lifetime or by proxy after the person has died.[85] Therefore, church members participate in the saving ordinances on behalf of dead relatives and others whose names have been extracted from historical records. The performance of these proxy ordinances are one of the functions of the church's temples.

All the saving ordinances are currently open to all worthy church members of the appropriate age. Prior to 1978, black members were restricted from some of the priesthood ordinances, but this policy was changed in 1978. Celestial marriage is open to one man and one woman at a time, but a widower may enter a second celestial marriage.

Apart from sealings to parents, the church does not perform saving ordinances for those younger than age eight or for those who have died before the age of eight (when children reach the "age of accountability"), because young children are deemed "alive in Christ" and not responsible for sin.[114][115] Likewise, the church teaches that the saving ordinances are not required for persons age eight or older who are "mentally incapable of knowing right and wrong".[115] They are saved by the grace and mercy of Christ without baptism and will inherit the celestial kingdom of God.[116]

Non-saving ordinances include the dedication of graves, the dedication of buildings, the prayer circle, the Hosanna shout, shaking the dust from the feet, and various kinds of blessings, including the patriarchal blessing.

Structure and practices

Leadership and hierarchy

The leader of the church is termed President, and church members revere him as a prophet, seer, and revelator. The prophet holds the same divine calling as biblical prophets, and his responsibility is primarily over the church as a whole. His stewardship extends over the whole human family on earth as the Lord's mouthpiece. He is entitled to guide the church through revelation, acting as God's spokesman. The President of the Church serves as such until death. The current president is Thomas S. Monson.

The First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Presiding Bishopric and the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy are all referred to as general authorities because they direct the work of the entire church throughout the world. The members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are accepted by the church as prophets, seers, and revelators.

Other church authorities are referred to as area authorities and local authorities and include all other Quorums of the Seventy, mission presidents, stake presidents, bishops, and other priesthood quorum presidents.

The church has no salaried ministry; however, general authorities who demonstrate need receive stipends from the church, using income from church-owned investments.[117] All local and area authorities are unpaid and continue in their normal occupations while serving in leadership positions.

Although the church had a paid local clergy in the 1800s,[118] local and regional priesthood leaders currently serve as volunteers. Non-clerical church employees, general authorities (who serve life or five-year terms), and mission presidents are paid a stipend from church funds and provided other benefits. A general missionary fund covers the basic living expenses of single Mormon missionaries. Missionaries and their families are asked to contribute to this fund, and in the United States the missionary's congregation of origin is ultimately responsible to satisfy the monthly obligation to the general fund. Members volunteer general custodial work for local church facilities.

Service hierarchy

The church has a hierarchical structure, with clearly defined stewardships or realms of responsibility for the various offices. Those who hold such offices do not elect to do so but are "called" by someone of a higher authority in the church; all are laity and are not paid for their service.

The status of women in church leadership has remained largely unchanged since the early 1900s. Although they are not ordained to the priesthood, preaching and instruction by women is an integral part of weekly Latter-day Saint worship. Certain leadership positions are filled only by women, and in some of the church's auxiliary organizations women may preside over men, such as in the Primary, in welfare programs, on activities committees, and at a Family History Library. Since the 1840s, women have officiated in certain ordinances that take place inside temples.[119]


The priesthood is offered to all male members ages 12 and older who follow the church's code of ethics, morality and behavior. Men receive the priesthood by ordination, which consists of other priesthood holders laying their hands on their head. Ordination to the priesthood is a prerequisite to preside in the church.

The priesthood is structured in a hierarchical manner, emphasizing obedience. Members are encouraged to avoid public criticism of priesthood leaders; repeated public criticism by an individual may eventually result in excommunication.

Aaronic Priesthood

There is one priesthood with two levels; within each are different offices. The first level is the Aaronic Priesthood given to young men ages 12–17. The first office in this priesthood level is called a Deacon; males aged 12 and 13 are ordained to this office. Their primary duty is to pass the sacrament to members on Sundays and collect fast offerings.

Teacher is the second office and is given to males ages 14 and 15. The primary duties of Teachers are to prepare the sacrament, participate in home teaching, and assist members with their temporal needs if requested.

Priest is the third office in the Aaronic Priesthood; this office given the males ages 16 and 17. The primary duties of a priest is to bless the sacrament and participate in home teaching. Priests also have the authority to baptize individuals who choose to become members of the church. A Priest can also confer the Aaronic priesthood or ordain others to the office of Deacon, Teacher, or Priest.

Bishop is the highest office of the Aaronic Priesthood. A Bishop must also be a High Priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood. A bishop's responsibility is to preside over a local group of Aaronic priesthood members and to act as the presiding high priest over a church congregation.

Melchizedek Priesthood

The second level of the priesthood is the Melchizedek Priesthood. All Melchizedek Priesthood holders are 18 or older but the offices do not have set ages for progression.

The first office is Elder. An Elder may confer the gift of the Holy Ghost; give blessings by the laying on of hands; ordain other Elders; and perform any duty given to priests of the Aaronic priesthood.

The next office is High Priest. A High Priest is responsible for the spiritual welfare of their congregation of saints; may serve in a bishopric, stake presidency, high council, or temple presidency and may serve as a mission president. Further, he may ordain other High Priests and Elders; and can perform all the duties of both Elder and Aaronic priesthood holders. All members that are high priests hold, or have held, a leadership position in the church. Bishops, stake presidents, members of a stake high council, mission presidents, temple presidents, and members of the First Presidency must be ordained high priests.

The next office is Patriarch. A Patriarch's main responsibility is to provide patriarchal blessings for members of a stake or district (a geographic region of multiple congregations) and to declare an individual's lineage.

The next office is Seventy. Those who hold this office are especial witnesses of Christ who assist the Apostles in the administration of the church worldwide and in the church's areas. Each seventy is usually given a specific responsibility for a particular region.

The highest office of the Melchizedek priesthood is Apostle. This office is reserved for members of the Quorum of the Twelves Apostles and members of the First Presidency. The main role of an Apostle is to act as a special witness of Jesus Christ to the world at large and to oversee the spiritual and temporal administration of the church. The President of the Church is generally the person in the church who has been an ordained Apostle for the longest period of time.

Auxiliary organizations

Under the leadership of the priesthood hierarchy are five auxiliary organizations that fill various roles in the church: Relief Society, Young Men Organization, Young Women Organization, Primary, and Sunday School.

The Relief Society is the church's women's organization. Founded in 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois, and with the motto "Charity Never Faileth",[120] the organization today includes more than 5.5 million women in over 170 countries.[121] Every Latter-day Saint woman age 18 or older is a member of the Relief Society.[122]

The Young Men and Young Women organizations are composed of adolescents aged 12 to 18. Members often have an additional meeting during the week (referred to as Mutual), which can involve an activity, game, service project, or instruction. The young men and women may meet separately or take part in a combined activities. In the United States and Canada, the young men participate in Scouting, including efforts to earn the Boy Scouts religious award for church members, "On my Honor." Young men throughout the church also work toward earning the church's "Duty to God" award. Young women participate in a comparable program called Personal Progress. Both the young men and the young women are encouraged to live by the standards outlined in the church's "For the Strength of Youth" booklet.

The Primary is an organization for children up to age 12, founded in 1878. It provides classes, music, and activities for children during the second and third hours of the Sunday meeting schedule.

The LDS Sunday School organization provides classes for adolescents and adults during the second hour of the Sunday meeting schedule. It provides a variety of classes, including introductory classes for new members and nonmembers, and gospel doctrine classes for more experienced members. Adolescents are grouped into classes by age.

Duties and expectations of church members

For members of the church, the greatest commandment is to love God with all their heart and the second is to love others as they love themselves. All other commandments are considered appendages to these great commandments (Matt 22:37-40). In addition, they have a high degree of participation in religious activities outside of worship services. Members are expected or encouraged to pray frequently (several times a day), perform good works, and read scriptures daily.

Members are expected to donate their time, money, and talents to the church, and those who have participated in the Endowment ceremony make an oath to donate all that they have, if required of them, to the Lord. To be in good standing and to enter the church's temples, church members are asked to tithe their income to the church, which is usually interpreted as 10% of income. In addition, members are asked to donate monthly charitable "fast offerings" (at least the equivalent cost of two meals), which are used to help the needy, regardless of whether or not they are church members, and are encouraged to make other humanitarian donations when necessary.

Members who have been endowed are expected to wear a temple garment under their clothing at all times. Members are told that they should not partially or completely remove the garment to participate in activities that can "reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing". When necessary, the garment may be temporarily removed, but members are told that after the activity "they should put it back on as soon as possible." Swimming is given as an example of an activity that would justify removal of the garment.

In addition to attending the weekly three-hour church services, members are usually given "callings" or assignments in the church, and often attend various other meetings or activities throughout the week relating to that calling. Members in good standing are assigned to visit the homes of other members monthly as "home teachers" (men) or "visiting teachers" (women). Members are also expected to engage in missionary work, family history research, to conduct a Family Home Evening weekly with their family, and to attend the temple regularly. Church members are encouraged to live self-sufficiently and avoid unnecessary debt.[123][124] All male members are expected to serve a two-year mission at the age of 19, though there are high standards of worthiness and physical and mental health that prohibit many men from serving. Women may optionally serve a mission if they are over the age of 21 and not married, as may older married couples. Women serve a mission for a period of only eighteen months compared to two years for men.

Good standing in the church requires that members follow the "Word of Wisdom"[125] (a health code given by Joseph Smith which the church interprets as requiring abstinence from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, coffee, black tea, and recreational drugs). Members must also obey the law of chastity (the church's code for modesty and allowable forms of sexuality), and are strongly counseled against choosing an elective abortion, except in the cases of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, a pregnancy that seriously jeopardizes the life or health of the mother, or a pregnancy where a physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.[126] In general, members must obey the law of the country in which they live and visit, although there have been notable exceptions.[127] The church discourages gambling in all forms, including lotteries.[128]

Church members who commit what are considered serious violations of the standards of the church (defined as, without limitation, "attempted murder, rape, sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, robbery, burglary, theft, embezzlement, sale of illegal drugs, fraud, perjury, and false swearing"[129]) may be subject to church disciplinary action, including disfellowshipment or even excommunication. Such individuals are encouraged to continue attending church services, but are not permitted to hold church responsibilities or offer public prayer at any church meeting (although personal prayer is encouraged); excommunicated members are also prohibited from paying tithing or fast offerings. Other members are frequently unaware of the status of such individuals.[130] Everyone is welcome to attend the public meetings of the church, whether or not they adhere to the church's lifestyle code.

In contrast to overt actions which are prohibited, church members are generally permitted to think or believe freely on any issue, but are discouraged from publicly criticizing local leaders or general authorities; repeated public criticism of the church or its leaders may subject a person to church discipline for apostasy. The church maintains a Strengthening Church Members Committee which monitors members' publications and refers critical material to local authorities for possible disciplinary action.


The Church Administration Building with the LDS Church Office Building tower in the background

Church funds are used to construct and maintain buildings and other facilities; provide for the administrative needs of local church units; provide social welfare and relief; and to support missionary, educational, and other church-sponsored programs.[131] The church has also invested in business and real estate ventures such as Bonneville International, Deseret Book Company, and cattle ranches in Utah, Florida, and Canada.

The church receives most of its money from tithes (ten percent of a member's income) and fast offerings (money given to the church to assist individuals in need). About ten percent of its funding also comes from income on investments and real estate holdings.[132]

The church has not released church-wide financial statements since 1959, but in 1997 Time Magazine called it one of the world's wealthiest churches per capita.[133] Its for-profit, non-profit, and educational subsidiary entities are audited by an independent accounting firm: as of 2007, Deloitte & Touche.[134][135][136]

Organized worship and participation

The church provides several kinds of services and gatherings for participation by members and non-members, including weekly services on Sunday, periodic conferences such as the semi-annual general conference, and ritual services at the church's temples (for members only). All persons, regardless of their beliefs or standing in or out of the church, are welcome to attend normal church services and conferences.[137] Women usually attend worship services wearing skirts or dresses, while men typically wear suits or dress shirts (normally white) and ties. Children are also typically in their "Sunday best."[137]

Interior of the LDS Conference Center where the Church holds its semi-annual General Conference

The church holds its normal worship services on Sunday[138] during a three-hour block composed of three meetings: sacrament meeting, which features the church's weekly sacrament (Eucharist) ritual and sermons by various selected members; Sunday School, featuring a lesson on various scriptural topics; and finally, each participant is assigned a meeting based on their age and sex, which could include a meeting of priesthood holders for males aged 12 and up separated into age-specific quorums, Relief Society for adult women, and a meeting of the Young Women Organization for adolescent females. During the second and third hours, children participate in activities of the Primary. Periodically, members participate in local, regional, and general church-wide conferences in lieu of Sunday services. The general conference is broadcast semi-annually (April and October) from Salt Lake City, Utah. The 2008 general conference was broadcast live through the Internet April 5 and 6 on and was of particular significance in that a new president of the church was presented for a sustaining vote, in what is called a Solemn assembly.[139]

Latter-day Saint chapel in Puerto Princesa, Philippines

The church also provides ritual services at its temples, which are open only to members of the appropriate age who meet standards of orthodoxy and worthiness. Members are encouraged to attend the temples regularly, where they usually participate in the Endowment, sealing, washing and anointing, and other ordinances, most often by proxy for the dead.


Missionary program

Young men between the ages of 19 and 25 who meet standards of worthiness and preparation are encouraged to serve a two-year, full-time proselytizing mission. Women who desire to serve a mission must be at least 21 and generally serve 18-month missions. Retired married couples are encouraged to serve missions as well, and their length of service varies from three to 36 months.[140]

As of April 2010 there are 340 missions and approximately 52,500 full time proselytizing missionaries serving throughout the world.[141] In addition, about 8,500 missionaries are on special assignment missions, serving as health care specialists, doctors, craftsmen, artisans, construction supervisors, agricultural experts and educators for developing countries and educators, family history researchers and leadership trainers.[141]

In June 2007, the church marked the induction of its one millionth missionary since 1830.[142]

Educational System

Latter-day Saints believe in the value of education. Joseph Smith taught that "the glory of God is intelligence."[143] Accordingly, the church maintains Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University–Idaho (formerly Ricks College), Brigham Young University Hawaii, and LDS Business College. The church also has religious education programs. Seminary is a program for secondary school students held daily in conjunction with the school year. The Institute of Religion and the LDS Student Association programs serve young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 and those enrolled in post-secondary education institutions with church-owned buildings near university and college campuses designated for the purpose of religious education and cultural socialization.

In addition, the church sponsors a low-interest educational loan program known as the Perpetual Education Fund. This fund is designed to benefit young men and women from less developed parts of the world who have served a mission, returned to their home, and need further education to become productive citizens in their respective countries. As they finish their education and enter the work force, they then are able to pay back the funds provided so that other individuals can attend both vocational technical schools and university.

Welfare Program

Members of the church donate fast offerings on Fast Sunday and at other times for the purpose of helping those who are poor or financially struggling. The bishop will meet with a family, or the head(s) of a family to determine whether and how much help they need from the church. The church strongly encourages its members to be self-reliant, so these meetings will usually include a plan on how to get the family back on its own feet. This welfare program is not only available to members of the church, but to any needy members of the community. In fact, the church has a very broad humanitarian effort, which helps not only those who are going through financial struggles, but also victims of natural disasters or other devastating events. All of these services are paid for by charitable donations and are run by volunteer workers. $104.9 million of aid was given in 2007. As of April 2010 there are 8,500 welfare service missionaries serving in the church.[141]

Priesthood Correlation Program


The church also publishes several official periodicals, including the Ensign (for English-speaking adults), the Liahona (non-English languages),[144] the New Era (for youth), and the Friend (for children).

Some older, discontinued English-language publications produced or affiliated with the church included Evening and Morning Star (1833–1834), Messenger and Advocate (1834–1837), Elders' Journal (1837), Times and Seasons (1839–1846), Millennial Star (1840–1970), The Seer (1853–1854), Journal of Discourses (1854–1886), The Juvenile Instructor (1866–1930), Woman's Exponent (1872–1914), The Contributor (1879–1896), Young Woman's Journal (1889–1929), Improvement Era (1897–1970), The Children's Friend (1902–1970), Relief Society Magazine (1915–1970), and The Instructor (1930–1970).

See also


  1. ^ Articles of Faith 1:4
  2. ^ Joseph Smith—History 1:30-42
  3. ^ Joseph Smith—History 1:68-72
  4. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 110:11
  5. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-16
  6. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 27:12
  7. ^ See The Pearl of Great Price, Salt Lake City, 1981 footnote pg. 58-59[Full citation needed]
  8. ^ See Articles of Faith 1:8 "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly."
  9. ^ Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 327[Full citation needed]
  10. ^ Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2006, pp. 174. .
  11. ^ Why do Latter-day Saints use the King James (or Authorized) Version of the Bible?, "LDSFAQ", BYU Studies (Brigham Young University), archived from the original on 2008-04-29,, retrieved 2008-03-31 
  12. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 91
  13. ^ World Religions (Non-Christian) and Mormonism, "LDSFAQ", BYU Studies (Brigham Young University), archived from the original on 2008-04-29, 
  14. ^ see the title page of the Book of Mormon
  15. ^ Joseph Smith—History 1:59
  16. ^ See Testimony of the Eight Witnesses, printed in the front portion of the Book of Mormon
  17. ^ 2008 Church Almanac, Deseret Morning News, Salt Lake City pg. 656[Full citation needed]
  18. ^ However, this introduction is not officially recognized by the church as being part of the divinely inspired canon of scripture.
  19. ^ For a different view on the term Godhead, see Godhead (Christianity).
  20. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 20:28.
  21. ^ Alma 11:44
  22. ^ Joseph Fielding Smith, "Teachings", p. 311, 372[Full citation needed]
  23. ^ Talmage, James E. (1977) [1899], The Articles of Faith, p. 159, "The Holy Ghost is a personage, though he does not yet have a physical body as do Jesus Christ and God the Father. He is regarded as 'a being endowed with the attributes and powers of Deity and not a mere force or essence.'" 
  24. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 130:22-23
  25. ^ Father in Heaven, "Study Helps: The Guide to the Scriptures", (LDS Church), .
    See also, Hebrews 12:9, Abraham 3:21-26, Doctrine and Covenants 93:29
  26. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia (1913): The Athanasian Creed
  27. ^ Holland, Jeffrey R. (November 2007), "The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent", Ensign: 40 
  28. ^ "Chapter 2: Our Heavenly Family", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009, 
  29. ^ See, e.g., Kimball, Spencer W. (May 1978), "The True Way of Life and Salvation", Ensign: 4, .
  30. ^ Smith, Joseph F. (1909), Man: Origin and Destiny, pp. 348–355 
  31. ^ See, e.g., Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1985), #292 "O My Father"; #286 Oh, What Songs of the Heart.
  32. ^ Hebrews 12:9
  33. ^ Abraham 3:21-26, Doctrine and Covenants 93:29
  34. ^ John 20:1-,17
  35. ^ Mosiah 3:8
  36. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 1:38
  37. ^ Talmage, James E. (1915), Jesus the Christ, LDS Church, p. 471 
  38. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 39:4-6
  39. ^ Articles of Faith 1:3
  40. ^ Alma 34:10-,14
  41. ^ Alma 42
  42. ^ Alma 34:16
  43. ^ Alma 11:44; Alma 42:23
  44. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-20
  45. ^ 3 Nephi 11:33
  46. ^ Alma 7:11-13
  47. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 45:4
  48. ^ 3 Nephi 11:14; Doctrine and Covenants 45:52
  49. ^ Talmage, James E. (1977) [1899], The Articles of Faith, LDS Church, p. 159 
  50. ^ John 15:26
  51. ^ Moroni 10:5
  52. ^ Mosiah 3:19
  53. ^ John 14:15-16
  54. ^ Moses 3:5; Doctrine and Covenants 93:29
  55. ^ Smith, Joseph Fielding (1972) [1954], McConkie, Bruce R., ed., Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, p. 62, OCLC 3188957 
  56. ^ a b c LDS Church (1995), The Family: A Proclamation to the World, Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, .
  57. ^ Smith. Doctrines of Salvation. vol. 1, p. 56[Full citation needed]
  58. ^ general idea also expressed in Smith, Joseph F. (1969), Gospel Doctrine: Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, p. 93 
  59. ^ See Moses 4:1-4
  60. ^ Abraham 3:24-28
  61. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 29:36-37, 2 Nephi 2:17 briefly mentions the fall of Satan.
  62. ^ See Abraham 3:24-25
  63. ^ Moses 1:29-33
  64. ^ "Chapter 41: The Postmortal Spirit World", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009, 
  65. ^ See Alma 11:42-45.
  66. ^ a b c d "Chapter 46: The Final Judgment", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009, 
  67. ^ Jones, Gerald E. (August 1972), "The Gospel and Animals", Ensign, 
  68. ^ Romans 8:17
  69. ^ a b c d e "Chapter 47: Exaltation", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009, 
  70. ^ 2 Nephi 32:8
  71. ^ 3 Nephi 27:7
  72. ^ 3 Nephi 13:11
  73. ^ McConkie, Bruce R., Why the Lord Ordained Prayer, Prayer p.5-15 Deseret Book Company 1979 ed.
  74. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 20:47-,51
  75. ^ "Chapter 8: Praying to Our Heavenly Father", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009, 
  76. ^ Joseph Smith—History 1:14-20
  77. ^ Members are encouraged to listen carefully to general conference but also feel they can rely on personal revelation in order to appreciate validity of such statements (Joseph F. Smith, in Conference Report, April 1902; Hunter, Howard W. (November 1981), "Conference Time", Ensign, ).
  78. ^ a b "Chapter 38: Eternal Marriage", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009, 
  79. ^ "Marital Status by Religious Tradition", U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 
  80. ^ "Number of Children by Religious Tradition", U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 
  81. ^ "Comparisons", U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 
  82. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 14:7
  83. ^ Moses 1:39
  84. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-3
  85. ^ a b "Chapter 40: Temple Work and Family History", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009, 
  86. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-4
  87. ^ Farnsworth, Sonja (1992), "Mormonism's Odd Couple: The Motherhood-Priesthood Connection", in Hanks, Maxine, Women and Authority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, ISBN 9781560850144, OCLC 25509094, 
  88. ^ Witney, Helen; Barnes, Jane (2007), Transcript (Night Two), "The Mormons Part 2", The Mormons, FRONTLINE and American Experience (PBS),, "Mormon women work outside the home in about the same proportions as other American women..." 
  89. ^ Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidents and Bishoprics (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006) p. 41, 78.
  90. ^ "Chapter 39: The Law of Chastity", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009, 
  91. ^ Kimball, Spencer W. (1969), The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, pp. 25, 77–89, ISBN 9780884944447, OCLC 20950 
  92. ^ Some church leaders have taught that oral sex, anal sex and contraception are sinful, even as part of a marriage relationship, but there are no policies on these issues that are enforced in the church. On January 5, 1982 the First Presidency issued a statement to church leaders that stated that the First Presidency "has interpreted oral sex to constitute an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice". However, the statement also counseled church leaders to "scrupulously avoid" detailed inquiries into the sexual practices of married couples and emphasized that married couples "can determine by themselves" what is appropriate in their sexual relationship (Kimball, Spencer W.; Tanner, N. Eldon; Romney, Marion G.; Hinckley, Gordon B. (5 January 1982), Letter from the Office of the First Presidency, LDS Church . Reprint without permission by at
  93. ^ Olson, Terrance D. (1992), "Sexuality", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York, NY: Macmillan, pp. 1306–1308, ISBN 0-02-904040-X, OCLC 24502140,,4193 
  94. ^ Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay (October 1942), "Parenthood: First Presidency Message", Conference Report, pp. 12-13.
  95. ^ In the 19th century, the church performed illegal polygamous marriages, but that practice has been discontinued. The church is sensitive about its historical relationship with polygamy and modern entry into a polygamous marriage, even where legal, may result in excommunication (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1: Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics (2006), p. 110).
  96. ^ Modesty, "Gospel Study: Study by Topic", (LDS Church), 
  97. ^ LDS Church, Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1: Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, 2006, pp. 109–111.
  98. ^ LDS Church, Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1: Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, 2006, p. 188.
  99. ^ a b Hinckley, Gordon B. (November 1998), "What Are People Asking about Us?", Ensign (LDS Church), 
  100. ^ The church characterizes its church discipline policy as neutral regarding sexual orientation: “Now we have gays in the church. Good people. We take no action against such people—provided they don’t become involved in transgression, sexual transgression. If they do, we do with them exactly what we’d do with heterosexuals who transgress" (Lattin, Don (April 13, 1997), "Musings of the Main Mormon: Gordon B. Hinckley, "president, prophet, seer and revelator: of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sits at the top of one of the world's fastest-growing religions", San Francisco Chronicle, ). Nevertheless, according to the church handbook, repeated homosexual activities by adults, unlike repeated heterosexual extramarital sex, will result in an automatic annotation to a person's permanent membership record, which will follow them if they move to a new local congregation (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1: Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics (2006), p. 147). Also, homosexual activity committed after the age of 16 will normally permanently bar a person from serving a mission for the church (Id., p. 94).
  101. ^ Oaks, Dallin H.; Wickman, Lance B. (2007) (Transcript). Same-Gender Attraction. Interview with LDS Church Public Affairs staffers. Newsroom, LDS Church. Salt Lake City, Utah. 
  102. ^ a b Hinckley, Gordon B.; Monson, Thomas S.; Faust, James E. (October 20, 2004), First Presidency Statement on Same-Gender Marriage, Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, .
  103. ^ Moore, Carrie (May 15, 2008), LDS Church expresses disappointment in California gay marriage decision, Deseret News,,5143,700226242,00.html 
  104. ^ Smith, Christian; Denton, Melinda Lundquist (2005), Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195180954, OCLC 55947930 ;
    Weaver, Sarah Jane (26 March 2005), "LDS teens stand out in survey on religion", Church News, 
  105. ^ Doctrine & Covenants 130:20-21
  106. ^ Ordinances, "Gospel Study: Study by Topic", (LDS Church), 
  107. ^ Doctrine & Covenants 22:1; D&C 131:2; D&C 132:4-,6,19,26-27,19-42
  108. ^ 1 Nephi 11:21-23; Enos 1:3; Alma 4:14; Alma 19:6-,14; Alma 26:11-35; Alma 28:8
  109. ^ Matthew 26:28; John 6:54; Hebrews 9:14-22; Hebrews 13:12; 3 Nephi 18:1-16; Moroni 4; Moroni 5
  110. ^ Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17:7-,9,19; Deuteronomy 4:25-31; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2; Jeremiah 31:9-,18-19,31-34; Hebrews 7:11-14; Abraham 2:8-11; D&C 86:8-11
  111. ^ Genesis 14:19; Genesis 22:17; Genesis 26:4; Genesis 49:25
  112. ^ Title Page, Book of Mormon; 1 Nephi 15:12-18; 2 Nephi 3; 2 Nephi 6:10-15; 2 Nephi 9:1-3
  113. ^ Pearson, Glenn L.; Bankhead, Reid E (1986), Building Faith with the Book of Mormon, SLC: Bookcraft, p. 25, ISBN 9780884946113, OCLC 15285192 
  114. ^ Moroni 8:4-23; Doctrine and Covenants 68:25-27
  115. ^ a b "Chapter 20: Baptism", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009, 
  116. ^ Moroni 8:22-23
  117. ^ Ludlow, Daniel H. (1993) [1948], "Ch. 32", Latter-day Prophets Speak: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Church Presidents, OCLC 6160335 
  118. ^ Quinn, D. Michael (1997), "Ch. 6", Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, ISBN 9781560850601, OCLC 32168110 
  119. ^ Women in the Church, "Gospel Study: Study by Topic", (LDS Church), 
  120. ^ "Chapter 2: "Something Better", The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo", Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, Salt Lake City: LDS Church, 2011, 
  121. ^ "Topics: Women in the Church", Newsroom (LDS Church), 
  122. ^ Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, Salt Lake City: LDS Church, 2011, 
  123. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 104:78
  124. ^ Benson, Ezra Taft (June 1987), "Pay Thy Debt, and Live", Ensign, 
  125. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 89, originally a strong recommendation, but adopted as a requirement by Brigham Young in 1851.
  126. ^ Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1:Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, 2006, p. 185.
  127. ^ For example, until 1890, the church advocated civil disobedience to U.S. anti-polygamy laws.
  128. ^ Hinckley, Gordon B. (May 2005), "Gambling", Ensign, 
  129. ^ Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1: Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics (2006), p. 110.
  130. ^ Ballard, M. Russell (September 1990), "A Chance to Start Over: Church Disciplinary Councils and the Restoration of Blessings", Ensign, 
  131. ^ "Topics: Tithing", Newsroom (LDS Church), 
  132. ^ "LDS Revenues and Assets", Dave's Mormon Inquiry (blog), 12 October 2004, [unreliable source?]
  133. ^ Biema, David Van; Gwynne, S.C.; Ostling, Richard N. (August 4, 1997), "Kingdom Come", Time Magazine 150 (5),,9171,986794,00.html, "Its current assets total a minimum of $30 billion." 
  134. ^ Why Deseret Trust Company?, "Deseret Trust Company", (LDS Church), 
  135. ^ Belo Corp Form 8-K.[dead link] Accessed 16 May 2007.
  136. ^ "Financial Planning".[dead link] Accessed 16 May 2007.
  137. ^ a b "Worship with Us", (LDS Church), 
  138. ^ Services may be held on a different day when Sunday worship is prohibited by law.
  139. ^ Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (May 2008), "The Sustaining of Church Officers", Ensign, 
  140. ^ "Mormon Missionaries - FAQ",, 
  141. ^ a b c 2010 Worldwide Statistics, "Facts & Statistics", Newsroom (LDS Church), 02 April 2011, 
  142. ^ "One Million Missionaries, Thirteen Million Members", Newsroom (LDS Church), 25 June 2007, 
  143. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 93:36
  144. ^ The Liahona is currently published in over 50 languages. Material for adults, youth, and children is included in each edition.

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