Firstly, there is a difference between a temple and a regular meeting house. In a meeting house we meet weekly for worship and to take the sacrament. Temples are set aside for special ordinances that are not open for public viewing.
Mormons do not generally discuss temple worship among non-Mormons. Even among ourselves, there are aspects of temple worship we do not discuss outside the temple. At most they are referred to indirectly. Continue reading →
Summary: When a Mormon speaks of premortal life he is referring to the belief that each person existed before their birth, that the spirit preexists conception and that we all had lives, thoughts, friends, and beliefs during that time.You, me, Jesus, Lucifer, and everyone else who has been, are now, or will be living on the earth are all children of God.
The term preexistence refers to a time before the creation of the earth when we all existed and during which several important events occurred. One of those events was the war in heaven. Eventually, everyone chose one of two camps: followers of Jesus and followers of Lucifer. The war led to the expulsion of Lucifer and his followers. It is believed by Mormons that 1/3 of the preexistent spirits followed Lucifer. The remaining 2/3 followed Jesus and were born to earth, or will be born to earth. Lucifer and his followers will never have that privilege.
Everyone born to this earth was at one time a follower of Jesus. Though, some of them were more valiant than others. Continue reading →
According to Mormon beliefs, at death the spirit is separated from the body and enters what we call the spirit world–a place where disembodied spirits await the resurrection and God’s final judgment. The Book of Mormon prophet Alma explains,
Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection–Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are…these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth… thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection. (Alma 40:11-14).
The elect are those whom God has chosen: “but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen” (Mark 13:20). The LDS Bible Dictionary points out that election “is both on a national and an individual basis” (“Election,” Bible Dictionary).
National (group) election
The national basis is that God has elected his church to be holy, and that Israel will be his holy people. A good place to begin is Ephesians chapter 1:
PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Eph. 1:1-7)
The word justify can mean (1) innocence before the law, (2) reconciliation with God, and (3) to be shown to be correct (vindication). Unless otherwise stated the word justification is used in the sense of (1), innocence before the law.
The term justification generally can be thought of as the language of the courts. For example, if the outcome of a trial is decided in your favor you have been justified. This is the context which Isaiah uses:
All the nations have gathered together so that the peoples may be assembled. Who among them can declare this and proclaim to us the former things? Let them present their witnesses that they may be justified, Or let them hear and say, “It is true.” (NASB, Isa. 43:9)
The opposite of justification is condemnation: “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37; See also Alma 41:15).
In the Mormon view works alone cannot justify us. The reason is partly due to our unsteadiness.
AND thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea…how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men,…how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths! (Hel. 12:1-5)
There are many ways to picture our relationship to God. He can be seen as our Father in Heaven (Jer. 3:19; Matt. 5:45); as a Judge and Lawgiver (Isa. 33:22), with Christ as our advocate (1 John 1:9). He has been pictured as the husband of a wayward wife (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:14), and as a great King or Lord (1 Tim. 6:15). He has been pictured as God the farmer (John 15:1; Jacob 5); God the shepherd (Psalm 23:1; Matt. 25:32); God the potter (Jer. 18:6); God the employer (Alma 3:27; Matt. 20:1); and as a fountain of righteousness giving refreshment to his followers (Ether 8:26). Also, he is often pictured as a master ruling over his servants (slaves): “For it is just like a man going on a journey. He called his own slaves and turned over his possessions to them” (ESV, Matt. 25:14). For this post I will use the master servant relationship to explore the concept of salvation by God’s grace.
Jesus said to his disciples.
Does [the master] thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ (NKJV, Luke 17:9-10; compare Mosiah 2:21)
Anti-Mormon writers use a theory called the Adam-God Theory, with which they make the claim that Mormons believe Adam is God the Father; and also, that within the Mormon faith, this is (or was) a deeply held and secret belief.
The theory stems from a sermon delivered by Brigham Young on April 9, 1852. Here is the passage in question.
Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken–He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. … …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. (JD 1:50-51)