Not entirely. In absolute numbers, this represents somewhere in the ballpark of a quarter of a million active, practicing Mormons in the United States who are uncertain of their beliefs in LDS Church teachings. There is much more that the NMS revealed about patterns of belief and doubt in contemporary American Mormonism. We hope these survey results will be of use to Mormon laity and clergy alike as they think about how to best minister to members who often feel out of place in a religious community that puts an extremely high premium on certitude.
At the same time, Mormons should be pleased to see that a strong majority of their members are firm in their convictions and are, on average, much more likely to express belief in the teachings of their church than adherents of many other American religious traditions. US Edition U. News U. HuffPost Personal Video Horoscopes. Newsletters Coupons.
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In his later years Smith also differed from traditional Protestantism in his views on the nature of God and humanity. Eventually Smith reduced the difference between God and man to one of degree. Both God and man are coeternal and uncreated. He taught that humans could progress to an exalted state in which they became coequal with a God who was material, plural, and himself a glorified man existing within time. Such a teaching implied a vast hierarchy of gods who would rule kingdoms of inferior intelligences, and so forth in an eternal hierarchy.
After Smith's death, his successor Brigham Young and others built upon Smith's late teachings and introduced more significant doctrinal innovations. The resulting religious tradition defined the Mormonism of the Mormon pioneer era in the 19th century.
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An important part of this pioneer Mormonism is the Adam—God doctrine , which became the most prominent but not exclusive theology of 19th-century Mormonism. Some elements of Mormonism from the pioneer era, including polygamy and the Adam—God doctrine, were renounced around the turn of the 20th century by the LDS Church. Near the turn of the 20th century there was a movement to codify LDS theology with official statements of Church leaders — which served to quash speculative ideas that persisted as sub rosa concepts among some Mormons.
This coincided with an effort to stop new plural marriages — mostly forbidden in and completely forbidden after Prominent Mormons such as Joseph F. Smith , John A. Widstoe , and James E. Talmage formulated the outlines of Mormon orthodoxy with publications that significantly narrowed the realm of acceptable speculative Mormon theology. In traditional Christianity, as expressed in the Athanasian Creed , God is conceived both as a unity and a Trinity : God the Father , God the Son , and God the Holy Spirit are described as three persons of one uncreated divine being, equally infinite, eternal, and unchangeable.
Mormons are constrained by the language of the Book of Mormon to regard the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as "one", but consider this a social unity rather than ontological. Mormons since the time of Joseph Smith have regarded God as plural. They are "one" in the sense of being lovingly united in purpose or will, a view sometimes called social trinitarianism. Mormons since the s have believed that God is changeable. They believe that the Father like the Son was twice "born"—once as a spirit, and again as a mortal man. While Mormons might agree with the statement that the Father and the Son are "uncreated", their understanding of "creation" differs from that of traditional Christianity.
Mormons do not believe, as do traditional Christians, that God created the universe ex nihilo from nothing. Traditional Christians consider God to be a "necessary being", meaning that he cannot not exist, while all other creations are "contingent beings". In Mormonism, by contrast, every god and human is equally a necessary being.
The Mormon sense of "eternal" differs from that of traditional Christians, who believe that God's eternal nature exists outside of space and time. Some situate the Mormon God within space and time. Mormons believe that God is scrutable through revelation,   and anthropomorphic,  in that he has a physical body of flesh and bone. Although the LDS Church has never officially adopted a doctrine of soteriology,  most Mormons accept the doctrine of salvation formulated by B. Roberts , John A. Talmage in the early 20th century. Mormons believe they must not only have faith and repent but also be baptized by immersion and by a Mormon priesthood holder and bring forth good works.
Although the grace of Jesus plays a role in salvation, each Mormon must "work out his own salvation". Mormonism takes an extended view of Christian perfection ,  asserting that through the grace of Jesus, Mormons may become perfectly sanctified and thereby literally become gods or achieve a state known as exaltation. Like Catholicism and Orthodoxy, Mormonism assigns considerable authoritative status to church tradition and ecclesiastical leadership.
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Mormons believe this church to be the "only true and living church. The Prophet has been compared to the Pope in Catholicism because both, within their respective faiths, are regarded as the leading authority. Mormons also believe in apostolic succession.
However, Mormons believe the Catholic line of succession is invalid because of a Great Apostasy that occurred soon after era of the apostles. The line of succession was restored through Joseph Smith when biblical prophets and apostles appeared to him and ordained him through the laying on of hands with lost priesthood authority. Thus, Mormons believe that non-Mormon clergy have no heavenly authority and that sacraments performed by clergy of other faiths are of no effect in the eyes of God. Some claim that in the lateth century, a conservative movement within the LDS Church called "Mormon neo-orthodoxy" on the analogy of an earlier Protestant neo-orthodoxy  emphasized the Book of Mormon over later revelations  and embraced original sin, an absolute, eternal, and unchanging God, a pessimistic assessment of human nature, and a doctrine of salvation by grace rather than by works.
Despite the book's importance to early Mormonism, early Mormons rarely quoted from the Book of Mormon in their speeches and writings.
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The book was not regularly cited in Mormon conferences until the s. Although Mormon neo-orthodox scholars say they have faced "resistance" from Mormon orthodoxy,  some perceive the direction of the movement to be consistent with a broader trend among the LDS hierarchy to present Mormonism in terms more acceptable to mainline Christianity. The existence and implications of the movement continues to be debated. Theologian Richard Mouw asserts that Mormons have downplayed some of its more "heretical" doctrines in order to obtain more effective dialogue with other Christians.
He consequently contends that "Christian consensus is fluid and, in some cases, has lagged behind the Mormon model. In the past, most mainstream Christian denominations rejected Mormonism outright, frequently calling it a cult and characterizing it as "non-Christian.
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Richard Abanes attributes an "increasing lack of delineation between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity " to three primary causes:. Richard Bushman asserts that, for many people, Mormonism "conjures up an assortment of contradictory images". One set of images suggests that Mormons are "happy, uncomplicated, kindly and innocent—if perhaps naive". In contrast to this set of images, Bushman describes a set of associations that focuses on "a powerful religious hierarchy controlling the church from the top". This perspective views Mormons as "secretive, clannish and perhaps dangerous", often labeling the movement as a "cult rather than a church".
Stephen E. Robinson has argued that Mormons are labeled heretics "for opinions and practices that are freely tolerated in other mainstream denominations. Mormonism has a particularly rocky relationship with American Evangelical Christianity. Mouw , President of Fuller Theological Seminary , an evangelical school in Pasadena, California , stated in a recent opinion piece for CNN, "[t]hose of us who have made the effort to engage Mormons in friendly and sustained give-and-take conversations have come to see them as good citizens whose life of faith often exhibits qualities that are worthy of the Christian label, even as we continue to engage in friendly arguments with them about crucial theological issues.
Because it's the prejudice of our age. Latter Day Saint history comes from the position that other churches were the product of the apostasy, as referenced in the Bible. The Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant branches of Christianity reject Mormon claims of additional scriptures, and of the prophetic office of Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders; they disagree with Mormon charges that they have committed apostasy.
Doctrines such as the beliefs about the existence of prophets in early American civilizations, which are unique to Mormon theology and not found in the teachings of other Christian churches are also causes of disagreement. Nonetheless, many Christian denominations treat Mormons with respect, while not minimizing the differences in belief. However, because of differences in Mormon and Catholic beliefs concerning the Trinity, the Catholic Church stated that Mormon baptism was "not the baptism that Christ instituted.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America , the largest Lutheran body in the US, notes that Lutherans have been among those Christians who do not re-baptize other baptized Christians; however, it publishes the following statement on the recognition of Mormon baptisms:.
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The Episcopal Church USA , part of the million-member Anglican Communion , does not have an official position on the validity of Mormon baptism; however, most traditional clergy would not accept Mormon baptism and require the baptism of Mormons entering into the Episcopal Church. Retired bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah was baptized into the LDS Church at the age of 8, her baptism was deemed valid upon her entering into the Episcopal Church in , where she was confirmed by bishop of Washington , Rev. John T. Many other Christian churches also seek to teach or convert Mormons when the opportunity arises.
Traditional Christian leaders often encourage their followers to follow the admonition of  and witness to others using gentleness and respect.
Like their Mormon counterparts, those from the traditional Christian religions assert that these proselytizing efforts arise out of love and genuine concern for others and not a desire to cause contention.