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World Religions, Christianity, and Mormonism

While there are thousands of different religious sects and denominations throughout the world, many share similar core beliefs.

As some of the world’s largest religions, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism hold some common values and views about life, love and how we treat one another. And Christian churches have many similar beliefs, despite their doctrinal differences. Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is a restored Christian church.

Similarities among major world religions

While the practices of the world’s major religions vary widely, many share similar views and values. For example, religions with the most adherents—Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism—generally believe in deity, honor sacred writings, and accept life after death.

A belief in a deity

With the exception of Buddhism (most sects are atheistic), the world’s major religions, including Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, believe in deity, or a higher power in the universe. 

A belief in sacred writings

Jews study the Old Testament, which includes the first five books of Moses known as the Torah (in the Bible these are the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), the writings of Isaiah and Jeremy, and many other sacred texts. Jews also study the Talmud, the source and discussion of Jewish law. Muslims study the teaching of Muhammad in the Koran. Hindus study the Vedas, a collection of hymns, philosophy, and ancient texts. Buddhists study the discourses of the Buddha, called the Tripitaka and the Mahayana sutras. Christians study the Holy Bible as revelation from God to His prophets; other Christian denominations accept other sacred writings, such as the Book of Mormon and the Apocrypha.

A belief in life after death

Major global religions teach a moral code for finding purpose in this life and preach some manner of life after death. Judaism focuses on actions taken during this life but teaches of Olam Ha-Ba (“the world to come”). Islam believes in a day of judgment followed by the pleasures of paradise or the punishment of hell. In Hinduism and Buddhism, an afterlife is part of a constant existence as people cycle through birth, death, and rebirth until perfection is reached. Christian denominations believe that God will judge all people and award them accordingly.

Christian beliefs

Though the major religions share the beliefs identified above, Christian denominations do of course differ from other faiths in some of the core beliefs that they hold.

God is the Father of all people

In Christianity, God is a Heavenly Father to all people. He loves His children, watches over them, and wants them to understand His plan of happiness and experience lasting joy. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

God gives guidance

God does not expect people to navigate the complexities of life without help. And so God gives us commandments, instructions that, when followed, promise happiness. God’s guidance is found in the holy scriptures, through the words of His prophets, and through the influence of the Holy Spirit

Salvation comes through Jesus Christ

Even with God’s teachings to guide them, people will make mistakes and will also sin. But through baptism, regular repentance, and the saving grace of Jesus Christ, all people can be forgiven. Jesus explained that it is not enough to simply claim to be a Christian: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Instead, He taught that true Christians “doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

All people will live again

Generally, Christians do not believe that death is the end. Each spirit will continue to exist after the mortal body dies. 

Christian denominations

Although Christians share common core beliefs, over time the Church of Christ has splintered into hundreds of different denominations, which differ in some of their beliefs about baptism, priesthood authority, holy scripture, and other points of doctrine.

Early Christianity

Following Jesus’s mortal ministry, the Apostles continued preaching His gospel to believers. However, they were severely persecuted, and many were martyred. Church authority and those with God’s priesthood gradually disappeared with the deaths of these followers. 

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches

Several hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ, Christians belonged to two primary sects, now known as the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. While both considered Jesus Christ as central to their beliefs, they differed on questions of church authority.

Protestant denominations

In the early 1500s, reformers like Martin Luther questioned the authority, principles, and practices of the Catholic Church. This religious revolution resulted in many different branches of Christianity, including Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and hundreds of others. Though these denominations hold to the teachings of the Bible, they interpret the holy scriptures differently and therefore administer to their congregations differently.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In 1820, a young man named Joseph Smith knelt in prayer, asking God which of all the Christian churches he should join. This prayer led to the beginning of God’s restoration of Jesus Christ’s original Church. God and Jesus Christ directed Joseph not to join any existing church but to organize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Are Mormons Christians?

Yes! In fact, Mormon is merely a nickname; the formal title of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons have the same core beliefs as most Christians with a few important distinctions.

Mormons believe Jesus is part of the Godhead

While some Christian churches believe in the Holy Trinity—three Gods in one, or the idea that God is without form—Mormons believe that God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct personages, united in purpose. The Father and the Son have physical, perfected bodies, while the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. Mormons believe in Jesus Christ and revere Him as their savior and a member of the Godhead.

Mormons believe in Jesus’s established Church

Other Christian churches descend primarily from Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant traditions. Protestant denominations in particular are called reformed churches. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restored church. Jesus Christ Himself reestablished His Church as originally organized, with direct priesthood authority and living prophets.

Mormons believe in living prophets

As part of His restored Church, Jesus Christ has called prophets and apostles today, just as He did in ancient times. These individuals have been given authority to speak God’s words and to lead Christ’s restored Church in our day.

Mormons follow Jesus’s gospel as outlined in the scriptures

Mormons revere the Bible as the word of God and believe the Book of Mormon to be “another testament of Jesus Christ.” Because God loves all His children, He has given His word liberally through scripture. As a companion to the Bible, the Book of Mormon is evidence of this. An ancient record that contains writings of prophets on the American continents, the Book of Mormon supports biblical teachings, clarifies details of doctrine, and witnesses of the resurrected Christ. 

Mormons believe in eternal families

As do many Christians, Mormons believe in life after death. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, each person’s spirit will be reunited with its perfected, resurrected body, and each person will have the opportunity to live eternally with family and loved ones. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that family relationships can last beyond the grave. Those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, follow His commandments, and live the guidelines He has established can qualify for family relationships that last forever.

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