We believe in the first principles of the gospel, which are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, second, repentance, third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sin, fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This article of faith is a very important one as it involves the most basic actions that we do to follow Christ. Having faith in Christ gives us a starting point and a drive to continue. Our failures and weakness can be remedied by repentance with faith. After repentance, we can be baptized to complete the process. Finally, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost seals the covenant we have made with God in baptism. That covenant includes the promise of having God’s spirit to be with us which will guide us throughout our lives.
This process is repeated thoughout our lives, with baptism renewed through the sacrament, in order to improves our lives and become more like God.
Question Box: Do Mormons believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross and rose again? That He paid the price for our sins once and for all? And that there is no other way to the Father but through Jesus? Thank you.
Yes, we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, that He died on the cross, and that he rose again the third day. We believe that Christ’s atonement (his suffering and death/resurrection) was for our sins, making it possible for us to repent and become clean again. His perfect life provides an example for us in how to live and love others as He does. We can become like Him as we give up our sins and change our lives to follow His teachings. We believe “that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.” (Helaman 5 :9)
I know Christ loves us by the things He taught and the way He lived His life, culminating in His atonement for our sins. I’ve added a short video below that the Church has produced to help demonstrate how the atonement works.
I was asked to write a response to the question: “Can Mormons view pornography?” Sadly the answer to this is yes they can. (That brings up the agency issue, which is a subject for another time.) But to the question, “Should Mormons view pornography?” I would answer NO! It is seen as sinful behavior that is demeaning to both the viewer and the objectified person in the picture.
An excerpt from the LDS Pamphlet For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, pretty much sums up what Mormon’s believe regarding viewing pornography.
“Pornography in all its forms is especially dangerous and addictive. What may begin as a curious indulgence can become a destructive habit that takes control of your life. It can lead you to sexual transgression and even criminal behavior. Pornography is a poison that weakens your self-control, changes the way you see others, causes you to lose the guidance of the Spirit, and can even affect your ability to have a normal relationship with your future spouse. If you encounter pornography, turn away from it immediately.”
That sums up the church’s attitude toward pornography. There are some policy issues regarding those who indulge. Generally if a person tells their bishop that they are viewing pornography they will be denied access to holy temples and given all the help they are willing to accept to overcome the habit.
They can learn from their bishops how to repent and regain access to the atonement of Jesus Christ, which enables them to fully recover.
In the Middle Ages, one third of Europe’s population was wiped out by the Black Plague. Today there is a plague killing people, but this plague is killing them spiritually–it is pornography. Pornography is defined as “any material depicting or describing the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses sexual feelings” (lds.org). I know that many in the world would say that there is nothing wrong with watching a little pornography here and there, because it doesn’t affect them. But just letting a cat into the house in the Middle Ages could have caused the death of the entire family. Pornography should be avoided at all costs. The effects it has on the brain are well documented– it is more addictive than cocaine. Fully half of all divorces in America cite an obsessive addiction with pornography by one of the partners as a major reason for the split. It is not worth even a tiny glance.
I am sympathetic to those who personally deal with this extremely addicting and destructive vice. I can only imagine how hard it must be to break the shackles. I am sure that such people feel that they can never escape, or that they have come so far down, that they can’t escape. But there is always a way out and that way is through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I am not saying that addiction to pornography is easily overcome, but what I am saying is that it is possible with sustained, diligent effort. Our church has put together a website (combatingpornography.org) to help those who are struggling in any way with pornography. It is also a great resource to educate oneself about the effects of pornography on the individual, family, and society.
But what about those that dabble here and there? Is it really that bad? Christ said, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). It is clear, God views these types of activities as sin. Under the law of Moses adultery was punishable by death by stoning. That should indicate to us the seriousness that God places on breaking commandments that deal with virtue.
And for those of you who are married, (and even if you are not) I urge you think twice about viewing pornography in any form. You are better than that. Your dignity and integrity aren’t worth it. You owe it to yourself, your spouse, and your kids to keep your mind clean from this filth. If you have fallen into this trap, there is a way out. A starting point would be to click on the combatingpornography.org link I listed above. Here are some links to articles or talks by a few of the leaders of our church:
I advise everyone who reads this to treat the issue with as much care and consideration as you would if you were living amidst an outbreak of the Black Plague. Guard yourselves. Protect your families. Pornography is an addictive, destructive and draining habit. Even viewing it one time can be enough to start an addiction. Teach your children and avoid it yourselves.
When Jesus Christ was on the earth, he was criticized for eating with “publicans and sinners” (Matt 9:10-11). His opponents felt that he was being too friendly with people whose choices were not those of righteousness. However, Jesus consistently taught love for those whom we are not inclined to love (Matt 5:44). He showed us the example by his love for Roman invaders, thieves, harlots and other people whom he had every apparent reason to despise. An important aspect of the Savior’s example is that even though he loves all with an incomprehensible love, he “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance”. As members of His church, we seek to emulate this characteristic, which is summed up in the oft-quoted maxim “hate the sin, love the sinner.”
Of course this phrase isn’t strictly doctrinal, but it serves as a simple reminder of some very Christian practices. In our quest to emulate the savior we seek to become as he is: perfect, just and merciful (Alma 42: 15). Of course, we know that all men sin and “come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Yet we still cannot, as disciples of Christ, condone sinful practices, either in ourselves or others. For this reason we strive, as individuals, parents, friends, voting citizens and in all other capacities, to promote measures that encourage righteousness and discourage practices that go against the revealed will of God.
I personally find that understanding a person’s motives allows us to sympathize with them as individuals even though we do not condone their behavior. I think of Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment”, in which the protagonist is a murderer and another main character is a harlot. Throughout the novel you discover that the murderer and the harlot are both very human—almost pitiable. They are motivated by such common emotions as individualism, helplessness, despair and caring. This understanding does not justify them for doing wrong nor does it exempt them from punishment (as shown in the end). However, committing ourselves to treating all people as humans with human motives and desires allows us to love them more fully.