Introduction To Mormonism

by David Padfield

How many times have you have heard a knock at your front door, and when you opened it, you were greeted by two neatly dressed young men who ease their way into your house? They explain that they are from the Church of Jesus Christ, and they wish to "share their testimony" with you. In a short time, you will learn how the ancient inhabitants got to America and how Christ appeared to them after His resurrection. They will tell you that this world is suffering from denominationalism and ask if you think there needs to be unity in Christianity. They will then tell you how God selected a pure young man by the name of Joseph Smith to be His spokesman, or Prophet, for our age. They will tell you how God told Smith to "restore" the church that had fallen into apostasy—including the restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets—and this restoration was to be aided by the Book of Mormon.

These men are from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with imposing headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Most people refer to this group as "the Mormon church," but this is not how they prefer to be recognized.

They accept the term "Mormonism" to describe the combination of doctrine, culture, and lifestyle that is unique to their group.

Mormonism, the largest of American-born cults, has grown with exceeding speed to a worldwide membership of over 16 million people—yet it began in America in 1830 with just six members. This series of articles is not intended to be an "attack" upon Mormons, but rather an attempt to obey the command of 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

To understand Mormon doctrines and how they affect the lives of their adherents, we must first give some thought to the men who started their church and how they "revealed" their "special revelations" from God. I will not be quoting from the enemies of the LDS church, for I realize they would not accurately represent them. However, I will be quoting from official Mormon books, tracts, and their official website, and from several historical documents that can be seen in libraries and courthouses today. I claim no originality for any of the material in this series. I have kept notes on the Mormon cult for over 30 years, and after all of this time, it is sometimes hard to distinguish my notes from some of the sources I have used over the years.

Other Articles In This Series On Mormonism:

  1. Introduction to Mormonism
  2. The History Of Mormonism
  3. The Bible Or The Book Of Mormon?
  4. Other Sources Of Mormon Authority
  5. Mormon Doctrines
  6. Comparisons And Conclusions

For further study