As Mitt Romney’s candidacy gains delegates, it becomes increasingly likely that he will represent the Republican Party in the general election for President of the United States of America being held this fall. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a Mormon), Romney’s religion has been a continual source of questions from prospective voters. What is a Mormon? What do Mormons believe? How do Mitt Romney’s beliefs shape his choices?
In order to help answer the many questions being raised about what Mormons believe, the Church has recently published an article in the LDS Newsroom entitled “Mormonism 101: FAQ,” in which its basic doctrines are set forth. Some of the most frequently asked questions about Mormonism are answered as well. The Church points out that media coverage often tends to center on controversial issues, thus presenting a distorted view of Mormonism by ignoring the central tenets of the faith.
Basic Doctrine: Mormons are Christians
The first core belief set forth in “Mormonism 101” is that Mormons worship the Lord Jesus Christ. According to the article,
The founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, wrote, “The fundamental principles of our religion are … concerning Jesus Christ that He died was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
The other core beliefs put forward also center on Christ, and on Christianity:
In addition to the above, Latter-day Saints believe unequivocally that:
1. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of our loving Heavenly Father.
2. Christ’s Atonement allows mankind to be saved from their sins and return to live with God and their families forever.
3. Christ’s original Church as described in the New Testament has been restored in modern times.
Each of these beliefs is explained in greater detail within the article.
Mormon Beliefs: Frequently Asked Questions
The next portion of the article, “Mormonism 101: FAQ,” answers a series of questions that often come to mind when people think about Mormonism. Each question is answered briefly and in a straightforward manner. You can click on any of the questions listed below to be taken to its response.
- Are Mormons Christian?
- What do Mormons believe about God?
- Do Mormons believe in the Trinity?
- What is the Mormon View of the purpose of life?
- Do Mormons believe in the Bible?
- What is the Book of Mormon?
- What is a Mormon temple?
- Do Latter-day Saints believe in modern-day prophets?
- Do Latter-day Saints believe that the apostles receive revelations from God?
- Do Mormon women lead in the Church?
- Do Latter-day Saints believe they can become “gods”?
- Do Latter-day Saints believe that they will “get their own planet”?
- Do some Latter-day Saints wear temple garments?
- Do Latter-day Saints practice polygamy?
- What is the position of the Church regarding race relations?
- Do Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri?
- Why do you “baptize for the dead”?
- Why does the Church send out missionaries?
- Why don’t Mormons smoke or drink alcohol?
How Do Mormons Live? Service, Contributions, Humanitarian Efforts, and Missionary Work
Mormons are, as a group, highly committed to their religion. About 80% of Mormons pray daily, and 77% attend church services at least weekly. Mitt Romney is among this group of committed Latter-day Saints. Because the Church does not hire trained preachers to oversee congregations, even at the highest levels, Church leadership positions are filled by lay members who volunteer their time. These lay leaders are employed in other occupations. Romney himself has served in many unpaid Church callings, including supervising a group of congregations as the president of a Mormon “stake.” Nearly all active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve continually in various church positions, or “callings,” throughout their lives. For example, nearly every adult member of the Church visits monthly in the homes of other members to whom they are assigned as a home teacher. His experience in both administrative and one-on-one church service will be an asset to Romney, should he be elected President of the United States.
As was demonstrated when Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax returns, most Mormons contribute ten percent of their income to the Church in the form of tithing. Other contributions, from fast offerings to help the poor to humanitarian and missionary contributions, can raise this percentage even higher. Mormons believe that voluntary contributions to the Church and to humanitarian causes is a way to “give back” to God, an expression of gratitude for His blessings in their lives.
The humanitarian arm of the Church relies on the volunteer service and contributions of Latter-day Saints throughout the world who reach out to help those in need. Mormon humanitarian workers have become a recognized force as they have responded to help alleviate suffering caused by poverty, war, famine, disease, and natural disaster. Often, members of nearby Mormon congregations will take a leading role in helping their suffering neighbors. The responses of the Church to recent disasters such as the tsunami in Japan, the earthquake in Haiti, and Hurricane Katrina in the United States were noted for their organization, generosity, and effectiveness.
Every Mormon is encouraged to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through missionary work. Most Mormons serve one or more full-time missions during their lifetimes. Mitt Romney’s 30-month stint as a Mormon missionary in France during the 1960s is a typical example of this. Since The Church of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth in the early 1800s through revelation to the founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, Mormons have always been anxious to teach others about their faith. The experience of missionary service in a foreign land leads to a greater understanding of other countries and cultures that will also serve Romney well, should he become President.
A Consecrated Life
As devout followers of Jesus Christ, Mormons believe that their lives should be “consecrated,” or made sacred, to the service of God and of their fellow men. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has taught him to focus on providing Christ-like service every day of his life. He considers himself accountable to God for all his actions, and believes that high moral values such as honesty, integrity, compassion, and sacrifice are essential to happiness, both now and in the life to come. Far from being a detriment, Mitt Romney’s faith is a great asset in someone who might become the leader of the free world. It is time to bring the highest standards of morality, decency, and service back to the White House.