Facts on Mormon faith

The Herald News, Chicago/February 14, 2008

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has much in common with other Christian denominations. Here are some differences that may be less known.

  • Baptisms for the dead: Proxy Baptisms can be performed on behalf of those who have died. Individuals can then choose to accept or reject what was done on their behalf.

  • Food storage: To care for themselves in times of need, church leaders encourage members to store a year's supply of food.

  • Gold plates: The ancient American prophet Mormon abridged the record of his people onto gold plates. Joseph Smith, founder of the church, translated these writing into the "Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ."

  • Great apostasy: Latter-day Saints believe that after the deaths of Jesus and His apostles, men corrupted the Gospel principles and made unauthorized changes to church organization and its priesthood. This apostasy lasted until God and Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820.

  • Polygamy: Latter-day Saints followed this practice for about 50 years during the 1800s, but officially ceased the practice in 1890.

  • Pre-Earth life: Before people were born, they lived in the presence of God as spirit children with no bodies.

  • Stake: A group of congregations or wards, with each having about three to five thousand members in five to 10 congregations.

  • Urim and Thummin: An ancient tool prepared by God for his prophets in ancient times (see Exodus 28:30; 1 Samuel 28:6; and Ezra 2:63). Joseph Smith used this when he translated the "Book of Mormon."

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