I basically knew almost everything there is to know about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before getting involved with them. One has to know how to play with balls if one wants to score. You can interpret that ambiguous statement however you want. I will talk about beliefs that exist in at least some branches of Mormonism, and some beliefs are not to be attributed to all Mormons. In Mormonism there are a great deal of different branches, such as the LDS Church, Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, Fundamentalist Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints, Community of Christ, Apostolic United Brethren, and a handful of others. The hardest thing for a non-member is to know what some branches believe about a certain thing. The problem is that what we know about the real beliefs of Mormons is what former members of the church have revealed. Especially when it comes to Mormon cosmology, one has to either ask a former believer or read the Book of Mormon to really be sure, since not much information is given on official web-pages of the church, and other sources might not be 100% accurate.
Let me start with telling you how the Mormons view the universe. Their cosmological views stem from Biblical cosmology, but are vastly different. Let’s start with the Christian god we all should be more or less familiar with. According to Mormons, this universe is full of planets, all ruled by countless gods and goddesses. At some point in the history of this universe, on a planet other than earth, a spirit child was conceived by one of these gods and goddesses. The spirit child was called Elohim, and was later born to human parents on the planet which his godly parents ruled over. Since he lived a morally good life and followed the rules set for the life on this planet, he was elevated to the rank of a god after his death. Elohim is the heavenly father of all Mormons, and nowadays resides on a planet orbiting a star named Kolob (although some people believe the planet is called Kolob, and not the star). Here Elohim lives with a bunch of goddesses as his wives. Through these wives he has spawned many spirit children of his own. These children of his are different from their father, since they have no physical body. Elohim therefore called a meeting with his children. Among those present were Jehovah and his brother Lucifer. Elohim suggested the creation of earth, where he would send his children to be born so they could acquire a physical body, so that they could become more like him, and learn to distinguish good from evil. In order for them to learn the difference between good and evil, Elohim would have to wipe their memory before sending them to earth, so that they would have no memories from their pre-existence with him. No one would ever be near the perfection of their father, so they would have to be given a savior through whom they could return to their heavenly father. Lucifer volunteered to be this savior, but Elohim didn’t like Lucifer’s idea of brainwashing these individuals and require full obedience, and that all glory and honor should be transferred from Elohim to Lucifer himself. This is why Elohim favored Jehovah’s thoughts about giving the people free-will instead, just like on other planets so far. This enraged Lucifer, and he decided to overthrow his father from the throne. He convinced one third of his spirit brothers to plot against their father, and this led to the war in the heavens. Lucifer and his brothers lost the battle, and were sent to earth, damned to forever remain in their spirit form. The spirits who had chosen not to partake in the battle were cursed by their father to be born with dark skin once they arrived on earth. The valiant sons of Elohim who fought by his side on the other hand were to be born with beautiful fair skin. This way he could always distinguish the descendants of his most loyal children from the ones who didn’t love him enough to fight by his side.
As you can see, this is some pretty heavy shit. I should mention that the Jehovah I spoke of is the real name of Jesus, if you didn’t yet realize that. The Mormons believe that you and I and every other human has lived with this heavenly father Elohim prior to our birth, but that we passed through a realm of forgetfulness on our way here, and can therefore not remember this. This seems very fucking legit, let me tell you. Lucifer, who became the Devil or Satan after the war in the heavens, walks among us in his spirit form with his fallen brothers, trying to tempt us into sin and lead us away from his loathsome father. The spirits who were impartial in the battle were cursed to be born with black skin, and this is the Mormon explanation to the reason that we have different races on this planet. Where Asians came from I have no idea.
I have no freaking idea why any non-white person ever has joined this freakish and uttermost racist cult. Sure, Mormons today claim that they do not hold these beliefs, since somehow their god changed his mind about black people in 1978. This is the year when black members of the church finally got the right to achieve priesthood. The reason for why we as reborn spirits need a savior baffles me, but hey, since when has any religion made any sense?
But whatever happened to this soon-to-be savior Jehovah after the scars of the war had healed? I know your dying to know this.
Up until the time of Jesus, the Mormon history is pretty much the same as the Bible describes it, with a few extra stories in the Book of Mormon that don’t interfere with the canon of the Bible. I should mention that some branches of the church though believe that Adam from the creation myth in reality was the archangel Michael, who came with one of his wives called Eve to live on earth, and they became mortal after eating of the forbidden fruit. But when we arrive at Jesus things take a harsh turn again. Jehovah needed a physical body of his own, so he could both die for our sins, and become closer to his father. Therefore Elohim left the comfort of his planet to come to earth, so he could have sex with the Virgin Mary. Yes. Real, physical sex, in order to provide Jehovah with a physical body. He was then born as Jesus, and his teachings don’t differ that much from the ones found in the Bible. But Mormons believe that Jesus got married, and to at least three different wives, and that he had many offspring. The creator of the Mormon cult, Joseph Smith, claimed that he was a direct descendant of Jesus, and that he had with his teachings and prophecies done more than any other human has ever done for mankind, including Jesus, who died for our sins. So who was this supposed prophet then? I’m so glad you asked.
After Jesus was crucified and resurrected, he went to the Americas. Here he shared his teachings with the natives, who according to the Mormons are the Israelites the Bible speaks of. There existed two tribes here, the darker skinned Lamanites and the fairer skinned Nephites. At some point in history the Lamanites had almost completely wiped out the Nephites from the face of the earth. The last supposed Nephite, called Moroni, buried a collection of golden plates with the history of the tribes written on them. But lucky for us they were found in the 19th century, by none other than the great Joseph Smith himself.
In the early 1820s Joseph Smith claims to have experienced visions. An angel called Moroni appeared before him telling him of the golden plates and where they were hidden. With the help of seer stones that he stuffed into a stovepipe hat he was able to track ancient treasures. When he arrived at the burial ground of the plates, Moroni prevented him from digging them up, saying that he wouldn’t be qualified in another four years. While he did visit the burial ground every now and then during the following years, it wasn’t until the 22nd September 1827 that he received the plates. Moroni had one condition though. Smith was not allowed to show the plates to anyone. He was only to translate the texts and then distribute it to people. So in 1830 he published the Book of Mormon. I’m sorry to have to be so repetitive, but seems pretty fucking legit. The fact that makes this all the more reliable is the fact that Joseph Smith was a convicted con-man, who had been arrested for committing fraud against a bank. Legit is the word.
What happens to a human being after death then? Well, one of many things can happen. All humans have an immortal soul, but the goal is to receive a physical body after death to become complete again. However not everyone will gain this completeness. There are three so called “degrees of glory” one can end up in. The highest of these is the celestial kingdom, where the noblest of people end up in. These are usually people who have spent their whole life following the rules set by Elohim, accepting both him and Jesus Christ. One also has to be sealed in a celestial marriage to a person of the opposite sex. This has to be done either during the mortal life or after death by proxy. It is also through this kingdom that one can achieve a divine status and become a god or goddess. Some Mormons believe that earth will be made into the celestial kingdom after judgment day.
Then we have the terrestrial kingdom. This is the place for people who did not follow Christ fully. According to the Book of Mormon inhabitants of this kingdom “receive the presence of the Son, but not the fullness of the Father”. This is also the place where people who denied Christ during their mortal life but accepted him after death will be sent.
Finally we have the telestial kingdom. This is kind of a Mormon version of the Christian Hell. The only difference is that while this is a place where all “liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie” are sent, it’s not a place of eternal suffering. During Christ’s upcoming 1000-year rule of earth after judgment day, the souls of these people will remain in a spirit prison. After 1000 years they will be sent to the telestial kingdom. Here they will be servants of god, but can never be in the presence of him or Jesus Christ. They will however receive the ministration of the holy ghost and those in the terrestrial kingdom.
There is actually a fourth place. This place is not a kingdom of any sort, but just complete outer darkness. Here dwells Satan and the fallen angels, and very few humans will ever be sent here. Mormons generally agree that Cain dwells here, and people who have committed the unforgivable sin of denying the holy ghosts existence, and therefore also rejected god and Jesus. Whether murderers will be sent here is uncertain. The inhabitants of this darkness are called sons of perdition. Whether outer darkness is a temporary abode of the wicked or a permanent abode of the sons of perdition differs yet again. Modern-day Mormons generally believe that the punishment is permanent, and no one from the outer darkness ever has a chance of redemption.