How do Catholics see Mormons
The "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"
The missionaries of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (LDS) can be found in the streets and squares of larger cities or when they ring the doorbell. They are mostly young men who are seriously dressed and wear black name tags.
Origin and history
The founder of the Mormons is the American Joseph Smith (1805-1844). Since his youth he was looking for the one, true Church. He reports that when he was 14 years old, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in a forest. God had told him that in his eyes the creeds of all churches were anathema and that Smith should not join any of these churches.
In the years that followed, Smith said an angel named Moroni, the son of a fifth-century American prophet named Mormon, appeared to him several times. The angel handed him a stack of gold plates in 1827, which were written in a mysterious script and were said to have been hidden for several hundred years. With the help of special glasses that were with the plates, he was able to translate the text. According to the instruction of the angel Moroni, he had to return the plates. Smith published the translated text of the gold plates as "The Book of Mormon" in 1830. The name "Mormons" is derived from this. In the same year he founded a new church, which has been called "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" since 1838. In that Church, Smith was "Chief Priest, Seer, Prophet, and Revelator."
Joseph Smith was lynched in 1844 for introducing and practicing polygamy. Under the direction of Brigham Young (1801-1877), his successor, the Mormons moved to the western United States, to the Salt Lake Valley of the Rocky Mountains. Their settlement area was added to the USA as the state of Utah in 1896. The prerequisite for this, however, was the abolition of polygamy, which had been practiced until then. Salt Lake City is still the capital of the state and worldwide headquarters of the Mormons.
Today there are several independent Mormon churches. The largest and most important is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), which has over 14 million members worldwide. In Germany, where the first community was founded in 1843, there are around 39,000 (as of 2011).
At the head of the LDS is the President, who holds the offices of "Supreme Priest, Seer, Prophet, and Revelator." According to Mormon understanding, he has a direct, exclusive connection to God. The President is the senior of 15 apostles who make up the highest body, the "First Presidency," and the second-highest body, the "Quorum of the Twelve Apostles." The local churches are led by bishops. Several congregations form a so-called "stake".
The LDS is funded by donations, and most offices and duties are carried out on a voluntary basis.
Mission and genealogy
Mormons believe that only baptized Mormons can obtain salvation. This exclusive understanding of salvation is the reason why missionary work is extremely important to Mormons. For example, every young Mormon missionary should serve a full-time, self-funded one to two year mission in LDS mission areas. The genealogical research, which is carried out with enormous effort, also serves to locate the life data of the deceased for missionary purposes. These deceased are subsequently baptized vicariously Mormon and incorporated into the LDS. Even if they belonged to other religions during their lifetime. This approach repeatedly meets with alienation, criticism and rejection not only among members of other religions. After violent protests against Anne Frank's Mormon baptism in death, the LDS declared in 2012 that it would no longer subsequently baptize Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust with Mormon.
The Mormon Doctrines
• Scriptures and revelations
For all Mormons, the Book of Mormon is the basis of their religion. It describes that Jesus Christ appeared in America after his resurrection to found a church here. In addition to the charter, the Book of Mormon, other visions of Smith and his followers play an important role. They are set out in the Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.
The Bible, on the other hand, plays a subordinate role. It is considered to be flawed and, according to Mormons, needs to be supplemented and corrected by other divine revelations.
This includes the revelations received by the LDS President as a "living prophet." The Mormons believe that these revelations take precedence over all previous revelations, including the Book of Mormon.
• Man and God
Mormons believe that all being and becoming is an immutable, universal "law of everlasting progress" (Law of eternal progression) is subject. This law even applies to God.
The Mormons reject the Christian idea of the one triune God. Instead, they do not see that in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit one God, but three different deities. According to the teaching of the Mormons, God was not God from the beginning, but an infinitely long time ago an imperfect and mortal man who worked his way up to divinity through the "study of cosmic laws". His human form did not change: God is still a being with “flesh and legs, limbs and emotions” and resides on the planet “Kolob” in the star group of the “Kokaubeam”.
Before they were born, Mormons believed that people lived as spirits with God the Father. So that people can become equal to God, God set up the plan that enables the "spirits" to come to earth. During life on earth, therefore, there is an opportunity for man to become like God by strictly observing the commandments that are binding for Mormons. This happens after death. After the stay in an intermediate realm (spirit world) and the resurrection, people live in a perfect immortal body in "celestial glory".
Former Mormon apostle Melvin Ballard (1873–1939) explains in his book "The Three Degrees of Glory": “Becoming God is within the reach of every human being; but only those will get it who pay the price, pass the test and prove themselves worthy by fulfilling all regulations and conditions ". “Exam” here means admission to temple service.
• Baptism and temple service
Mormons baptize children aged eight and over. Adults who become Mormons are also baptized. The Mormons do not recognize the baptism of the Christian churches. The LDS has two priesthoods, the simple “Aaronic” and the higher “Melchizedek Priesthood”.
Sunday services are held in Mormon meetinghouses. These meetinghouses are also open to non-Mormons. In addition, the Mormons have temples as "special shrines". Only Mormons with a "temple recommend" are allowed into the temple. There rituals are performed that are kept secret and are not allowed to speak about the Mormons outside the temple. This includes the so-called. Seal, a marriage that continues after death. In the Baptism of death Mormons can perform sacred acts on behalf of certain deceased. In this way, people should also be saved who during their lifetime had no opportunity to come into contact with the "true Church of the Latter-day Saints".
These and other rituals belong to the so-called. Temple service and may only be performed there. The secret temple rituals form a mixture of ancient Jewish temple cult, esotericism, as well as magical and masonic elements. Through frequent participation in these rituals, the Mormon does the "work". In this way he ascends to "heavenly glory" and can eventually attain the status of "god".
Mormons place great value on an intense family life. Weekly family evenings on Mondays, Sunday services and numerous other gatherings are an integral part of everyday life for Mormons. Many Mormons volunteer for their church, which has relatively few full-time staff. For religious reasons, Mormons refrain from drinking black tea and coffee, as well as alcohol and nicotine.
Joseph Smith himself practiced polygamy. Until 1890, Mormons were allowed to marry up to ten women. Since then, polygamy has been banned in the LDS.
The Mormons from a Christian perspective
The "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" sees itself as "the only true Christian church on earth" that was only restored in 1830, after hundreds of years of decline. From the point of view of the ecumenically connected Christian churches, however, the Mormons are not a Christian denomination, but an independent new religion that does not share many of the fundamental common convictions of the Christian churches. For these reasons, ecumenical relations are not possible between the Mormons and the Christian churches. Mormon baptism is also not recognized as Christian baptism by the Christian churches. Many of the numerous Mormon special teachings cannot be reconciled with a Christian view of faith and life. Above all, this includes the special revelation writings, the secret temple rituals and the adoption of elements from non-Christian religions and world views.
Status: September 2012
... in the Internet Switch
More information and links on Mormonism and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Brief info of the Evangelical Central Office for Weltanschauung questions (EZW)
Information on the Swiss Evangelical Information Center: Churches - Sects - Religions
Information on the page Confessio the Evangelical Lutheran Regional Church of Saxony
A visit to the Frankfurt Temple in Friedrichsdorf. Report by Monika Dittrich, Deutschlandfunk.
Internet sites of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Official homepage of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Official German press website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Kai Funkschmidt (ed.): The Mormons between a sense of family and political commitment. Evangelical Central Office for Weltanschauung issues 2012 (EZW -tex 219). Further information and the order address can be found here
- Gerald Kluge: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
in: Harald Baer, Hans Gasper, Johannes Sinabell, Joachim Müller (Eds): Lexicon of Christian Special Communities, Freiburg 2010, pp. 134-137
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints / Mormons
in: Hans Krech, et al. (Ed.), Handbook of religious communities and world views, Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 6th edition 2006, pp. 426-441
- Rüdiger Hauth: The Mormons. Secret religion or Christian church? Freiburg 1995
- Werner Thiede: The "Latter-day Saints" - Christians beyond Christianity. A systematic-theological perception of the largest Mormon church, Evangelical Central Office for Weltanschauungsfragen 2001 (EZW -tex 161). Further information and the order address can be found here
For the baptism of the Mormo in deadnen
- Michael Fuss: The Latter-day Popes? On the Mormonization of Church History
In: New ways to salvation? The religious question and the variety of answers. Vienna 2001, pp. 184-199 (work folder 84/2001 of the Department for Weltanschauung questions of the Archdiocese of Vienna). You can find the order address here
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