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The Mormon Creed

Mainstream Christian religions typically subscribe to a creed that enumerates (in carefully crafted language) their basic beliefs. The Nicene Creed, first formulated at an ecumenical council of the Christian church in 325 AD, is the prime example of a Christian creed. If asked about their basic beliefs, Mormons will often refer to the Articles of Faith, a short list of thirteen statements such as "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." But the Articles of Faith are not a creed; they are far too general and do not convey the essential points of belief that distinguish Mormons from other Christians. Mormonism, in fact, has no creed. Why not? Primarily because there is no agreement on what exactly are the distinguishing points of Mormon doctrine--Mormonism has no theologians. Of course, any Mormon thinks they know and can identify their essential distinguishing beliefs. But every Mormon will give you a slightly different response, and the problem is not alleviated by reference to the Mormon canon or to the statements of its leaders.

One can, however, "reverse engineer" a Mormon Creed by working backwards from the list of questions asked of each Mormon who obtains a temple recommend. The questions are put to Mormons in one-on-one, confidential interviews with their minister. All must be answered properly in order to obtain a "temple recommend," required to enter any Mormon temple and participate in the sacred ordinances and rituals performed there. Recommends expire and must be renewed by the same process every two years. The temple recommend questions reveal specific institutional concerns and priorities of the Church and its leaders. By defining what it means to qualify as a "temple Mormon," these questions provide the basis for constructing a Mormon Creed that expresses exactly what it means to be "a good Mormon." Here is my formulation of The Mormon Creed, reverse-engineered from Mormon temple recommend questions.

A Mormon must have faith in God the Eternal Father, in Jesus Christ His Son who atoned for our sins as Savior and Redeemer, and in the Holy Ghost; believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth in these latter days; and believe that the priesthood keys of authority to direct the Church and perform the ordinances of the gospel are held exclusively by the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and no other.

A Mormon must sustain the President of the Church, his counselors, and other members of the Quorum of the Twelve as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators whose authority derives from the priesthood keys of authority; sustain the other General Authorities and local Church leaders as exercising properly delegated priesthood authority; and not support or belong to any group whose teachings or practices are in conflict with those of the Church.

To stand approved of God, a Mormon must live the law of chastity, pay a full financial tithe of ten percent, follow the dietary laws of the Church, strictly follow the dress code of the temple, be honest when dealing with other people, honor financial commitments to former spouses and dependent children, and attend Church meetings.

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Last update: 2/9/2004; 3:31:00 PM.