The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the LDS Church or the Mormon Church, is one of the largest and well-known denomination. It originated from the Latter Day Saint movement which is a group of churches and followers who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ restored through Joseph Smith Jr. Their main church is stationed in Salt Lake, Utah. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many churches and temples worldwide accommodating to almost 13 million members.
During the Spanish-American War in 1898, two men from Utah preached while they are stationed in the Philippines. They were members of the United States artillery battery who were set apart as missionaries by the Church before they left the United States. During the World War II, missionary work in the country has ceased. It resumed again in 1961. The Church has spread to eight major islands in 1969. The Manila Missionary Training Center was established in 1983. From 1990 to 1991, its relief efforts helped people affected by major earthquakes, flood, volcanic eruptions and governmental conflicts. From about 76,000 members in 1984, the church has over 550,000 members today.
LDS Church followers, who are usually called Mormons or Latter-day Saints, believe that Jesus Christ leads the church by the revelation given to the Church president whom they consider as a prophet. They consider themselves as Christians but not part of the Roman Catholicism, Orthodox or Protestantism.
The church teaches that it is a restoration of the 1st Century Christianity for before Joseph Smith Jr. restored the true church, all the other churches had fallen away from Christ's original teachings. The church believes in the divine authority of the Old Testament and New Testament. It also has books in their spiritual cannon which includes the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
The church teaches that it is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” Some of the church's temple ordinances include baptism for the dead, the Endowment and plural marriages (although it has been discontinued). The church cooperates with other religious organizations in promoting humanitarian and moral causes.
LDS theology states that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three separate personages that form the Godhead (or the Trinity to other religions). All of them are eternal and equal in divinity although they play different roles. The Godhead is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, immutable, immortal and immanent.
LDS believe that all mankind may be saved from sin through the Atonement of Christ. Exaltation is the reward given to righteous members including those who accept the Gospel in the afterlife. Through exaltation, a person can eventually become a god and a creator or even a joint-heir with Jesus Christ.
LDS believe in three Kingdoms in the afterlife:
- The Celestial Kingdom: It is the place where the righteous Saints live with God and with their families. Exaltation could be achieved if they remain obedient to his laws. To be able to enter this kingdom, the minimum requirement is baptism and repentance. They also believe that all children who die before accountability automatically inherit a celestial glory.
- Terrestial Kingdom: It is the place for good people who chose not to be valiant in following Jesus or who do not accept the Gospel. The place was said to be great but does not have the presence of God the Father. The minimum requirement needed to enter this place is being able to keep the “law of carnal commandments” (The Ten Commandments.)
- Telestial Kingdom: It is the place for murderers, other criminals and those who do not accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Minimum requirement for entrance is not denying the Holy Ghost for it is a sin very few people are capable of committing.
The church is headed by its president whom the members sustain and revere as the Prophet. He is entitled to receive revelation form God to guide the Church and the world. Weekly worship services are held in meeting houses referred to as “chapels.” All people, regardless of beliefs, are welcome to attend. It is a three hour block of time that includes singing of hyms and two or three discourses by congregational members. Women usually attend wearing skirts or dresses while men wear suits or dress shirts and ties.
First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel
- Faith: Latter-day Saints believe that faith in Jesus is a fundamental requisite to salvation. It means the acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah. This includes two parts: 1. all who live on earth are granted salvation from death through the death of Jesus Christ and 2. salvation from sin is obtained by having been forgiven from sin through His grace and by following the teachings and commandments of Jesus Christ.
- Repentance: For them, repentance includes a sincere regret or “Godly sorrow” as well as restitution and abstinence from sin. The repentance process includes a personal prayerful confession to God and asking for forgiveness and resolving of not repeating the mistake again.
- Baptism: It is a symbol of burial and death as a disciple of Jesus. It is practiced by immersion. They believe that a person who repents and is baptized has all prior sins remitted. Baptism is not performed before the eighth birthday since the age of eight was given in revelation as the age of “accountability” for sins.
- Gift of the Holy Ghost:After baptism by immersion, individuals become confirmed members of the Church and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands by Priesthood bearers. Latter-day Saints believe that this blessing entitles them to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as a guide and guardian as long as they live worthy of the gift.
- Word of Wisdom: eating healthy, abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee and eating meat sparingly
- Tithing: giving 10 percent of one's income to the church
- Modesty in dress
- Lay Leadership
- Family home evenings:Usually held on Mondays, families are encouraged to meet weekly for prayer and other services
- Home and visiting teaching: Members regularly visit each others' homes for prayer and study.
- Tattoo and body piercing however, one pair of earrings for women are discouraged
- Marry and have children
- Prayers: Public and personal prayers are addressed to “Heavenly Father”, offered in the name of Jesus Christ and followed by amen.
- Missionaries: The LDS church is one of the most active missionary programs in the world. They have approximately fifty thousand full-time missionaries serving around the world.
- Education: The church strongly emphasizes the importance of education. It subsidizes Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University-Idaho and Brigham Young University-Hawaii. It also has a seminary program for high school students and an institute program for college students.
Temples in the Philippines
- Manila: located in 13 Temple Dr, Green Meadows Subdivision, Quezon City
- Cebu: located in Gorordo in Cebu
Temple district (Stakes and districts)
- Camiling East
- Camiling West
- Mindoro Oriental
- Morong Rizal
- Puerto Princesa
- San Antonio
- San Gabriel
- San Jose Mindoro
- San Jose del Monte
- Santa Cruz Marinduque
- Santa Cruz Zambales
- Las Piñas
- Quezon City
- Quezon City South
- San Fernando La Union
- San Jose Nueva Ecija
- San Pablo
- Santa Cruz Laguna
- Santa Ignacia
- “Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints- definition”.wordiQ.Accessed on February 16, 2011
- “Basic Facts about the Church”.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Accessed on February 16, 2011
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints- Philippines Official Site.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Accessed on February 16, 2011
- “Temples”.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Accessed on February 16, 2011
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Official Site.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Accessed on February 16, 2011
- “Church in the Philippines”.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Accessed on February 16, 2011