The RLDS Church recognizes three books of scripture: The Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. We believe in continuing revelation and an open canon of scripture.
God is the eternal Creator, the source of love, life, and truth. All things exist and have their being in God. God alone is worthy of our worship. God actively loves and cares for each person.
Jesus Christ is "God with us," the Son of God, and the living expression of God in the flesh. Jesus Christ lived, was crucified, died, and rose again. The nature, love, and purpose of God are most clearly seen in Jesus Christ, our Savior.
The Holy Spirit is the continuing presence of God in the world. The Spirit works in our minds and hearts through intelligence, comfort, guidance, love, and power to sustain and inspire us. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are One.
God loves us even though we are sinful. Through the ministry of Christ and the Holy Spirit we are able to turn to God and to receive the gift of salvation and eternal life. Those who accept the gospel are called to respond to Christ though baptism and by becoming committed disciples. As individuals exercise faith in Christ, and mold their lives to his example and teachings, they become new people.
The church, as the body of Christ, is the means through which the ministry of Christ continues in the world today. It is a community of people that seeks to bring God's love to all through compassionate ministry, worship, and witness. The church proclaims the gospel through word and action and administers the sacraments through which Christ is revealed.
The process through which God reveals divine will and love is called revelation. God continues to reveal today as in the past. God is revealed to us through scripture, the faith community, prayer, nature, and in human history.
The scriptures provide divine guidance and inspired insight for life when responsibly interpreted and faithfully applied. The Bible is the central book of scripture for the church. The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants are additional witnesses of the love of God and the ministry of Christ.
The sacraments express the continuing life and ministry of Christ through the church. They provide meaningful worship experiences and symbols to establish or reaffirm our covenant (commitment) to God in response to God's grace. The sacraments of the church are: Blessing of Children Baptism Confirmation of Membership The Lord's Supper (Communion) Marriage Administration to the Sick Ordination to the Priesthood Evangelists Blessing.
God loves each of us equally and unconditionally. All persons have great worth and should be respected as creations of God with basic human rights. The willingness to love others is essential to faithfulness to the gospel of Christ.
All people are given gifts and abilities to enhance life and to become involved in Christ's mission. Some are called to particular responsibility as ordained ministers (priesthood) in the church. The church provides for a wide range of priesthood ministries through calling and ordination of men and women.
All people have freedom to choose. Our choices bring real consequences - good and evil - to our lives, to the lives of others, and to our environment. Commitment to Christ, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, and participation in the faith community help us to make responsible choices that enhance human life and respect creation.
All things were created by God and should be used for the purposes of God. Stewardship is the wise management of gifts and resources to enrich personal, family, congregational, and community life. Wise stewardship of natural resources is a critical concern.
God's kingdom is present wherever people acknowledge the lordship of God over life, relationships, and creation. The full coming of the Kingdom awaits the final victory over evil when divine rule is established and justice, peace, and righteousness prevail.
The "cause of Zion" expresses our commitment to pursuing God's kingdom through the establishment of Christ-centered communities in families, congregations, neighborhoods, cities, and throughout the world.
Because of our commitment to Christ and our belief in the power of community and the worth of all people, we are compelled to spend ourselves in the pursuit of justice and peace.
God conserves and renews life. This truth is revealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ which is a sign of God's ultimate victory over death. We find hope and courage for living through the resurrection of Christ. By the power of God in Christ, people move from death into life. Through resurrection, God transforms individuals, bringing them into the fullness of eternal life.
Our eternal destiny is determined by God according to divine wisdom and love, and according to our response to God's call to us. God's judgment is just and is primarily concerned about the kind of people we have become in relation to the potential of our lives.
God is acting in history to reconcile all aspects of creation to divine purpose. The meaning and end to which history moves is revealed in Christ. The ultimate victory of righteousness and peace over injustice, evil, and sin is assured because of the unfailing love of God and the conviction that Christ is coming again.
Both faiths recognize Joseph Smith, Jr. as founder. However, when Joseph Jr. was killed in 1844, the church found itself in a state of confusion and disorganization for several years. Thus, a number of factions developed. One group moved west to the Great Salt Lake Valley (Utah) under the direction of Brigham Young. This group is now known as the Mormons. Other members believed that Joseph Smith, Jr. had designated his eldest son, Joseph III, to be his successor as president/prophet of the church. This group remained in the midwest and became known as the "Reorganization." The Reorganized CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints was officially organized on April 6, 1860, at Amboy, Illinois, under the leadership of Joseph Smith III. Since 1920, the church has been headquartered in Independence, Missouri.
"Epitome of Faith" (1993AD)
1. We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all men may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.
4. We believe that these ordinances are: (1st) Faith in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ. (2nd) Repentance. (3rd) Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. (4th) Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. (5th) We believe in the resurrection of the body; that the dead in Christ will rise first, and the rest of the dead will not live again until the thousand years are expired. (6th) We believe in the doctrine of eternal judgment which provides that men shall be judged, rewarded or punished, according to the degree of good or evil they shall have done.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God and ordained by the laying on of hands of those who are in authority, to
entitle him to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6. We believe in the same kind of organization that existed in the primitive church, viz: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.
7. We believe that in the Bible is contained the Word of God, so far as it is translated correctly. We believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.
8. We believe that the canon of Scripture is not full, but that God, by His Spirit will continue to reveal His word to men until the end of time.
9. We believe in the powers and gifts of the everlasting gospel, viz: the gift of faith, discerning of spirits, prophecy, revelation, healing, visions, tongues and the interpretation of tongues, wisdom, charity, brotherly love, etc.
10. We believe that marriage is ordained of God, and that the law of God provides for but one companion in wedlock, except in cases where the contract of marriage is broken by death or transgression.
11. We believe that in all matters of controversy upon the duty of man toward God, and in reference to preparation and fitness for the world to come, the Word of God should be decisive and the end of dispute; and that when God directs, man should obey.
12. We believe that the religion of Jesus Christ as taught in the New Testament Scriptures will (if its precepts are accepted and obeyed) make men and women better in the domestic circle, and better citizens of town, county, and state, and consequently better fitted for the change which comes at death.
13. We believe that men should worship God in "spirit and in truth," and that such worship does not require a violation of the constitutional law of the land.