Jeffery L. Sheler in usnews.com gives one of the best factual appraisals of Mormonism. He writes: Nearly half of the world’s 11 million Mormons live in the United States. The church’s growth rate over the past 30 years far outstrips those of other major U.S. denominations. By almost any measure, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the world’s richest and fastest-growing religious movements (usnews.com The Mormon Moment).
Stephen Davey gives this excellent overall summary of Mormonism: Mormonism is one of the world’s fastest growing religions. It is a religion that is building two assembly buildings somewhere in the world every single day; that is doubling in size every five years; that collects more than four million dollars a day from its followers.
By way of introduction to this series of studies on Mormonism, let me share a summary of the basic beliefs with you. I have compiled this summary from reading several books, all of which were written by former or currently practicing Mormons.
There are trillions of planets scattered about the universe which are ruled by gods and goddesses. The purpose of these gods and goddesses is to procreate millions of spirit babies to await their physical bodies which are formed by the birth of humans on planets below. In other words, the gods give birth to immortal spirits and humans give birth to physical beings, who are then inhabited by the spirit beings.
Many years ago, on one of the planets, a spirit child was born whose parent gods named him Elohim. Later, this spirit child was born to human parents and given a physical body. The child grew and became obedient to the teachings of certain doctrines and, after his death, he was resurrected and elevated to godhood, as his father before him. Thus, Elohim now lives with his many celestial wives far away in the galaxy near a mysterious star base named Kolob. Here, Elohim, the Father God of Mormonism, lives and produces millions of spirit beings who await physical bodies on our planet earth.
Now, Elohim wanted to institute a plan to help his human creations find their way to godhood. Elohim called his spirit sons to him to decide. One of those spirit sons, named Lucifer, wanted to force obedience from the humans. Another spirit son, named Jesus, suggested that people be given a choice and that he be allowed to become flesh and come to earth to show them the way. A vote was taken and Jesus’ plan won.
Lucifer became so angry that he convinced one- third of the other spirit children to revolt. Thus, he became the devil and his followers, the demons. They were banished to earth and denied the possibility of inhabiting human form.
Elohim then came to planet earth and had relations with Mary, so that Jesus could be given a physical body and the plan of salvation could begin. Jesus grew and married Martha, Mary, and Mary Magdalene. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He came to the Americas and preached to the Indians, who were actually descendants of Israel’s lost tribes. He established a church in the Americas, yet that church failed to gain a foothold.
The last living follower, however, was able to record Jesus’ plan of salvation by writing it on golden plates in ancient Egyptian symbols. A direct descendant of Jesus and His wives, named Joseph Smith, discovered those golden plates approximately 1,400 years after they were buried. He also received visions and visits from the angel Moroni, Elohim, and Jesus telling him to establish the pure church on earth.
With the help of visions and his special seeing stone, Joseph Smith was able to translate the golden plates and give the world, through other revelations and visions, a complete gospel. This gospel was entitled, The Pearl of Great Price, The Book of Abraham, and the Book of Mormon. This completed gospel teaches that those who have been faithful to the teaching of Mormonism will one day inhabit their own planet and live as polygamous gods, spawning their own millions of spirit babies for all of eternity.