I think the best way to approach my quest into what I, as a Mormon, really believe, is to start with the Articles of Faith.
The Articles of Faith are thirteen statements compiling the central guiding principles of the Mormon faith, written by Joseph Smith in 1842.
They’re like a Mormon credo, in other words. (p.s. Lots of religions have Articles of Faith, I learned.)
Born-and-raised Mormons learn them from the time they start Sunday School (at the age of three), or, if they have extra-devoted and stalwart parents, at home before they can really even talk.
I was a member of the latter group.
We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
1) We believe in God—no such thing as an atheist Mormon. God, as in God the Father, is the Creator of all things in heaven and on the earth. He is the spiritual Father of every living person on the earth, as well as the literal father of Jesus Christ. (I think God needs an entire post all to Himself, which I should add to the queue.) (Do you think God is offended that he’s in the queue and not on top of it?)
2) …and in His Son, Jesus Christ—Mormons believe in Christ. Mormons are often misunderstood as not being Christian, or somehow anti-Christian. But the definition of Christianity according to my MacBook’s dashboard dictionary is “a religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.” Mormons are definitely Christians.
As for me, if the idea of God seems a little abstract, I nevertheless have no problem swallowing that Jesus was a real living human on the earth, and that He was pretty awesome—there is literal recorded evidence of His existence. And if I believe in the teachings of Jesus (which I do), then it only follows that I believe in His Father, God, because Jesus not only believed in God, but also devoted His entire life to spreading the good word about Him. Check and check.
3)…and in the Holy Ghost—we believe that the Holy Ghost exists.
Some religions bunch the Holy Trinity all together into one lump sum: they believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost each play 1/3 a role in (from what I understand) one single, divine entity.
Mormons, on the other hand, believe that the Godhead consists of three separate beings: Heavenly Father, or God, with His own body; Jesus Christ, God’s Son, with His own body; and the Holy Ghost, a body-less spirit (or in more new-agey terms, I guess like an essence) whose main role is to influence people for the better (like the little angel over the shoulder).
But He’s more than just a conscience, though, the Holy Ghost. He can act as a comforter, or bringer of peace, in times of distress. He can manifest as that good feeling you get when you see an amazing act of humanity portrayed in movies (or dare I say even in real life). He can be that nudging feeling you get to steer clear of dangerous situations. Without a body, the possibilities are really endless.
The Holy Ghost, as possibly the most abstract (I mean, without a body and all) member of the Godhead, is often the trickiest guy for people to believe in or understand.
But I believe in the Holy Ghost.
I felt the spiritual influence of the Holy Ghost one time—one single time—in the most clarifying experience of my life.
I will tell you about it sometime. Probably soon.
But for now, and because these churchy posts are liable to get on people’s nerves if they drag on too long, I will leave it at this:
I am a Mormon, and I believe in Heavenly Father, in Jesus, and in the Holy Ghost.