Mormonism 101

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Mormonism 101 is a lecture series held at the Harvard Law School. An annual event, it is sponsored by the school's Latter-day Saint Student Association. Speakers have included Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Thomas B. Griffiths, a federal circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

On March 19,2012, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to the religiously-diverse group attending the series and presented a basic outline of Mormon beliefs, especially the centrality of Jesus Christ and that Mormonism is the full and complete restoration of Christ's primitive church with restored power and authority to act in His name.

“What brings me to you today is not a message of reformation but of restoration,” he said, “the restoration of that church Christ established by His hand in the meridian of time and which He has reestablished by His hand in this present time.” (See the article, Apostasy, Reformation, and Restoration.)

Elder Holland asked why so much controversy surrounds the Church and why some may not consider Mormons Christians. He stated that two principles of Mormonism differentiate it from the rest of the Christian world. First, Mormons do not believe in "creedal Christianity," which came upon the idea of a trinity over the course of hundreds of years. Through direct revelation to modern prophets, God has revealed that as shown in the Bible, God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are two separate, glorified, resurrected beings, and that we have been created in their image. Mormons also do not believe that the Bible is the end of God's words, but that God continues to speak, and that many other volumes of scripture have been written over time and will eventually be revealed. (See Mormon Bible.org.)

“We are not considered ‘Christian’ by some, I suppose because we are not fourth-century Christians, we are not Athanasian Christians, we are not creedal Christians of the brand that arose hundreds of years after Christ,” he said. “No, when we speak of ‘restored Christianity’ we speak of the Church as it was [before] ... great councils were called to debate and anguish over what it was they really believed.”

Of the current (often unwanted) publicity focused on the Church of Jesus Christ, Elder Holland said,

"I confess I did not believe I would live to see the day that taxi cabs in Times Square would be scurrying about with 'taxi toppers' saying, 'See the Book of Mormon,'" he said. "Of course our quick rejoinder has been, 'Now you have seen the show, read the book.'"


*Click here to listen to the question and answer session after Elder Holland's talk. *Click here to read the full transcript of his talk.

Additional Resources