Three Standard Books
There are three sacred books included in our Holy Scriptures. Each contains the word of God as recorded by those chosen by Him for the work of providing us with the fullness of His Gospel.
Bible - We use the Inspired Version of the Bible. This is a version of the Bible that has been divinely corrected through prophesy. These corrections were necessary because over hundreds of years, and many different translations and versions of God's word, many plain and precious truths were no longer included.
Book of Mormon - The Book of Mormon is not a replacement of, or an addition to the Bible, but is a record of a people whom God led from Jerusalem to the Western hemisphere (The Americas) 600 years before Jesus' birth. These are the people that Jesus was referring to when he said:
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
John 10:16 (KJV)
Doctrine & Covenants - This book contains a record of the revelations of God, and statements of basic doctrine and guidance for today's members of His church. These covenants and commandments of the Lord are carefully selected from the revelations of God, as given to the prophet of the church.
One of the responsibilities which we owe to our church is to pay tithing. "Tithe" literally means "one-tenth". God says that tithing is one-tenth of our increase.
Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. Deuteronomy 14:22
When filing a first tithing statement, a member tithes one-tenth of their net worth, since all that a person has is increase from birth. Thereafter, a member tithes one-tenth of their increase, after their just wants and needs (basic living expenses) are met.
The first Sunday of each month is set aside for a communion service. We practice closed communion, meaning that the emblems of bread and wine are not knowingly served to non-members, but they are welcome to attend the service.
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Luke 22:19
Members of the priesthood are servants to, not employees of the congregation. This eliminates the possibility of a conflict of interest between delivering God's unchanging word, and concern for their own livelihood. It also prevents the true word of God from being watered down, or glossed over in an effort to please the congregation. Every minister of the church is a partner with Christ in assisting his fellow men along life's way.
Men cannot elect themselves to serve the Lord under ordination. Members of the priesthood are called by revelation of the Holy Spirit to the presiding elder of a branch and at least one other priesthood member.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16
Obtaining Eternal Life
In addition to accepting that Jesus Christ is our savior, and died on the cross for our sins, we believe that the path to salvation requires several things of us.
First, we must have faith.
But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Second, we must have good works to accompany our faith.
Even so faith, if it have not works is dead, being alone. Therefore wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead and cannot save you? Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble; thou hast made thyself like unto them, not being justified.
Ye see then that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
The next thing needed is repentance.
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10
Baptism of water and the Holy Spirit is next. Baptism of water is achieved through immersion, by one ordained of God. The Holy spirit is received (confirmed) by the laying on of hands.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Next, a person must keep God's commandments, and overcome temptations.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Finally, we are called to endure in these things until the end.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold; but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Three Glories of Heaven
This is a rather complex topic, but in the most basic of terms, we do not believe simply in the concept of "heaven" and "hell". Every person will be rewarded with the place that they have made themselves ready for.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 2 Corinthians 12:2
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.
1 Corinthians 15:41-42