Mormon is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their religion is a complex one, both in doctrine and in practice. Because they operate a lay church, nearly everyone has volunteer positions and that means many resources must be made available in order to educate and assist those volunteers. This has an extra advantage of making it easy for people who are not Mormon to learn about the Mormons.
There are two primary sources for learning about the religion of the Mormons. The first is a website developed for people who are not Mormon and the other is the official website designed for members of the Church. Both can provide unique ways to explore the faith and to gain insight into what real Mormons are taught about their religion.
Mormon.org is an official website for people who are not Mormon to explore the faith. It is designed to introduce just the very basics—the essentials required to provide a foundation for deeper study. Just as when you decide to major in physics at school, you must start with classes for beginners, the study of a religion must establish a basis of understanding with more basic teachings.
On this website you can be introduced to the most basic doctrines—views on Jesus Christ, God, the Holy Ghost, the Bible, and of course, the Book of Mormon, among other topics. You can also learn the foundational values of Mormonism, including views on family, humanitarian aid, citizenship, and education.
If you don’t know any Mormons, you might wonder what they are like. Real Mormons around the world have been invited to create profiles about themselves. They write a bio, answer some questions, and try to help you see how their religion plays out in their real lives. You can search for people by specific categories, so you can find people who are similar to you.
You can study frequently asked questions, learn where to find historical sites, or locate a Mormon chapel if you’d like to attend a worship service. You can even chat with a missionary online. This is not a place to argue, debate, or do your own missionary work. It is a service provided to answer the questions of courteous and sincere information seekers.
You might think the above source is helpful, but since it is focused on people who aren’t LDS, (the term Mormons use to refer to themselves), you wonder what gets left out. To find out, visit the website real Mormons use every day to carry out their church work, prepare lessons, and conduct personal study. You will be amazed at what the Mormons have put online for the entire world to see. Their handbook, all their lesson manuals, their magazines, their doctrinal discussions, their news…it is all there for anyone to see.
A few sections are not open to the public. For instance, you cannot access membership lists for obvious reasons of privacy. Even Mormons can only access the membership lists for their own congregation and stake. (A stake is similar to a diocese.) There are also a few areas open only to people who hold specific volunteer positions, but Mormons cannot get into those sections either unless they are currently holding that position.
On this website you will find an enormous amount of information. There is a Study by Topic feature that allows you to choose a doctrinal issue and learn what the Mormons teach about it—which may not be what others have told you they teach. Each section includes scripture references, quotes from Mormon leaders, and places to go for more information.
One very unique feature, which is seldom offered by churches, is the opportunity to read all their lesson manuals online. Both student and teacher manuals are listed. (Children’s classes don’t have student manuals.) They are available to read at no cost and then you’ll know exactly what Mormons are learning every Sunday, which tells you their personal beliefs. These classes are taught by lay members and the teachers change often—the church likes to give its members many opportunities to serve in a wide range of positions in order to increase their knowledge and skills.
You can also learn about Mormon beliefs by reading their magazines online. Each magazine is posted free on the website. Mormons believe that the most recent statement is the one that is in effect. We see in the Bible that God sometimes added or subtracted rules and that He periodically raised our understanding of the complete plan. Just as the Bible teachings must be studied for the most recent proclamation, Mormon teachings today must also be examined in the light of recent teachings. Starting with the most recent magazines, therefore, will give you the most current teachings of the church. The semi-annual conference talks are included in the May and November issues for study.
To learn about current statements concerning recent events or issues, to learn how Mormons are interacting with their world, and to track the latest news, go to the Newsroom. This contains news stories, commentary, clarifications, and even a blog.
It is very easy to gain accurate information about Mormons from official sources. They are very open with their materials, making them available for the world to see.