What Do Mormon Missionaries Teach?
A student of any discipline knows that learning is a lifelong pursuit, but before someone is permitted to be baptized and join the Mormon Church, missionaries must teach them the fundamental principles of Mormon beliefs. In early Mormon history, missionaries simply traveled the land with a Book of Mormon and preached about the work that Joseph Smith was doing to further the kingdom of God. Now, the missionary program is much more organized and standardized.
Mormon missionaries follow guidelines dictated by the official Mormon Church manual, Preach My Gospel. Missionaries teach about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Mormonism, the church established by Jesus with the Apostles eventually fell into apostasy. This church and the authority upon which it is based were restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.
Mormon missionaries teach the Plan of Salvation. God created the earth for the benefit of mankind and instituted a plan for our happiness and progression. This plan tells us: who we are; where we came from; what we are doing; and where we are going. We are children of our Heavenly Father, who existed before we were born as spirits. We came to earth to receive a mortal body (an essential part of the Plan of Salvation) and experience trial and tribulation. There is a judgment after this life and we will each receive a degree of heavenly glory according to our faithfulness during mortality.
Mormon missionaries teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is central to the Plan of Salvation. He performed the atonement, which redeems mankind from the fall of Adam. Through faith in Jesus Christ we all may be forgiven of our sins and become worthy to receive the highest kingdom of glory--Celestial.
Mormon missionaries teach that Jesus gave commandments for us to prepare for Celestial glory. The fundamentals of the gospel are found in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. The most important are loving the Lord and loving your neighbor. There are also laws and ordinances necessary for salvation. After faith in Jesus, and repentance, baptism must be received for the remission of sins, and then the Holy Ghost is conferred. Receiving the Holy Ghost makes one a member of the Mormon Church and worthy of salvation. There are also higher ordinances obtained in the Mormon temple, which carry with them higher blessings from God.
In addition to the teachings of Jesus found in the Bible, Mormon missionaries teach specific laws that one must commit to before accepting baptism. The Word of Wisdom is God's law of health. Mormons are well-known for abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, tea, and coffee, but it encourages the use of grain, fruit, vegetable, and the occasional use of meat. The Law of Chastity states that no one may have sexual relations with anyone but their legally wedded spouse. The widespread disobedience of this law is one of the most serious offenses to God and carries severe discipline in the Mormon Church. The Law of Tithing requires that ten percent of one's increased is to be given to the Church to accomplish the Lord's work.
When a potential convert understands the lessons that the Mormon missionaries have taught them, and commits to following the gospel of Jesus Christ and the specific laws of the Church, then they are baptized and confirmed a member of the Mormon Church.