Permanent things: Toward an understanding of Mormons

Religion in America is in a state of flux. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey shows that the number of those who claim no religious affiliation nearly doubled from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2008.

In addition, Pew’s 2009 Faith in Flux survey found that “about half of American adults have changed religious affiliation at least once during their lives.” A study published in 2010 entitled American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us maintains that in America “it seems perfectly natural to refer to one’s religion as a ‘preference’ instead of as a fixed characteristic.”

In this shifting religious environment it is easy to talk of the fleeting and superficial rather than the deeper foundations of spiritual life. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints understand their message to be the full gospel of Jesus Christ, as set forth in the Bible and other scriptures. What transcendent ideals do they aspire to? How do their beliefs answer the needs of contemporary religious seekers concerned about the great, permanent questions of human life? Among the many ways to approach their religious experiences and beliefs, here are a few basic principles that Latter-day Saints hold to as enduring truths.
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