In 1995, a new faith group called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) was born in Malawi through Macpharlen Njolomole Phiri of Sitima Village in Machinga. One of the senior members of the church, Edward Matale, told our reporter, Watipaso Mzungu Jnr what the church is founded on and other issues.
Can you briefly tell me your church’s background?
This is a Christian denomination started by Joseph Smith during the period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a church that considers itself to be a restoration of the church founded by Jesus Christ. The church has its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, US, and has established congregations (called wards or branches) and built temples worldwide. It is ranked by the National Council of Churches as the fourth largest Christian denomination in the United States.
Adherents, sometimes referred to as Latter-day Saints, view faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement as the central tenet of their religion.
In which countries is the church present?
The church is found in almost every country in the world with its membership over 14 million.
What are the pillars of the church?
The pillars of the church are centred upon the gospel of Jesus Christ with a mission to proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, redeem the dead as well as care for the poor and the needy.
What do you mean by ‘redeem the dead’?
Allow me to take you back to the time of Jesus Christ. When Jesus performed the Atonement, he did not do it for only those that he found living at that time. He did it even for those who died long ago, those living and also those yet to be born on earth. That is why we have temples in the church all over the world so that even those who died without the knowledge of the Gospel can also be judged in the same way we will receive our judgement.
What are the main teachings of your church?
All teachings of the church are centred on Jesus Christ. We believe in faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.
The theology of the LDS Church consists of a combination of biblical doctrines with modern revelations and other commentary by LDS leaders, particularly Joseph Smith, Jr. The most authoritative sources of theology are the faith’s canon of four religious texts, called the Standard Works. Included in the Standard Works are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
Among these books, the church holds in equal esteem as the other Standard Works the Book of Mormon, said by the church to be “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” that Joseph Smith translated from buried golden plates. The LDS church believes the Angel Moroni told the Prophet Joseph Smith about these golden plates and would receive them to translate them for a marvelous work and a wonder for the Lord. Joseph Smith once declared that “the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth and the key stone of (their) religion.
Another source of authoritative doctrine is the pronouncements of the current Apostles and members of the First Presidency. The church teaches that the First Presidency (the prophet and his counselors) and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles are prophets and that their teachings are generally given under inspiration from God through the Holy Spirit. Members of the church acknowledge (sustain) them regularly as prophets, seers, and revelators—this is done publicly twice a year at the church’s worldwide general conference broadcast.
Does the church have female pastors?
We don’t have women as pastors; we have women as missionaries and leaders in the church to lead a group of women known as relief society because of their charitable activities worldwide.
What is the stand of your church on homosexuality?
We don’t believe in homosexuality and we don’t condone same-sex relationships. We believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. God created man and woman so that his children would multiply on earth.