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Roczniki Filozoficzne

Volume 68, Issue 1, 2020

Robert T. Ptaszek
Pages 161-180

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Its Doctrine
A Philosophical Approach

In the article, I demonstrate how realistic philosophy of religion can be employed in order to obtain a preliminary verification of the truthfulness of the doctrine proclaimed by a particular religious community. The first element of a religious doctrine that qualifies for philosophical evaluation is its non-contradictory character. For this reason I endeavour to reconstruct one such doctrine and show how it is possible to demonstrate, through philosophical analyses, that such a doctrine does not meet the aforementioned criterion. For the object of my studies I chose the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (called the Mormon Church for short), as I find it particularly interesting among the religious movements alternative to Christianity. Among new religious movements currently in existence the Mormon Church stands out in several respects. First, this religious community utilises a variety of sources of revelation. Furthermore, although their sacred story, that spanning a dozen or so centuries, begins in Israel it mostly takes place on American soil. Finally, the Mormon Church sets forth a vision of a future ‘holy land,’ and the concept of salvation that is essentially different from those of other Bible- based religious movements. The Mormon concept of salvation, referred to as the plan of eternal progress shows both unique goal and unique means to achieve it. People are to become gods and populate multiple worlds. According to Mormons there will be different levels of salvation associated with what life a person lived on earth. Reconstruction and philosophical analysis of the main elements of the Mormon doctrine shows its weak points, inconsistencies, and oversimplifications. From this perspective, the Mormon ‘sacred story’ hardly could be regarded as something more than a colourful and interesting myth. But the question of reasons why Mormons still put their faith in such an inconsistent doctrine lies outside the scope of these considerations.