The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published two new Gospel Topics essays on LDS.org today. One essay outlines the teachings of Church founder and prophet Joseph Smith on women, temple and the priesthood. The second explains Church teachings regarding a Mother in Heaven, which it describes as "a cherished and distinctive belief among Latter-day Saints."
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These essays complete a series of 13 that the Church began publishing in 2013 to provide an accurate resource for its members to gain insight and understanding into some of its teachings, practices and history. The 13 essays published to date were prepared through extensive research by men and women Church scholars and carefully reviewed by members of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other General Authorities and women leaders to provide an official, authoritative and transparent source of information.
Church leaders decided to publish the essays, recognizing that today some of the information about its history and practice is obtained from questionable and often inaccurate sources, especially on the Internet.
The introduction to the Gospel Topic Essays page explains, "The purpose of these essays has been to gather accurate information from many different sources and publications and place it in the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org, where the material can more easily be accessed and studied by Church members and other interested parties."
The Church hopes that the material will be referenced in various lessons and classes, cited in talks and utilized in home study along with the large volume of resource materials now available to Church members worldwide.
The full series of essays is listed below. While there are no immediate plans to publish additional essays of this type, it remains an option for the future.
- Are Mormons Christian? November 20, 2013
- First Vision Accounts November 20, 2013
- Race and the Priesthood December 6, 2013
- Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah December 16, 2013
- Book of Mormon Translation December 30, 2013
- Book of Mormon and DNA Studies January 31, 2014
- Becoming Like God February 24, 2014
- Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints May 13, 2014
- Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham July 8, 2014
- Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo October 22, 2014
- The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage October 22, 2014
- Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, and Women October 23, 2015
- Mother in Heaven October 23, 2015