What do Mormons Believe About Sainthood?
Personal Response by Karen R. Trifiletti
Mormon Beliefs: Saints
Mormons believe that true followers of Jesus Christ are counted as “saints”–those who have followed Him into baptism by immersion through His priesthood power as held by ordained members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and who continue in the path of righteousness. Members of Christ’s Church established when he was on the earth are the early saints, and members of His Church today are referred to as “Latter-day Saints” or Mormons. Many of all faiths live a Christ-like life and are saintly and good. The literal term, “saint,” or “latter-day saint,” however, in our theology is reserved for those who qualify as described above.
Mormons do not beatify (call blessed in a formal sense) or canonize (declare a higher state of sainthood) anyone who is a member of the Church. Nor do Mormons pray through or to others who have passed through this life and entered the spirit world, awaiting the resurrection. While we, like Catholics, do believe that those who have passed on are greatly interested in what happens in our lives, we do not petition that intercession directly; we do not have what Catholics might call “patron saints.” As we pray to God the Father for his assistance, it is granted through His power and His Spirit and through those whom he appoints on either side of the veil of mortality.
The subject has resurfaced recently apparently because Pope John Paul II beatified more saints than all other popes combined, including those of other countries not previously recognized as saints. Saints qualify for canonization in the Catholic faith if they have lived a holy life of “heroic sanctity,” and have been esteemed in their local service, and have performed at least two miracles. These miracles, according to the Catholic faith, have to be permanent healings, instantaneous, and provable, or attributable to no other cause but the faith of the leader. In light of LDS or Mormon doctrine, miracles of healing of this nature occur often through the power of God’s priesthood. Elders minister to the sick and those “not appointed unto death” are often healed by no other power than God’s through His ministration. In addition to miracles of healings, Mormons believe in miracles where the Lord intercedes to hasten His work, where he opens doors previously closed, where He raises the dead to life, brings transformation, works miraculous solutions, carves circumstances, and works through eternal laws in a wondrous way to bring about His purposes and the redemption of each of His children.
Mormons believe that miracles follow saints who believe, and that those who are ordained to Jesus Christ’s priesthood have access to His power which calls forth miracles as needed and according to His will on a continual basis.
We also believe that many others of other faiths can exercise their faith and see God’s hand in miraculous ways through their individual faith. But miracles in which the powers of heaven are called down by virtue of the priesthood only exist within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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