When having a spiritual conversation with a Mormon, the definition of Christianity can become a divisive point. So, what exactly are their beliefs? Let’s look at the history and major doctrines of their system to see how it lines up with scripture.
I. The History
- Church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church) was founded in 1830 by founder Joseph Smith in Fayette,New York.
- Visits – Smith claimed to have been visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ. He said during the visit that Jesus told him all churches were corrupt, and had been since the death of the original Apostles. Smith also claimed later that an angel named Moroni visited him, and revealed the location of special gold plates.
- Marriage – In 1843 Smith said he had received a revelation sanctioning plural marriage (polygamy), but later it was officially banned by the LDS in 1890. The leader Wilford Woodruff claimed to receive a revelation ending the practice.
- Location – Pressured to leave several areas, Smith settled in Commerce,Illinois. After a critical article toward Smith, a newspaper was destroyed and Smith was arrested. While in jail, he and several other leaders were murdered by a mob.
- Leadership – Most Mormons decided to follow Brigham Young (one of Smith’s twelve apostles). He led them on a long difficult pilgrimage to Utah (Salt Lake City).
II. The Writings
- Book of Mormon – Joseph Smith wrote the entire book of Mormon, and published it in 1830. He said he had translated the golden plates into a book, and that the angel Moroni had already carried the plates back to heaven.
- Others – Doctrines & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price were also written by Smith. Some of thePearl book he claimed to have translated from an ancient Egyptian document he’d purchased from a traveling show.
III. The Beliefs
The doctrines of the LDS church may surprise you if you’ve not read about them. At the same time, it’s important to know that these points are not clearly specified by a team at your doorstep. The goal of this post is to familiarize and display how terms may sound the same, but mean something different. For example:
- God – God the “Heavenly Father” is married to “Heavenly Mother” and had millions of “spirit children” in a preexistent time. The origin of “Heavenly Father” is best described in a famous Mormon quote, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” Basically the teaching is that God was once human, but achieved “godhood” through a process of eternal progression.
- Jesus – Their teaching is that Jesus was one of two sons who wanted to redeem the world. The other son was Lucifer. Jesus was chosen and Lucifer was rejected. He rebelled, became Satan, and took 1/3 of the spirit children with him (becoming demons). The other 2/3 came to earth as babies.
- Salvation – The core belief is called the “Law of Eternal Progression” and is what they refer to as the “Restored Gospel”. The term “Gospel” is the whole idea of progression, not the good news of Jesus dying on our behalf.
- Lifestyle – Mormons are known for their moral lifestyle. There are certain things a Mormon in “good standing” will be participating in, such as good conduct, regular church involvement, up-to-date on their tithe (full 10%). Also, being a Mormon means you’re part of “eternal marriage”, where you and your spouse hope to someday get your own cosmic domain to populate.
- Eternity – The idea for eternity is also one of progression. It starts at death with faithful Mormons going to paradise, and all others going to “spirit prison”. However, in the afterlife all people eventually make their way to paradise, through various methods. Here’s how it all shakes out:
- Telestial Kingdom – For sinners, criminals, and others
- Terrestrial Kingdom – Non-LDS practicing religious people
- Celestial Kingdom – Obedient and worthy Mormons, eventually achieving “godhood”
Basically the pivot point of the whole conversation is hinged on the person, and nature of Jesus. The Bible is clear concerning Him. He came as Savior, because we could not, and cannot save ourselves. As much as we would like to, we can’t even live up to the 10 Commandments, much less a broader set of rules. Think about these basics truths of scripture, compared to our list above:
- God is Trinity – Genesis 1 and John 1 we see each of the three persons distinctly
- God is Spirit – not bodily, having children – John 4:24
- God has no beginning – He is “everlasting to everlasting” – Psalm 90:2
- Jesus was not created – He was always with God – John 1
- We cannot earn salvation – Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9
In Galations 1:6-10 Paul warns the readers of those that would preach a “different gospel”, and not to follow anyone teaching something different. Also too, the Revelation given to John ends with a strong warning to those who would add to or take away from the truth of God’s Word. The subtitle of the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”, which I think is self explanatory.
Conclusion – It’s true that Mormons have a strong moral code, and use the term “gospel”, however it’s an inferior “gospel”. The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is grace, mercy, and faith, not something earned by works – Ephesians 2:8-9. It’s a far Superior Gospel to any other imitator, and available to anyone who chooses to place their faith in Him. I pray that everyone who reads this post has already, or will consider doing so today.
Series: Consider This…
I like the post man! Personally, I really have to restrain myself when I hear Mormons claim to be Christians. Even worse is when Christians think there isn’t any real difference between the two.
I disagree with your post as there are points that are not completely true and written to reflect snidely on the LDS. Honestly, I wonder if all you minister quack jobs are just worried you are going to be put out of buisiness of being paid to be a minister.As Mormons do everything on a volunteer basis, including their Bishops, they all have a REAL job unlike you. Mormons ARE christians, the Book of Mormon is about Christ visiting the Americas. Everything they do is centered around Christ. this whole blog just makes you look like another non denominational angry minister. I went to private school that was a non denominational type deal and in religion class all we did was watch movies and read books about how every religion was wrong but theirs, you spend so much time hating everyone but yourself…I think the Mormons have you running scared.
(I could send you a quote to dispute every quote from the bible you listed and prove your “theories”wrong including your claim we cannot earn salvation. I think you should start on your own and stop all this anti-other religion blog hating you have set up here. You should be ashamed if you love Christ at all.. As for the comment above, thats the type of bigomy you attract, nice “works”, you spread hate..see how that goes)
Snowblondie, thanks for your comment. To be honest, as I was moderating it, I immediately thought of 8 or 10 sarcastic replies, but I asked for the Lord’s forgiveness, and ask for yours too, even though you don’t know what they were.
I sincerely hope that you are not trusting in good works to measure up to God’s standard of perfection because none of us can.
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us “by grace we are saved through faith, and not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Jesus gives us what we can never give ourselves, and that’s a new heart through repentance and faith in Him. To me that’s the greatest truth there is, and one worth sharing.
Snowbird would you mind telling me where my response was bigoted?
Also Mormonism teaches that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones (D. & C. 130:22) and that there are a countless number of gods. Christianity teaches “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.'”
I pray that you come to the knowledge of the truth in Christ Jesus who testifies to and revealed the one and only God.