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By Tal Davis
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon church)
professes to be a Christian church. However, a careful comparison of basic
doctrinal positions of that church to those of historical, biblical
Christianity reveal many radical differences. This pamphlet compares Mormon
doctrines as stated in LDS authoritative primary sources to those of historic
Christianity as derived solely from the Bible.
The one God is a Spirit who is the personal, eternal, infinite Creator of
all that exists. He is the only God and necessary for all other things to
exist. He exists eternally as a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (see
Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6-8; Matt. 28:19; John 4:24; 17:3)
God (Heavenly Father) is an exalted man with a physical body of flesh and
bone. LDS founder Joseph Smith said, "If the veil were rent today, and the
great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all
things by his power, was to make himself visible-I say, if you were to see him
today, you would see him like a man in form" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph
Smith, p. 345). The trinity is denied with the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Ghost seen as three separate entities. "The Father has a body of flesh and
bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of
flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost
could not dwell in us" (Doctrine and Covenants [D&C]
Jesus Christ was the virgin born God incarnate who existed in all time with
the Father and Holy Spirit in the eternal Trinity. As a man He possessed two
natures -human and divine. He lived a sinless life and willingly died on the
cross as a sacrifice for the sin of all humanity. (see John 1:1-18; 8:56-59;
Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:13-22; Heb.1:3; 13:8)
Jesus was the spiritual "first born" Son of God in the preexistence. "Every
person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven.
The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ, so he is
literally our elder brother" (Gospel Principles [GP], p. 11)."And now,
verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the
Firstborn" (D&C 93:21). He is also the "only begotten" physical offspring
of God by procreation on earth. "Jesus is the only person on earth to be born
of a mortal mother and an immortal father. That is why he is called the Only
Begotten Son" (GP, p. 64). His atonement (death and resurrection) provides
immortality for all people regardless of their faith. "Christ thus overcame
physical death. Because of his atonement, everyone born on this earth will be
resurrected . . . This condition is called immortality. All people who ever
lived will be resurrected, 'both old and young, both bond and free, both male
and female, both the wicked and the righteous' (The Book of Mormon
[BOM], Alma 11:44)" (GP, p. 74). (See GP, pp. 11, 17-19,
The Bible (Old and New Testaments) is the unique, revealed, and inspired
Word of God. It is the sole authority for faith and practice for Christians.
(see 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21)
The church also regards The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) as
Scripture. It "is a collection of modern revelations . . . regarding The Church
of Jesus Christ as it has been restored in these last days" (GP, p. 54).
The Pearl of the Great Price (PGP) is the fourth book believed to
"It clarifies doctrines and teachings that were lost from the Bible and gives
added information concerning the creation of the earth" (GP, p. 54).
The church's president is regarded as "a seer, a revelator, a translator,
and a prophet" (D&C 107:91-92).
Human beings are created in God's image, meaning they have personal
qualities similar to God's. Every person is a unique, precious being of dignity
and worth. (see Gen. 1:26-27)
People are the preexisted spiritual offspring of the Heavenly Father and
Mother. "All men and women are . . . literally the sons and daughters of Deity
. . . Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared
to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the
earth in a temporal (physical) body" (Joseph F. Smith, "The Origin of Man,"
Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, pp. 78,80, as quoted in GP, p. 11).They are born
basically good and are "gods in embryo." A commonly quoted Mormon aphorism
(attributed to fifth LDS president Lorenzo Snow) says "As man is, God once was;
as God is, man may become."
Salvation is release from the guilt and power of sin through God's gift of
grace. It is provided through Christ's atonement and received by personal faith
in Christ as Savior and Lord. (see Rom. 3:20; 10:9- 10; Eph. 2:8-10)
These are some of the blessings given to exalted people:
1. They will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus
Christ (see D&C, 76).
2. They will become gods.
3. They will have their righteous family members with them and will be able
to have spirit children also. These spirit children will have the same
relationship to them as we do to our Heavenly Father. They will be an eternal
4. They will receive a fullness of joy.
5. They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have
- all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge (See GP, p. 302).
Baptism for the dead provides post-mortem salvation for non-Mormons, and is
"by immersion performed by a living person for one who is dead. This ordinance
is performed in temples" (GP, p. 375). (See also GP, chapters 18-23.)
Eternal life in heaven with God for those who have trusted in Jesus Christ.
Eternal separation from God's presence in hell for the unsaved. (see Matt.
5:12-30; 25:41; Rev. 20-22)
One of three levels of glory:
1. Exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom for faithful Mormons where people may
become gods or angels; "Then shall they be gods" (D&C 132:20).
2. Terrestrial Kingdom for righteous non-Mormons; "These are they who are
honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These
are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fullness" (D&C
3. Telestial Kingdom for wicked and ungodly (not hell); "These are they who
are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers . . . who suffer the wrath of God on
earth"(D&C 76:103-104). (See also D&C 76:57-119; 131:1-4.)
Christians congregate together in local bodies and along denominational
lines sharing distinctive doctrinal and ecclesiastical concepts. There is no
organization or denomination that can claim exclusive designation as the "one
true church. The universal church consists of all the redeemed in Jesus Christ
in all of the ages. (see Matt. 16:15-19; 1 Cor. 1:12-14; Eph. 2:19;
Asserts that the LDS is the one true church on the face of the earth. Joseph
Smith claimed Jesus Christ told him to join none of the existing denominations
because "they were all wrong . . . that all their creeds were an abomination in
his sight; that those professors were all corrupt" (PGP: Joseph Smith-History
1:19-20). Mormons claim only the LDS possesses the divine authority of the
Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood as restored by God to Joseph Smith in 1829.
(D&C 13; 27:8- 13; 107:1-20; PGP: Joseph Smith-History
Smith, Joseph, Jr. The Pearl of Great Price. Salt Lake City: The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006. (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/pgp)
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