I am a Christian and I am dating a Mormon. Hes a great guy. What is your opinion on this? What are some major differences between the two religions? Thanks so much, always praying for Abby, God Bless.
The Bible says we should not be “unequally yoked”… in other words, we should not be teamed up with or hooked via marriage to those with incompatible views because of the obviously contention and inconsistency it would cause. (2Cor 6:14)
This is not a “religious” issue exclusively. It’s common sense. If two people have incompatible views about money, sex, parenting or children, they are simply signing up for disaster and heartache if they get married. How much more so if they have incompatible views about God, creation, eternity and salvation?
I don’t have to get into “is Mormonism true?”. Too substantiate my point, I simply have to demonstrate clearly that “Bible-only Christianity” (not relying on any other source of authority except the Holy Bible) is not compatible with the teachings of Mormonism as they are publicly (and well) documented.
Before doing so, let me say this: I have Mormon friends and family who are some of the kindest, most sincere and “good” people I know. My sister-in-laws brother, Roddy, is a man I hold in the highest esteem, and trust him beyond any question. He (and his whole family) are the best of the best kind of folks, and couldn’t ask for or find more gracious, loving and caring people. He and I have spoke frankly and respectfully about Mormonism, and it has not changed our relationship. We agree to disagree, but disagree we do. I love him and his family dearly but it does not change the incompatibilities of our beliefs.
So, as a “Christian”, you should not be unequally “hooked” together with someone of incompatible religious views. I’ll leave you to decide for yourself whether the Bible ALONE is incompatible with the teachings of Mormonism:
The Church has 4 Standard Works that are authoritative: The Bible (in so far as it is translated correctly), the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. Speeches and writings of the current president of the church are also authoritative. The Bible is far below the other standard Works because it is full of errors (wherever it disagrees with Mormon doctrine).
The Bible Alone:
The only authoritative scriptures given by God are the 39 books of the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible. God promised to preserve his word and to suggest that the Bible was mistranslated and corrupted would be to call God a liar. If God were to give additional revelations they would be consistent with any prior revelations thus eliminating Mormon writings, since they stand in direct opposition to the divine revelation that has already been given in the Bible.
There are many Gods. Brigham Young-Journal of Discourses 7:333 “How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods.
The Bible Alone:
God the Father is an exalted man (a man who has progressed to godhood) with a body of flesh and bones.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1973 ed., p. 346 – “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man…I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in a form-like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man.”
D & C 130:22 “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also.”
The Bible Alone:
The Bible is most explicit in stating that God is not a man (Nu 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; Hos 11:9). God the Father, the eternal God is Spirit (Isa 55:8-9; 6:1-5; 57:15; Pss 90:2; 113:5-6; 123:1; Jn 4:24: 8:23) Jesus said that a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Lk 24:39)
God the Father became a God after learning truth, aggressively pursuing godhood, and being obedient to the laws of the gospel.
The Bible Alone:
As Psalms 90:2 and 93:2 state, God has been God “from eternity to eternity.”
God the Father has a wife, through whom he procreates spirit children.
“Implicit in the Christian verity that all men are the spirit children of an Eternal Father is the usually unspoken truth that they are also the offspring of an Eternal Mother. An exalted and glorified Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57) could not be a Father unless a Woman of like glory, perfection, and holiness was associated with him as a Mother” (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., p. 516)
The Bible Alone:
The Godhead determined to make man in their image, not to procreate spirit children (Ge 1:26). Nowhere does Scripture even hint at the existence of an Eternal Mother.
God is not a uniquely eternal being. All spirit is self-existent matter and is eternal (without beginning or end). Such “matter (called intelligences) sometimes becomes organized into a spirit being through birth to celestial parents. Then that spirit is born through human parents on earth. Like all people, God took this course and eventually reached Godhood. God would stop being God if intelligences stopped supporting him as God.
(D&C 93:29, 33; Abraham 3:18-23; Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed. p. 751)
The Bible Alone:
God is not God unless He is all-powerful, all knowing, absolutely in charge. If God exists only as God because of support given from other intelligent forms, He is not God at all (Isa 44:6; Ro 3:4; Rev 1:8; 21:6; 22:13)
God is unchangingly omnipotent, and no purpose of His can be thwarted. He is not overruled by anyone (Ge 17:1; Job 36:22-23; 42:2; Isa 14:26-27; 40:13-14; Jer 32:27; Mt 19:26; Lk 1:37; Ac 17:24-25; Rev 19:6)
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be” (D&C 93:29)
Life, intelligence, mind, the ‘light of truth’ , or whatever name one gives to the center of the personality of man, is an uncreated, eternally existent, indestructible entity…In the first stage, man was an eternally existent being termed an intelligence…The next realm where man dwelt was the spirit world….eternally-existing intelligences were clothed with spirit bodies…numerous sons and daughters were begotten and born of heavenly parents into that eternal family in the spirit world” (The Gospel Through the ages, pp.126-127)
The Bible Alone:
Man is a finite being, not an eternal one. The first man Adam was created at a specific point in time (Ge 1:26-27; 2:7; 1Co 15:45-49). Man did not exist in the beginning when God was creating the universe, for if he had, God’s question to Job would have made no sense (Job 38:4). Man was created lower than the angels, so that David wondered why God is even mindful of him (Ps 8:3-5; 144:3). Not a single verse in the Bible suggests that God has a wife, but Isaiah 44:24 explicitly says that the Lord made all things by Himself. Moreover, several passages in Isaiah indicate that there is only one God and there is none beside Him (44:8; 45:6) or like Him (46:9).
“…these spirit children were organized, possessing divine, eternal, and godlike attributes, inherited from their Heavenly Father and Mother. There in the spirit world they were reared to maturity, becoming grown spirit men and women prior to coming upon this earth” (The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 127).
“Jesus is man’s spiritual brother. We dwelt with Him in the spirit world as members of that large society of eternal intelligences, which included our Heavenly Parents and all the personages who have become mortal beings upon this earth or who ever shall come here to dwell…Jesus was the ‘firstborn,’ and so He is our eldest brother” (Ibid., p.21)
The Bible Alone:
Jesus was and is Almighty God from everlasting to everlasting. He is the creator of all that exists and is “firstborn” over all creation in the sense that He is the preeminent originator of life and the universe (Mic 5:2; Ps 90:2; Jn 1:1-3; Ac 3:14-15; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:2). This meaning for the word “firstborn” can be understood by comparing Genesis 41:51-52, which states that Manasseh was Joseph’s “firstborn” son while Ephraim was the second, with Jeremiah 31:9, where God calls Ephraim the “firstborn.” Obviously, “firstborn” does not always mean the one literally born first.
Death and sin came through the fall of Adam and Eve. But their deed was not actually a “sin.” It was really a blessing because it enabled man to continue progressing on toward eternal life. “They (the Christian world) have been long taught that Adam and Eve were great transgressors…We, the children of Adam….should rejoice with them, that through their fall and the atonement of Jesus Christ, the way of eternal life has been opened up to us” (Articles of Faith, p. 476)
The Bible Alone:
Rejoicing is hardly the proper response to Adam’s sin. Because of that sin, both Adam and Eve died spiritually and their physical bodies began to deteriorate. Eve was given pain and sorrow in child-bearing, Adam was required to work and sweat in order to eat, the entire creation was cursed, they were thrown out of the Garden forever, and the entire human race was destined to be born dead in sins and children of god’s wrath by nature. To rejoice in the fall of man is to embrace Satan’s lie. It was Satan who deceived Eve by convincing her that sin was good and would bring her knowledge and reward. (Ge 3:16-24; Ro 3:23; 5:12-15, 17-19; 8:19-22 Eph 2:1-5; 1Jn 3:4)
Christ’s death on the cross (the atonement) canceled the penalty of death imposed on ALL men through Adam’s sin, thereby ensuring that all men would be redeemed – resurrected and given immortality (the reuniting of spirit with body)-as a gift.
“If there had been no atonement, temporal death would have remained forever, and there never would have remained forever, and there never would have been a resurrection. The body would have remained forever in the grave” (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., p.63)
“Redemption from death, through the sufferings of Christ, is for all men, both the righteous and the wicked” (Ibid., p. 65)
“Immortality is a free gift which comes by grace alone without works on man’s part” (Ibid., p. 377)
The Bible Alone:
Not everyone is blessed through Christ’s crucifixion. Only those who accept His sacrifice and surrender themselves to Him (Ro 10:9) will receive the benefit of Jesus’ death and resurrection, which is forgiveness of sins (Ac 10:43) and salvation (Ro 3:24). Eternal life “in Christ,” and not just simply eternal existence through resurrection, is the gift offered by God to humanity (Ro 6:23). This gift is obtainable only by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-10).
Jesus’ death serves to reconcile all believers to God (Ro 5:10). In dying, Jesus broke down the wall of
– – – – – – – – – – –
Now consider the differences in salvation from a Bible-Only view, and the teaching of Mormonism:
A Closer Look at the Mormon Concept of Salvation
“But they use words just like ours—gospel, savior, atonement, virgin birth. In fact, don’t they also baptize by immersion, send out missionaries, and talk about the gospel? It seems that their view of salvation is just like Baptists and other evangelicals! Isn’t that the case?”
This is often the response to Mormonism and the practices of the Mormon church. On the surface, much of what Mormons do seems similar to Bible-based Christian denominations. What they believe, however, is not at all in correspondence to the Bible. Nowhere is this fact more evident than when the question: “What must I do to be saved?” is asked. The Bible gives a very clear and simple answer to that inquiry “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with all thy heart and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31 ). This answer is one that Christians would affirm and support. For example, the Baptist Faith and Message states simply: “Salvation . . . is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. It is acquired when the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith with the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing less and nothing more is required.”1
Let’s Break That Concept Down Into Four Pieces
First, salvation is of God—the one and only God of this and all other possible universes. He is uncreated, without a beginning, and by whom all things are created. He loved the world and sent His son, God the Word, to die for our sins (see John 3:16 and 2 Cor. 5:18-19).
Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary. He was born, lived a sinless life, was crucified for the sins of the world, and was raised victorious on the third day.
Secondly, the biblical and Christian concept of Jesus is that He existed eternally in heaven as God the Word. He is uncreated as the second person of the Triune God. There is no biblical material to substantiate, neither have Christians ever believed, that He was born a spirit child to “Heavenly Father” in a preexistent realm as the Mormons teach. He is not our nor Lucifer’s “elder brother.”
Third, because humankind is sinful and fallen, all of us stand in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ for all of our sins and not just Adam’s original sin. God’s forgiveness and transforming power are available to all who put their trust in Christ (see John 1:11-13; John 3:16-36).
Fourth, we must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, as we repent of all sin. John 1:12 states, “to as many as received Him to them He gave the power to become the sons of God even to them who believe in His name.” Works, denominational identity, or good intentions have nothing to do with one’s saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Faith, trust, and belief in Jesus’ saving death on the cross when He took the sins of the world on himself and suffered for them, is the only basis for redemption (see 1 John 5:13; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9).
How does Mormonism compare with the above plan? It is quite different and involves at least twelve steps for the male member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons believe that everyone will experience salvation or eternal life in some way. While the Bible affirms only the presence of heaven or hell, Mormonism maintains that there is perdition, or hell, which is reserved for murderers, apostates from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Devil and his angels. Mormon theology also maintains the existence of three heavens, all of them superior to this life—the celestial, terrestrial and telestial kingdoms. The celestial kingdom is of the highest order where the Mormon will achieve exaltation or godhood.2
The Following Steps Explain The Mormon’s Plan To Aquire The Celestial Kingdom
Step One: Faith. Faith for the Mormon is unclear. It is in a different Jesus—our spiritual brother from heaven who like us was born as spirit child of God, although Jesus was the firstborn of all the spirit children. Bruce R. McConkie, a Mormon theologian, stated that people who speak of a “special relationship with Christ” are guilty of “excessive zeal” and “pure sectarian nonsense.”3 Faith for the Mormon is seemingly never spoken of as directed towards the deity of Christ and His full atonement on the cross for the sins of the world. Rather faith is seen as a response to whatever Christ commends, not as a trust in His complete ability to save.4
Step Two: Repentance. The Bible makes clear that repentance for salvation is always from sin or sins and toward God. For the Mormon repentance involves confessing and abandoning sin as well as restoring or resolving all damage done by one’s sin. This definition sounds biblical. But the further condition is added that one must “spend the balance of your lives trying to live the commandments of the Lord so he can eventually pardon you and cleanse you”5 Repentance is only a prelude to the process of acquiring salvation by obedience to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Little, if anything, is said of repentance leading to Jesus Christ. If that is the Mormon understanding of repentance then it is clear why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints goes on to add the steps listed below:
Step Three: Baptism by Immersion in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is here where the clear stamp of Mormonism is unmistakable. The Mormon church claims to be the only true church thus all other churches and their practices and forms of baptism are false. Baptism by immersion through a “duly commissioned servant or representative of the Savior” (a priest in the Aaronic priesthood of the church) is required.6 Therefore this baptism must take place in the Mormon church and is “the gateway through which we enter the celestial kingdom.”7
Step Four: Laying on of Hands by a Member of the Melchizedek Priesthood in Order to Receive the Holy Ghost. The presence of the Holy Spirit is not promised for the Mormon as a result of faith and belief. It comes instead mechanically when a baptized Mormon is prayed for by a member of that priestly class in the church: “The authority to bestow the Holy Ghost belongs to the Melchizedek Priesthood . . . the elder . . . says ‘Receive the Holy Ghost,’ and ‘I confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.'”8
Step Five: Ordination as a Melchizedek Priest (for males only). When one receives the laying on of hands by a priest of this order then exaltation and salvation becomes possible in that one also becomes a priest in the same order: “This higher priesthood is designed to enable men to gain exaltation in the highest heaven in eternity . . . Perfection can be gained only in and through and because of their priesthood.”9 As well, Mormons believe the Holy Ghost will come to a person only when he is faithful and desires help from this heavenly messenger.10
Step Six: Receiving the Temple Endowments . Upon ordination to the priesthood, the designated person is then led through a ceremony of anointing and other similar rites—none of which have biblical sanction. Women may also receive these rites. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains, however, that “through them [the rituals] the recipients are endowed with power from on high. They receive an education relative to the Lord’s purposes and plans . . . and are taught the things that must be done by man in order to gain exaltation in the world to come.”11 The approximately 50 temples of the Mormon Church serve as the only place where these rites can be carried out and are therefore viewed as sacred by Mormons themselves.12
Step Seven: Celestial Marriage. Doctrine and Covenants, part of Mormon canonized scripture, states that “celestial marriage is the gate to an exaltation in the highest heaven within the celestial world.”13 As a part of temple these endowments members of the Mormon church are married for “time and eternity” to their spouses in a Mormon temple. Such marriages are essential so that once worthy Mormons are resurrected to godhood they may have their spouse with them to produce and procreate children for their world and universe.
Step Eight: Observing the Word of Wisdom. Joseph Smith taught that the use of strong drinks—alcoholic beverages—or hot drinks—referring probably to coffee and tea, both containing caffeine—would demonstrate unworthiness for exaltation.14 The church also teaches, “For observing the word of wisdom the reward is life, not only prolonged mortal life, but life eternal.”15
Step Nine: Sustain the Prophet. As each Prophet/President of the church is believed to the sole revelator and representative of God to his church, it is required of every worthy Mormon to support or sustain his word (message) at each church conference (April 6 and October 6). “To reject the word of the Lord [the message of the Prophet] is to reject the Lord himself,” and hence to be unworthy of the celestial kingdom.16
Step Ten: Tithing. “One tenth of the interest or increase of each member of the Church is payable as tithing funds of the Church each year.”17 And—”payment of an honest tithing is essential to the attainment of those great blessings which the Lord has in store for his faithful saints. Members of the church who fail or neglect to pay an honest tithing are thereby denying themselves of the receipt of these rich blessings.”18 Doctrine and Covenants is even more explicit saying, “For he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.”19 In other words tithing is a part of the plan of salvation to escape censor at the second-coming of Christ.
Step Eleven: Sacrament Meetings. A sacrament meeting is the weekly Sunday gathering of local Latter-day Saints when they meet to sing, testify, and share the sacrament of bread and water. To participate regularly in this occasion is essential for staying in the close fellowship of the church. It serves as the basis for renewing one’s covenant vows begun at baptism: “By partaking of the sacrament, worthy saints renew the covenant previously made by them in the water of baptism.”20 By keeping the covenant in the observance of the sacraments, the Mormon believes that “we will always have the Lord’s spirit to be with us and that by following this pattern, believing on his name, we will gain a remission of our sins.”21
Step Twelve: Obedience. Obedience to the church, its teachings, and the prophet is essential for the Mormon for the “fullness of salvation.” Obedience is the first law of heaven, the cornerstone upon which all righteous and progression rest.” Remember that perdition or hell is reserved for apostates—those who leave the Mormon church and resign their membership in it. There is no salvation apart from total obedience to the church.22 Without obedience to the Word of Wisdom entrance to Mormon temples will not be granted. Without that allowance a Mormon would not be able to enter the celestial kingdom.
Conclusion: The plan of salvation according to the “gospel” of Mormonism is not just a gospel of works—it is a gospel of obedience and obligation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In Gospel Principles, an official publication of that church, a parable describing the Mormon plan of salvation is told. A debtor begs his creditor for mercy as his debts are large and long overdue. Just as the cruel creditor is about to cast the man in prison a friend intervenes who says to the creditor, “You will pay the debt to me and I will set the terms. It will not be easy, but it will be possible.”23 The friend who intervened, not with a free gift, but with a loan to be repaid, is symbolic of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each devout Saint therefore is now working hard to pay off their debt to the church. Their gospel (good news) is no gospel. It is not the gospel of freedom through Christ, it is a gospel of servitude and obligation to a religious organization.
In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus told the story of a certain king who forgave his servants their debts to him. One of the servants turned afterwards and demanded payment from a fellow servant of a hundred denarii debt. Unable to pay, the second servant was thrown into prison. Jesus illustrated the point that we should forgive one another just as God has forgiven us, those who believe in Him, from all our transgressions against God’s law. This thought echos the teaching of the Lord’s prayer—”Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12 ).
The biblical gospel of Jesus Christ is that no debts remain to be paid. Jesus Christ suffered for our sins sufficiently on the cross so that each one who believes in Him may be forgiven of all wrongs—past, present, and future. If you have yet to receive his gift of eternal life, you may do so by believing that God loves you in spite of your sin, that Jesus suffered and paid the cost of your sin, and that salvation is His free gift to you. As the Bible says “with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10 ).
- Herschel Hobbs, The Baptist Faith and Message (Nashville: Convention Press, 1989), 10-11.
- See the Interfaith Witness pamphlet “A Closer Look at the Mormon Concept of God” (prod. no. 213-117F) for more information on the Mormon concept of God.
- “Who Answers Prayers?” Sunstone Review (April 1982), 13.
- See Gospel Principles (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1995), 117-121 for more information.
- Ibid., 126.
- James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Press, 1976), 137.
- Gospel Principles, 131.
- Talmage, Articles of Faith, 167.
- Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 167.
- Gospel Principles, 139.
- F. F. Bruce, The epistle to the Hebrews from the New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1964), 227.
- McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 227.
- Doctrine and Covenants (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1986), 132:34-40,61-62.
- Ibid., 89.
- Gospel Principles, 195.
- McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 150.
- Ibid., 796.
- Ibid., 798.
- Doctrine and Covenants, 64:23.
- McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 660.
- Gospel Principles, 155.
- McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 539.
- Gospel Principles, 77.