Mormonism vs Christianity
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Mormonism vs Christianity

Christianity Re-Defined By Mormonism

Anyone who has seen the public relations blitz by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) with the impressive TV and radio commercials, proselytizing videos, and new temple visitor center displays knows that Mormons do not want to be seen as "way out," intolerant cultists with strange and unusual beliefs, but as respectable, mainstream Christians. Certainly no one can disagree with their heart-warming messages encouraging us all to be more caring. Talking further with these wonderful people often leaves us wondering how anyone could say that they are not Christians, for they speak of such familiar things as "faith in Jesus, who died for their sins". However, a more careful look reveals that the vast majority of religious terms used by Mormons have been radically re-defined by their leaders. Here's a look at some of these definitions which help us to see that the difference between Mormonism and Christianity is as contrary as night and day, and that the slick public relations campaign their leadership is engaged in is actually an insidious deception.

I. Christian
What Mormons mean:
Adherents of any religion with a worshipped figure called by the name "Christ" regardless of how that deity may be described or defined. Since they call their church the Church of Jesus Christ, Mormons categorize themselves as Christians along with Protestants, Catholics, and any number of pseudo-Christian cults as well. In fact, since they believe they are the only "true church", Mormons actually think that they are more "Christian" than anyone else.

What Christian means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
Those who hold to the general doctrinal beliefs found in the Bible and embodied in the early Christian creeds such as the Apostle's Creed and also described below. Specifically, Christians are those who believe that Jesus Christ is the infinite God become flesh, who died on the cross and rose from the grave to pay the penalty for their sin so that He could offer eternal life to them as a free gift of his grace. These Christians are those who have, with deliberation, chosen to receive Christ and eternal life by faith, having become "born again" of the Spirit. Because of this forgiveness their response is a desire to have a relationship with Him, and to serve him.

II. Scripture
What Mormons mean:
The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and the words of the Mormon general authorities if they say, "thus saith the Lord". The Bible is only considered the "Word of God" as far as it is translated correctly, so it tends to be disregarded if its words do not fit with these other "standard works". Scripture can be added to and changed by new revelation.

What Scripture means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
The sixty-six canonized books of the Bible as written in its original language is scripture and is the inerrant "Word of God". While many writings in the world are very good, only these sixty-six books of the Bible can be called authoritative scripture.

III. God & Lord
What Mormons mean:
This word is surprisingly difficult to pin down because Mormons do not believe in one "god". Sometimes it refers to all three of their distinct "gods" together as an organization. Sometimes they mean the personage called Elohim (the Father). Other times they are referring to Jesus (Jehovah, the Son). For example, if "the Lord" gives a command to love God or know God or to have no idols before God, some Mormons assume it refers to the Son, but some assume the Father, and others assume the entire godhead. See Father, Jesus, and Holy Ghost for definitions of these individual gods. If a Mormon uses the word "God", ask them to clarify which one they are referring to.

What God means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
There is only one God. He is the one and only Almighty who is the self-existent one with the names "I am", "The Alpha and Omega", "The Beginning and the End". He expresses Himself as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but is nevertheless one God. (Isaiah 43:10) He has always existed as God. He is the creator of the universe, the "first cause". He is holy and perfect; both perfect love, and perfect justice. He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He is greater than anything we can see in bodily form, but He does take on bodily form in the person of Jesus.

IV. The Father
What Mormons mean:
A resurrected, exalted man who presides over our world. His proper name is Elohim. He is only one of many gods, and he, himself, is subject to his father before him (whom we know nothing about). He was once a man and progressed one step at a time until he reached godhood. He has a physical body of flesh and bones "as tangible as man's". Like all of us, he also has an eternal "intelligence & soul", but he was also born to his spirit parents as a spirit being, and also was born to physical parents as a physical being. He has many wives, and has procreated billions of spirit children (all of us) in the same way that children are normally procreated by their parents. We are to follow his example and become gods of our own worlds and populate them in the same way.

What Father means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
The Almighty God as the first person of the Trinity. He is the infinite creator, from whom all things come. No one can see the Father, for He is too great and utterly beyond our comprehension. We can behold His non-consuming attributes (love, mercy, forgiveness, etc.), but anyone standing in His divine presence would be consumed by Him were we not shielded from His consuming attributes (justice, holiness, etc.), for He is called a "Consuming Fire". (Exodus 33:18-23; Hebrews 12:29) He is righteous, perfect, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. He is a personal God, for we were created in His image with the ability to think and feel as persons.

V. Jesus Christ
What Mormons mean:
A resurrected, exalted man who organized the world with Michael the Archangel under the supervision of Elohim. Elohim is his physical as well as spiritual father, since the Heavenly Father had relations with the "virgin" Mary to give birth to Jesus. His heavenly name is Jehovah and he is the spirit brother of Lucifer. Although Christ is considered the "God of the Old Testament", prayers should actually be directed to a different god, Elohim; and a personal relationship with Jesus has been discouraged by some Mormon leaders. Christ died and rose again: See atonement below.

What Jesus Christ means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
The infinite God in human flesh; thus He is called the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is the second person of the Trinity. He is fully divine, and fully human. He is the fullest expression of the Father to us in a person we can comprehend. (John 1:18) Therefore, our greatest blessing and highest purpose is to know Jesus intimately. Christ has always existed, and as the one true God is the creator of the universe. (John 1:3) His life on earth was without sin. He is called "I Am", "Lord", "God", "God-with-us", and "Everlasting Father" indicating His co-divinity with the Father. (John 8:58, 20:28, Mat.1:23, Isaiah 9:6) He died and rose again: See atonement below.

VI. Holy Ghost
What Mormons mean: The third god that Mormon people have to do with. While the Holy Ghost is also a god who was once a man, he does not currently have a body of flesh and bones like Elohim and Jehovah. This is because of his role as comforter, and the one who gives a "burning in the bosom" to tell a person that Mormonism is true. The gift of access to the Holy Ghost is given to Mormons in a priesthood ritual. The terms "Holy Spirit" or "Spirit of Christ" or "Spirit of God" are not synonymous with "Holy Ghost" since they could refer to the spirit bodies of the Father or Son, or also to the more general spiritual force emanating from the godhead.

What Holy Ghost means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
The one and only God as the third person in the Trinity. He dwells in the heart of every one who receives Christ by faith. This is what it means to be "born again of the Spirit", to have God dwelling inside you. He is the Comforter, Helper, Spirit, Spirit of God, Holy Spirit, and giver of "gifts of the Spirit". While the Holy Ghost has moved in power through ages past, His indwelling was given to every believer beginning at Pentecost.

VII. Virgin Birth
What Mormons mean:
God, the Father, had sexual relations with the virgin Mary and she conceived Jesus. (Not all Mormons realize that this is part of LDS doctrine.) Mary did not conceive by the Holy Ghost.

What Virgin Birth means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
Mary conceived through a miracle by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18) A person who conceives as a result of sexual relations is not a virgin.

VIII. Monotheism
What Mormons mean:
The belief in one organization of gods (that we have to do with) as a godhead. Mormons insist that they are not polytheistic.

What Monotheism means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
The belief in one God. Polytheism is the belief in more than one god.

IX. Salvation
What Mormons mean:
This could refer either to (1) Immortality, which is also called "general salvation" or everlasting life which everyone receives automatically whether they believe or not; or (2) Eternal life, which is also called exaltation, or celestial glory with Elohim. The latter is earned by "obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel" in a step-by-step eternal progression towards perfection. (3rd Article of Faith) Mormons will sometimes bounce back and forth between these concepts when discussing "salvation".

What Salvation means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
To be saved from the certain condemnation that would otherwise result from man's sinful nature. The very word implies rescue motivated by concern rather than by way of reward for deeds performed. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Salvation includes the gift of reconciliation, sonship, and eternal life with God the Father forever in heaven.

X. Gospel
What Mormons mean:
A religious system of progression via the one true church and the true priesthood authority to enable a person to be "saved". Sometimes it is referred to as the "law of the gospel".

Click here to read the Gospel of Fundemental Christianity

What Gospel means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
Good news: The message that God Incarnate has paid our penalty on the cross and offers eternal life as a free gift. Previously the bad news was the law, since it was relentlessly just. (Romans 3:20-22)

XI. Sin
What Mormons mean:
Individual wrong deeds, which need to be repented of. Man is called a sinner because he sins. Man can become righteous by ceasing to commit sins, and also not repeating those sins permanently, then keeping the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

What Sin means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
The whole nature of man, which needs to be repented of. Man sins because he is, by nature, a sinner. (Romans 7:18) It is impossible for man to make himself sinless by obedience to the law. (Romans 3:19,20) He can only be changed by becoming a new creation, being born of the spirit. (II Cor.5:17)

XII. Adam's Fall
What Mormons mean:
Adam was caught between two contradictory commands from God: (1) to abstain from the named fruit, and (2) to multiply and replenish the earth. He chose to obey the second and "transgress" the first. Thus, "Adam fell that men might be". (II Nephi 2:25) Mormons believe that Adam was Michael the Archangel, although a disregarded teaching of Brigham Young was that Adam was also God, himself. (J of D vol.1, pp.50)

What Adam's Fall means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
Sin entered the world through Adam. (Romans 5:12) He and Eve took of the forbidden fruit in an attempt to be as gods. We were in his loins at the time of the fall, and were born with his same sin nature. We are not accountable for Adam's mistake, rather we are judged because we are just like Adam.

XIII. Atonement
What Mormons mean:
Jesus bled from his pores in the garden of Gethsemene (1) for the purpose of making all people immortal regardless of how they are judged, and (2) to atone for those individual sins which are confessed, repented of, and not repeated. There is only atonement for sins which are individually repented of. This cycle is part of the step-by-step plan of eternal progression ultimately toward godhood. Jesus' blood cannot atone for murder. The cross is generally disdained as a murder weapon, and is therefore not found on any Mormon church building.

What Atonement means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
Jesus, "the Lamb of God", came to earth expressly to die a brutal death and pay the penalty for our sinful nature demanded by God's righteous justice so that He could rightly offer us reconciliation and eternal life as a free gift to those who would receive it by faith. (Romans 3:24-28) Moses, David, and Paul were all murderers, but the blood of Jesus is sufficient to pay for all sin. The only unforgivable sin is to reject forgiveness itself and the accompanying presence of the Holy Spirit. The cross is beautiful to a Christian, and we are encouraged to remember Christ's agony because it exhibits His profound love for us. (I Cor.1:18)

XIV. Grace
What Mormons mean:
Grace from God is something we have to earn, by "obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel".(3rd Article of Faith) It is granted after our deeds demonstrate our worthiness. "By grace we are saved after all we can do". (II Nephi 25:23) All blessings from God are "predicated" upon obedience to laws which correspond to the particular blessings. (D&C 130:21)

What Grace means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
God's unmerited favor. By definition, grace is a gift which is not earned or deserved. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

XV. Faith
What Mormons mean:
It includes both (1) belief, and (2) doing good works as part of its definition. Good works is not just a demonstration that faith is present, but good works is part of the faith itself. (See McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:396) Thus "whosoever believeth" & really means "whosoever worketh". Those who do not take part in Mormon-sanctioned baptism, attend sacrament meetings, pay a full tithing, perform secret temple rites, and other such requirements are said not to have faith and so not be eligible for eternal life with the Father.

What Faith means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
Also called "belief", and "trust". Faith is more than intellectual assent; it is also volitional. It is a decision to trust. Even the demons believe the facts about God "and tremble", but saving faith means placing your eternal soul in God's trustworthy hands, by taking God at His word (John 6:47). It is the means by which we receive God's love. It is true that faith shows itself in subsequent actions and deeds, but the deeds themselves are not faith. (Romans 4:5) Even faith itself is a gift, so there is no room for boasting. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

XVI. Heaven>br> What Mormons mean:
There is no single place called heaven, for there are many degrees of glory. The highest, the Celestial Kingdom, is the heaven where the Father presides. There is also the Terrestrial Kingdom where Jehovah presides over the large number of generally good Christians; and lastly the Telestial Kingdom where the Holy Ghost resides over robbers and murderers in a "heaven" still far more wonderful than earth. Paradise, is not to be confused with any of these, for it is only temporary place before the final judgment.

What Heaven means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
While the Jews referred to three heavens: the sky, the expanse of space, and the place where God dwells--our use of the word refers to the latter (the "third heaven"). Since there are only two choices; to trust or not to trust God--there are only two ultimate destinations; heaven and hell. Heaven is the location of the true "Holy of Holies", the throne room of God. (Hebrews 9:24) The most important attribute of heaven is that God is physically present there. (Rev. 7:9,10) It is a place so wonderful as to be beyond all comparisons. (Romans 8:18)

XVII. Hell
What Mormons mean:
There is no hell per se. If hell is mentioned it is a reference to (1) the Telestial Kingdom; (2) Spirit Prison, a temporary destination before judgment; or (3) Outer Darkness, a place reserved for the devil and the demons (and Ex-Mormons).

What Hell means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
A horrible place of condemnation because it is to be separated from God's presence. Less important are what some consider to be more figurative descriptions of fire and torment. Satan is ultimately to be cast into the "lake of fire". (Rev.20:10) Our sin already condemns us (John 3:18) to an eternity separated from God, which is hell, unless we accept His provision for the salvation offered to us through His Son. (Acts 4:12)

XVIII. Child of God
What Mormons mean:
All people. Every spirit is the literal offspring of God the Father and one of His wives in the pre-existence. We are all brothers and sisters.

What Child of God means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
Only those who receive Christ are children of God. (John 1:12) One becomes a spiritual baby by being "born again" of the Holy Spirit, and thereby becomes heir to all God's spiritual riches. It is Christians, then, who are brothers and sisters. The family of God is called the church. As adopted children we can call God "abba" which means daddy or papa. (Romans 8:15)

XIX. Church
What Mormons mean:
An organization. The "true" church has a hierarchy with a prophet and his counselors over twelve apostles who have authority over the rest of the church structure.

What Church means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
An organism. The church is people, believers, who make up the "body" of which Christ is the head. Every beliver enjoys Christ's leadership personally.

XX. Priesthood
What Mormons mean:
Authority. The Levitical (Aaronic) Priesthood includes the offices of deacon, teacher, and priest. The higher Melchizedek Priesthood includes the offices of elder, seventy, high priest, and bishop. These various offices and the corresponding authority to act on behalf of God are granted by ceremonies of ordination which are performed only by others with like authority. The Mormon Church is the only true church because it is the only one with this proper authority.

What Priesthood means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
The priesthood is nowhere equated with authority, nor does it include deacons, elders, bishops, etc. in the Bible. A priest is one who offers sacrifices (or performs related tasks). A priest pleads man's case to God, while a prophet pleads God's case to man. High Priests were always in the Levitical Priesthood in the Bible. Jesus replaced the Levitical priests, because He is the perfect high priest who offered a perfect sacrifice and presented it in the true "holy of holies" in heaven. (Hebrews chapter 7) His priesthood is described as being after the order of Melchizedek since this priest in Genesis received his call without being in the genealogical line of the Levites, just like Jesus who was not a Levite. When Jesus died the veil before the "holy of holies" was torn, and since we all have direct access to Jesus, all believers are as priests. (I Peter 2:5,9)

XXI. Temple
What Mormons mean:
A number of sacred buildings, not used for general assembly and worship. Secret rituals are performed inside including the "endowment" ceremony in which the participant receives secret signs, tokens, and handshakes believed to be important when the person passes certain checkpoints on his way to the Celestial Kingdom after he dies. Much of the time these rituals are performed in proxy ceremonies for dead persons whose names have been obtained from genealogical research. Only about one in six Mormons meet the requirements for a "recommend" and are allowed within.

What Temple means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
The temple was the one sacred building on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem intended to be the dwelling place of God's Shekinah Glory. Only the High Priest was permitted to enter the room called the "holy of holies" to sprinkle the blood of the sacrificial goat on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant once a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This function was first filled by the portable "tabernacle" during the time of Moses, then by three different temples on Mount Moriah over the course of history. The temple was a "shadow" or "copy" of the true dwelling place of God in heaven. (Hebrews 9) There was never any such thing as endowment ceremonies or rituals for the dead performed there, and such would have been blasphemy.

XXII. Satan
What Mormons mean:
A valiant human brother of Jesus and son of God the Father who turned against God in the pre-existence before creation. There was a war in heaven between spirits which you and I were involved in. Satan (the devil or Lucifer) persuaded one third of God's children to fight with him, and they became the demons.

What Satan means to Fundemental Christian Believers:
An angel, not a man, who wanted to be as god and so rebelled against God. (Isaiah 14) A third of the angels joined him. Angels are spiritual beings with free will, but are not human.

Written by Mark Champneys: 1994, 1995

A special note to evangelical Christians:
If you believe in missions, I urge you to contact Saints Alive to obtain literature and help in talking to your Mormon friends. I also urge you to support this important work with consistent prayer and also your financial gifts. From a planning standpoint, financial gifts are particularly helpful in the form of small, but regular, monthly amounts. You can reach them at:

Saints Alive / Ex-Mormons in Jesus

2034 6th Avenue, Suite 1

Tacoma, WA 98405

(206) 627-6537

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