Christian Statements on the Mormon Church
The Bible vs. Mormon Beliefs
By ROB PHILLIPS
LifeWay Christian Resources
November 15, 2007
Editors note: In response to a letter to the editor
from Sandra Tanner, director of Utah Lighthouse Ministry
(www.utlm.org), two minor corrections were made to this article and are
reflected in the version that follows. A great-great granddaughter of
Brigham Young (second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints), Tanner converted to Christianity as a teenager and
is a recognized expert in Mormonism.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.What the Bible says about Jesus vs. what Mormonism says about Jesus:
He is the virgin-born Son of God, conceived by the Holy Ghost (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:34-35).
Jesus "was born in the same personal, real and
literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father." (Bruce
R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 547, 742)
"Let it not be forgotten, that He is essentially
greater than any and all others, by reason (1) of His seniority as the
oldest or first born; (2) of His unique status in the flesh as the
offspring of a mortal mother and of an immortal, or resurrected and
" (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 426).
Satan is a created - and fallen - angel (Isaiah 14:12).
"Lucifer - this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately
tried to become the Savior of mankind." (Milton R. Hunter of the First
Council of Seventy, The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15)
Jesus did not marry.
"Jesus was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana -
We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into relation
whereby he could see his seed." (Orson Hyde, apostle, Journal of
Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 82)
Jesus is the foundation of the true church (Matthew 16:18; Acts 4:11-12; Colossians 1:18).
Joseph Smith: "I have more to boast of than ever any
man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole
church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole
have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. The
followers of Jesus ran away from Him, but the Latter-day Saints never
ran away from me yet." (History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 408-9)
Jesus is the judge of all (John 5:22).
"No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter
into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith
Every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, Junior,
as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ
are." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 289)
Jesus is the one who resurrects all (John 5:28-29).
Joseph Smith will receive the keys of the
resurrection. "If we ask who will stand at the head of the resurrection
in this last dispensation, the answer is - Joseph Smith, Junior, the
Prophet of God. He is the man who will be resurrected and receive the
keys of the resurrection, and he will seal this authority upon others,
and they will hunt up their friends and resurrect them." (Brigham
Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 116).
Jesus is the eternal Son of God, the Creator,
co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit (John 1:1-14;
Colossians 1:15-20; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:1-13).
A "council of the Gods" created the world. "In the
beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they
came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it
In all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity,
it has been the plurality of Gods." (Joseph Smith, History of the
Church, Vol. 6, pp. 308, 474).
What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit vs. what Mormonism says about the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the triune Godhead (Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19-20).
Joseph Smith taught that the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit "constitute three distinct personages and three Gods."
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370)
The Holy Spirit is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son (Acts 5:1-11).
The Father has a body of flesh and bones. So does the
Son. But the Holy Ghost is "a personage of spirit." (Doctrines and
The Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost are two Biblical names for the same person.
"The Holy Ghost
is a personage distinct from the
Holy Spirit. As a personage, the Holy Ghost cannot any more than the
Father and the Son be everywhere present in person." (John A. Widtsoe,
Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 76).
The Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost is God (Acts 5:3-4).
"The Holy Ghost is yet a spiritual body and waiting
to take to himself a body as the Saviour did or as the gods before them
took bodies." (Joseph Smith, April 6, 1843; see Discourses on the Holy
Ghost compiled by N.B. Lundwall, p. 73)
What the Bible says about the Gospel of Jesus Christ vs. what Mormonism says about the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
Christs death at Calvary paid our sin debt and
purchased our salvation so that everlasting life is received by grace
through faith in the Person and work of Jesus (John 3:16, 5:24; Romans
4:4-5; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
Jesus death, burial and resurrection made it
possible for mankind to be resurrected, but "men will be punished for
their own sins." (Article of Faith #2 by Joseph Smith). Through the
atonement of Christ "all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws
and ordinances of the gospel." (Article of Faith #3 by Joseph Smith)
"There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 670)
is for the remission of sins
the gate to the celestial kingdom of heaven." (Bruce McConkie, Mormon
Doctrine, p. 70)
There is "no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith
No man can eject that testimony without accepting most dreadful
consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (Joseph Fielding
Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 188)
The Bible teaches that at death, mans eternal destiny is fixed in one of two places: heaven or hell (Luke 16:19-31).
Virtually all men are saved in "General Salvation
meaning resurrection." (Contributions of Joseph Smith by Stephen L.
Richards, p. 5)
Then, based on works, all men will spend eternity in
one of three levels of heaven - telestial, terrestrial or celestial. A
few "sons of perdition" will not be saved/resurrected.
All men are sinners by nature and by volition (Romans 3:23, 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
There is no such thing as original sin. All men are
gods in embryo. "God and man are of the same race, differing only in
their degrees of advancement." (Apostle John Widtsoe, Rational
Theology, p. 61)
There is no second chance for salvation after death (Hebrews 9:27).
Mormons may be baptized on behalf of the dead for
their salvation. "If a man cannot enter the kingdom of God without
baptism, then the dead must be baptized." (Joseph Fielding Smith,
Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. II, p. 141)
Once a person is justified, his or her salvation is
eternally secure, based on the finished work of Christ at Calvary and
the faithfulness of God (John 5:24, 10:27-30; Romans 4:21, 8:28-39;
Hebrews 7:25, 10:14; 1 Peter 1:1-5).
Believers must do works to earn a level of heaven and
risk losing their position in that heaven if they are not faithful in
service. For example, failure to marry in an LDS church will "damn"
persons so that their eternal progression will be stopped short of
godhood. (See Doctrine and Covenants 132:16-20)
Each individual is a unique created person whose
beginning came at the moment of conception; after death, that person
retains his or her personhood and spends eternity in heaven or hell.
Each individual has four stages of life (eternal
progression): 1. Eternally existing intelligence. 2. Pre-mortal spirit
born by procreation of God and one of his wives. 3. Mortal probation
(present life on earth). 4. Post-mortal status that depends on works
done in this life. Eternity is spent in one of three heavens: telestial
(everyone makes it at least this far); terrestrial (good and religious
folk make it here); and celestial (only Mormons who have fulfilled the
requirements for godhood make it here).
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