Mormonism: A Few Simple Comparisons
By Ed Decker
"Some people even in this day of education and enlightenment profess to believe that the Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) do not believe in Christ, but rather in some mystical theology based on a belief in Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, or Mormon. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known informally by the nickname Mormons) believe the Bible. Indeed, so literally and completely do their beliefs and practices conform to the teachings of the Bible that it is not uncommon to hear informed persons say: ëIf all men believed the Bible, all would be Mormons.' Bible doctrine is Mormon doctrine, and Mormon doctrine is Bible doctrine. They are one and the same."
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
- Galatians 1:8-9
"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him...For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
- 2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15
It is easy enough to claim that the gospel you preach and the doctrines you practice are the same as the Bible's. Since anyone, even an angel, who claimed otherwise would be accursed, it would be foolish to say you don't if you want to maintain an appearance of being Christian. So, to determine if the Mormon church really does teach as the Bible teaches, we'd like to compare the teachings of each on a number of key topics. In order to be fair, we will use only Mormon-published materials, primarily pamphlets, as our source for their positions. We invite you to check for yourself to see if we are presenting both positions accurately and fairlyóreferences are given after each topic, with the abbreviations explained at the end of this pamphlet. Before we begin, we'd like to make clear that this is not intended to be a complete listing of Mormon and/or Bible doctrines, nor do we give a complete list of references for any one topic.
The Bible has been corrupted by errors of translation and transmission, as well as by deliberate action. (WMT; CJS; 1 Nephi 13:26-29, BOM)
The true Church was lost and needed restoring. (WMT; WCR; CJC; FAR)
Church system is based upon a priesthood succession passed on from man to man. (CJS; BES)
Jesus Christ and the Heavenly Father appeared in secret to Joseph Smith in the woods. (CJC; FAR; JS 2:17 PGP)
God, our Heavenly Father, is an exalted man of flesh and bone. (CJS; D7C 130:22)
Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ the Son are two distinct physical beings. (CJS)
The Holy Ghost is a third, distinct, spirit being; different also in function and identity from the Holy Spirit. (CJS)
Mankind existed in a premortal life with Heavenly Father, being first a spiritual, then a natural being. (WMT; CJS; POL)
All men are literally sons of God, born to him in the pre-existence. (CJS; POL)
All men will have immortality and resurrection through Christ's deathóbut thatís all His death accomplished. (WMT; CJS; POL)
Jesus is the literal son of God, conceived as we were, but of an immortal Father.(WMT)
Jesus, a created being born to God, created the world and universe, after the pre-mortal life of man began. (WMT; POL)
Jesus is mankind's elder brother, firstborn spirit child of our Heavenly Father, and by inference, spirit-brother to Lucifer and his demons. (WMT; POL)
"As man is, God once was..."
The words of God and of Jesus cannot wither, fade, fall or pass away; this the Bibleóthe Word of Godócannot be corrupted. (Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35; Luke 21:33, 1 Peter 1:23-25)
The true Church is unshakable, indestructible, bringing glory to Christ in all ages. (Isaiah 51:6-8; Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:21; 5:38-39; Ephesians 3:20-21; Hebrews 10:23; 12:28)
Church system based on direct, individual personal relationship with Christ, with all who have this relationship being members and priests themselves. (John 1:12; 6:37-40; 14:20; Matthew 28:18; Acts 4:7-12)
Since His coming would be obvious to all, Jesus warned us not to believe those who claimed to see Him in secret. (Zechariah 14:4; Matthew 24:23-27; Luke 17:23-24; 21:8; Mark 13:21-22; Rev.1:7)
God is a Spirit, able to dwell in men. (Matthew 16:17; John 4:24; 14:23; Luke 24:39)
The Father and the Son are distinct Persons, and yet are one God. (Isaiah 9:6; John 5:17-18; 14:9-11)
The Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit are two names for the same Being (the same Greek word, pneuma, is translated both ways), who is also one of the three Persons of the one God (Isaiah 6:9-10 [compare with Acts 28:25-26]; Isaiah 48:14-17; Luke 1:35; Acts 5:3-4; Hebrews 10 :15-17)
Humanity is first natural, then potentially spiritual, having no premortal life. Of all men, only Jesus ever pre-existed. (1 Corinthians 15:46; Hebrews 2:9-10)
Only those who receive Christ are children of God. (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 1:3-6; Galatians 3:26; 1 John 5:1)
Christ's death and resurrection accomplished much more than just immortalityóbut only for those who receive Him as Lord. (Acts 10:43; Romans 5:6-9; 8:16-17; Ephesians 1:7-8; 1 John 5:11-13)
Jesus is and always was the literal Almighty God; (Isaiah 7 :14; Luke 5:20-24; John 1:1, 14; 8:58; 10:30-33; Hebrews 1:8)
Jesus, Himself uncreated, created all things physical and spiritual before creating man upon the earth. (Isaiah 45:12; John 1:1-2, 10; 17:5; Hebrews 1:12; 13:8)
Jesus is the firstborn in relation to position and pre-eminence, not origin, and created Lucifer and all the angels who later fell. (Psalms 89:27; John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-18)
God does not change, and has never been anything other than He is nowóHe specifically has never been a man. (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hosea 11:9; Romans 1:21-23)
There can be no other God besides God, either past, present or future. (Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6-8; 45:5-6, 18, 21-23; James 2:19; 1 Tim.2:5; Isaiah 14:12-15; Genesis 3:5)
"...as God is, man can become." (Well-known quote by Lorenzo Snow, former Mormon prophet, found in many Mormon writings)
One's personal salvation and exaltation is conditioned upon his works and obedience to the teachings of the Mormon church, with the highest exaltation going to those who are most faithful. (WMT; POL; ABW)
Few will be cast into the lake of fire with the Devil and his angels, since nearly all men will gain some lesser or greater degree of heavenly kingdom, based on their good works. (WMT; CJS; D&C 76)
One's personal salvation and exaltation is conditioned solely upon his trust in Christóhis own efforts are worse than useless. NOTE: Biblical Christianity is the only faith to teach this. (John 3:18, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 8:24; Romans 3:10-23; 5:1; 10:9-13)
Only those who trust in Christ will gain entrance into any heaven, based on that trust. "Almost" doesn't count.! All others will be cast into the lake of fire as a result of trusting in their own good works. (John 14:6; Galatians 2:16, 21; 3:8, 21, 24; Revelation 20:4-6, 10-15; 21:18)
It should be fairly clear that Mormonism teaches another God, another Jesus, another Spirit, another salvationóin short, another Gospelófrom that of the Bible. The conclusion we have reached because of that isn't too hard to guess! We can bear our own record (or testimony) as did the apostle John many years ago:
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." - 1 John 5:11-12
You really need to decide for yourself whether you have the Son Himself, or merely a church that uses His name, or perhaps nothing involved with Him at all. Anything other than having the Son Himself means you do not have eternal life. You can have the Son Himself by turning from your sins and trusting in Him and Him alone. He can be truly yours, regardless of who you are, what you've done, or what church you belong to (or don't belong to, for that matter). Please contact us if you'd like more information as to how to receive Jesus Christ into your life. We honestly welcome your response, positive or negative.
- J. Steven Smith
KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS ON MORMON MATERIAL
(Numbers indicate page & paragraph numbers unless indicated)
WMT - What the Mormons Think of Christ, pamphlet published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (henceforth called the LDS church), July 1976.
CJS - Contributions of Joseph Smith, pamphlet written by Stephen L. Richards (an LDS official), printed by Deseret Press (an official LDS printing company), May 1973. Back side of cover.
BOM - Book of Mormon, one of the works considered to be scripture by the LDS church, translated by Joseph Smith. Printed by the LDS church, 1977 edition. Numbering by book, chapter and verse.
WCR - Which Church is Right?, pamphlet published by the LDS church, originally in 1974; we used the April 1976 reprint.
CJC - The Church as Organized by Christ, pamphlet published by the LDS church, April 1976.
FAR - The Falling Away and Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ Foretold, pamphlet published by the LDS church, November 1975.
BES - Is Baptism Essential to Salvation?, pamphlet printed by Deseret News Press (another official LDS printing company), May 1971.
D&C - Doctrines and Covenants, another of the works considered to be scripture by the LDS church. Published by the LDS church, 1977 ed.
POL - The Purpose of Life, pamphlet published by the LDS church, May 1975.
ABW - After Baptism, What?, pamphlet published by the LDS church, April, 1970.
PGP - The Pearl of Great Price, another of the works considered scripture by the LDS church. This reference is to one of the sections of that book, called Joseph Smith 2. Published by the LDS church, 1977 ed. Numbering same as BOM above.
TO THE MORMON
This information has been given to you in love. We can assure you that it is accurate and honest. The programs, and certainly the people of the LDS church are good. However, you can have the greatest organization, and a sincere faithóbut if that organization directs your faith to a "god" who is not the one and only true God of the Bible, but rather to a false god who cannot saveóthen after your own death, that organization and faith will amount to nothing.
Take up the challenge! Dare to question and become a genuine seeker after truth. Were you given information on the "meat" of Mormonism, which we have outlined here, during the missionary lessons before you joined the church? Were you asked to make an eternal decision, based on incomplete and inaccurate information? WE URGE YOU to call out to the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to reveal Himself to you - and to ask the One True Jesus to apply His sacrifice on the cross to your sins personally! There is no other God and no other way! Write to us! We will give you all the information available.
HOW YOU CAN BE A CHRISTIAN
Any person, right where he or she is, can have a personal relationship with the living God of the universe through Jesus Christ, and the assurance of eternal life, through prayer to the REAL God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of the Bible.
1) Admit that (on your own) you are separated from God by sin, unable to save yourself (Romans 3:23, Isaiah 64:6)
2) Be willing to turn from your sin (repent) and to let Him change your life. (Acts 26:20).
3) Believe that REAL Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty of your personal sins and will take them away (Romans 5:8-9); and that He rose again from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). Accept this in faith as a free gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
4) Invite Jesus Christ into your life to be your personal Lord and Savior (Revelation 3:20; John 1:12; 1 John 5:11-13)
5.) Read God's Word (the Bible) daily and allow Him to take over the management of your life (Romans 12:1-2). Let His Holy Spirit fill you and lead your daily. Seek out a Christian church of Believers who stand on God's Word and it alone!