Christians are often uncertain how their faith differs from another’s and are unable to say what those differences are. A common misunderstanding is that the way Christians understand God and the way Mormons do, are the same. However, this look at the central beliefs of Mormonism will prove this not to be the case. A basic guide to the differences between Christian beliefs and Mormons’ beliefs is outlined below. This should help us to share our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ better with Mormons.
Before you pray, prepare your heart
When we pray for people with a different viewpoint, we should always ask the Lord to stir our hearts with a passion to intercede for them so that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Pray that God will give you the gift of intercession and compassion to pray for those who are still in desperate need of the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ask for the church to be awakened to the urgency of the times and seasons, and that many would go into the harvest fields of the world, giving their lives for the sake of Christ to those living in darkness.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
Christian faith: Jesus Christ. Founded about AD 30–33, in the Judean province of Palestine (today Israel), under the Roman Empire. Followers of Jesus Christ became known as ‘Christians’.
Mormons: Joseph Smith, Jnr. (1805-1844), founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in 1830, in New York. Their headquarters now reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Christian faith: The Bible, written originally in Hebrew and Aramaic (Old Testament), and Greek (New Testament).
Mormons: The Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants; Pearl of Great Price; the Bible (King James Version only or Smith’s ‘Inspired Version’); authoritative teachings of Mormon prophets and other LDS ‘general authorities’. To Mormons, the Christian Bible, properly interpreted, is only a partial revelation.
Pray for Mormons to have a curiosity to read the entire New Testament of the Christian Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to open their eyes to the love and Person of the Lord Jesus as they read the Bible, and to come to a full revelation of God’s infinite divine love for them. (John 3:16; 1 John 1:5.
Christian faith: God is one, and God is Triune (one God in three Persons; not three gods): Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Often the title ‘God’ designates the first Person, God the Father. God is a spiritual being without a physical body. He is personal and is intimately involved with all people. He created the universe out of nothing. He is eternal, changeless, holy, loving and perfect.
Mormons: Mormons believe that God, the Father, was once a man, but that he ‘progressed’ to godhood. They believe that God has a physical body, as does his wife (Heavenly Mother). They do not believe in the Trinity at all. Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate gods. Worthy men may one day progress as well to become gods themselves. To them, God is no more than a glorified man.
Pray for Mormons to encounter God as a personal Heavenly Father (Luke 11:2), the Lord Jesus as a Friend (John 15:15), and the Holy Spirit as the Comforter (John 14:16). Ask for all scales of false truths to be removed from their eyes, and their ears to listen to and understand the truth of the whole gospel. Pray for them to have a true understanding of the Trinity.
Christian faith: Jesus is God, the second Person of the Trinity. As God, the Son, He has always existed and was never created. He is fully God and fully man (the two natures joined; not mixed). As the second Person of the Trinity, He is equal with God, the Father; and God, the Holy Spirit. In becoming man, He was begotten through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus is the only way to the Father, salvation and eternal life. He died on a cross, according to God’s plan, as the sacrifice and full payment for our sins. He rose from the dead on the third day, and is spiritually and physically immortal. Jesus will come again visibly and physically at the end of the world to establish God’s kingdom and judge the world.
Mormons: They see Jesus as a god separate from the Father (Elohim). To them, Jesus was created as a spirit child by the Father and Mother in Heaven, and is the ‘elder brother’ of all men and spirit beings. His body was created through sexual union between Elohim and Mary. They also believe that Jesus was married. To them, Jesus’ death on the cross does not provide full atonement for all sin, but does at least provide everyone with resurrection, and they believe that everyone will be resurrected.
Pray for Mormons to have a personal revelation of the divinity of Jesus, that He is fully God (Colossians 1:15), and that He is coming again at the end of the age (Revelation 20:6). Ask for all lies about the Lordship of Jesus and the salvation offered through Jesus’ price that He paid on the Cross to be removed through the truth of Scripture.
Christian faith: The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is a Person, not a force or an energy field. He comforts, grieves, reproves, convicts, guides, teaches and fills Christians. He is not the Father; nor is He the Son, Jesus Christ.
Mormons: The ‘holy spirit’ to Mormons is different from the Holy Spirit. Their understanding of the ‘holy spirit’ is that he is not God, but rather an influence or electricity-like emanation from God, or he can also be called the ‘light of Christ’.
Pray for Mormons to encounter the Holy Spirit as a Person, as a very present and living Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener and Standby (John 16:7, AMP). Ask for the conviction of the Holy Spirit to become a reality in their lives.
Christian faith: Salvation is by God’s grace, not through an individual’s good works. Salvation must be received by faith. People must believe in their hearts that Jesus died for their sins and rose again physically, which is the assurance of forgiveness and resurrection of the body. This is God’s loving plan to forgive sinful people.
Mormons: According to Mormon belief, resurrection is by grace, but one is saved (meaning that one is exalted to godhood) by works. Furthermore, salvation is only obtained through faithfulness to church leaders, Mormon baptism, tithing, ordination, marriage and secret temple rituals. They believe that no eternal life is possible without Mormon membership.
Pray John 3:16-1 for Mormons: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Pray for Mormons to be convicted by the truth that there is only one God, the Holy Spirit is God, the Father is God and Jesus is God. Pray, also, that they have a revelation of the Blood of Jesus that washes away their sin and purifies them so that they may stand righteous before God.
Christian faith: After death, believers go to heaven. All people await the final Judgment at the end of the age. Both saved and lost people will be resurrected. Those who were saved will live with God in a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1-2). Those who did not choose Christ are lost and will suffer the torment of eternal separation from God (in hell). Jesus’ bodily resurrection guarantees believers that they, too, will be resurrected and receive new immortal bodies.
Mormons: To Mormons, ultimately almost everyone goes to one of three separate heavenly ‘kingdoms’, with some achieving ‘godhood’ through their good deeds. Apostates and murderers go to ‘outer darkness’.
Pray for Mormons to ask questions about life, death and hell. Pray that the Holy Spirit will work in their hearts and minds. Ask that they would find a Christian Bible to read on these subjects.
Christian faith: After death, non-believers go to hell (a literal place, without any presence of God). After judgment (Revelation 20:12), all whose names are not found in the Book of Life will be cast in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). This is the second death (Revelation 21:8).
Mormons: Mormons believe there are 3 heavens: Telestial, terrestrial and celestial. They believe that everyone will be resurrected into one of these heavens. The heathen, who rejected the gospel and who are now suffering in hell, are awaiting the last resurrection, and will go to the first heaven. Christians and sincere people of all other religions, who rejected the revelations of the saints and the Mormon message, will find themselves in the second heaven. Mormons, of course, will inhabit the third heaven. Those who have been sealed by celestial marriage in a Mormon Temple on earth will inhabit the highest part. Others will have to progress through the sections until, at last, each one who becomes a god will, with his family, rule a separate planet. (Doctrine & Covenants, Section 130).
Pray for Mormons to seek the true meaning for themselves of the Hebrew and Greek translations of the words ‘death’ and ‘hell’. Ask for the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11). Ask for them to come to the understanding of the final judgment and the lake of fire as the second death for anyone whose name is not in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:10, 14-15).
Christian faith: Group worship, usually in churches. No secret rites. Baptism and Lord’s Supper (Communion). Active voluntary missionary efforts. Aid to those in need: the poor, widows, orphans, and downtrodden. Christians believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah promised to Israel in the Old Testament (Tenach). Jesus said His followers would be known by their love for one another.
Mormons: Mormons are forbidden to use any form of alcohol, tobacco, coffee or tea. Baptism may be performed on behalf of the dead and this forms one of their central beliefs. A two-year missionary commitment is encouraged, as well as door-to-door proselytizing. Secret temple rituals are available only to members in good standing.
Pray for God to send Christians to befriend Mormons, to share the gospel of Jesus, His love and divinity with them. Ask for the truth of everlasting life to become a reality for Mormons, and for their hearts to consider Christ as Saviour.
Christian faith: Christians celebrate Christmas (birth of Jesus), Passover (crucifixion of Jesus), the Resurrection of Christ and Pentecost (the Holy Spirit imparted to believers).
Mormons: Mormons regard Sunday as a day of rest and worship. Mondays are often reserved for ‘Family Home Evening’. Mormons only really celebrate two religious festivals: Easter and Christmas. An additional festival is Pioneer Day, on 24 July, which commemorates the arrival of the first Latter-day Saint pioneers in Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Another special day occurs on 6 April, the anniversary of the founding of the LDS church in New York in 1830. On 15 May, some Mormons celebrate the story of John the Baptist visiting Joseph Smith.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to cause Mormons to be curious about finding out how their faith differs from that of Christians on the subjects which are known to them. Pray, also, that their hearts would be open and receptive to hearing the gospel and receiving Jesus into their hearts as the Hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Pray for ministry workers to have hearts full of compassion, empathy, love and mercy for Mormons so that they truly desire to help Mormons to come to know the biblical Jesus.