Christianity and Mormonism

Christianity and Mormonism

Over the last six months of meeting with Mormon missionaries I have actually learned a great deal about why I love Christianity! My Mormon friends tell me repeatedly that they don’t desire to convert me, but to lead me closer to Christ. In many ways, they have, as I now cherish the biblical truth of God’s nature, and His accomplishments for humanity much more. Our meetings have brought to the surface of my heart all the profound reasons why biblical Christianity is a superbly, magnificent belief system. And how astonishingly grateful I am to know it. To sum up just a bit of what I’ve learned, here are:

Five Reasons Christianity is More Compelling than Mormonism

*Mormons prefer the term LDS (Latter-Day Saints) and consider themselves to be Christians. However, to simplify this post I will be referring to biblical Christians (or non-Mormons) as Christians and Latter-Day Saints as Mormons since these are more common understandings of these terms for those outside of the Mormon church. No disrespect intended!

1)The God of Christianity is Oh! So Much Bigger than the Mormon god

Mormons teach that there are an infinite number of gods. Their famous apostle, Orson Pratt has stated that “If we should take a million worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more Gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds.” [1]

But the biblical God out shadows all these inferior ‘gods’ the Mormons believe in. The God of Christianity is in fact the One and Only Supreme Being. The One that reigns above all other so-called ‘gods’, who are actually false gods according to the bible. This is what the bible says about our One and Only Supreme God.

  • “Before me no God was formed, nor shall there be any after me” (Isaiah 43:10).
  • I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god” (Isaiah 44:6).
  • “Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:8).

How wonderful it is to know a God who isn’t just One of many gods, but reigns supremely over all!

2)In Biblical Christianity, Gifts Are Actually Gifts

Mormon teaching confuses gifts with rewards

My understanding of the biblical use of the word ‘Gift’ means much more after discussion with Mormons. The word ‘gift’ , in Mormonism, carries the same meaning as the word ‘reward.’ Though they believe that all except the worst of sinners are GIFTED ‘salvation’, they do not mean salvation in the traditional sense of the word. In Mormonism, the gift of salvation granted by Christ’s atonement only provides access to one of their the lower levels of heaven and/or the chance to work toward the Celestial Kingdom (their idea of the highest level of heaven). The lower levels of heaven are not places where God actually dwells, and no Mormon wants to go there, so the Mormon Christ actually doesn’t give us the best of his gifts at all.

In order to reach Celestial Glory where you dwell with God forever (well with many gods, as they believe) , one must work to prove themselves worthy.

In order to reach Celestial Glory a Mormon must:

  • sustain the church president
  • acknowledge Joseph Smith as a true prophet
  • marry another Mormon
  • undergo baptism by a priest with ‘proper’ authority
  • receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands
  • attend church regularly
  • follow the Word of Wisdom (including abstaining from coffee, tea and alcohol along with strict rules about what to eat and not eat)
  • live a righteous life (follow all the commandments)
  • repent when they break a command (REPENT = show sincere sorrow and never repeat the same sin again because “unto the soul that sinneth shall the former sins return”[2]
  • tithe consistently
  • ‘endure’ in all these things to the end

As you can see, Jesus’ words when He says “…the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Ro 6:23)” are utterly lost on Mormons.

In Christianity however, free actually means free!

Christians recognize that all who gain eternal life were given it as a free gift. They know that not one of their sin-tainted works contributed to their own eternal glory. Instead they acknowledge that eternal life (in the one and only true heaven where they will always be in God’s presence) is granted at the very moment one realizes that salvation is indeed free. Christ’s blood ALONE pays the FULL price for an eternity in God’s presence. What a beautiful and astonishing gift this is! Eternal life is totally free but so very hard for a Mormon, who refuses to give up on finding merit in his own works, to ever lay hold of.

3)The Righteousness of Christ is given to Christians

Mormon men and women believe that Christ is righteous. But they also believe that we must become righteous in order to obtain their highest level of heaven. I am someone deeply aware of my inability to EVER be righteous enough for God’s holy standard, so this would be awful news for me were it true! The older I get, the more I see how much I ‘miss the mark’ of perfection that Christ calls us to. In fact, there isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t observe a way in which I am selfish, unbelieving, discontent, or ungrateful.

For biblical Christians, the doctrine of imputed righteousness is an essential truth. It means that Christ has given His perfect righteousness to us once and for all time at the moment we first trusted Him!

When we trust in Christ, we receive a “Robe of Righteousness” (Is. 61:10) that is woven together by the Perfect Life and Works that Only He could perform, the Perfect Death that only He could die, and the Perfect Resurrection that only He accomplished.

White robe on the hanger in the bathroom

When a bible believing Christian stands before Christ on judgement day, he/she will be judged based on the work of Christ, not based on our own works.

Mormons, However, Must Strive for Righteousness of Their Own

When I meet with the Mormon missionaries I see the heavy cost of not trusting Christ’s work was enough. In this life, a Mormon is never certain if they are righteous enough and never sure they have eternal life. In eternity, this lack of trust will be even more costly. On judgement day, instead of hiding inside the Robe of Righteousness provided by Christ, every Mormon must scramble to prove that their works are worthy. That they have become righteous enough. But the God of the bible has already declared that “all (our) righteousness is as filthy rags in Isaiah 64:6” and could never be enough.

By attempting to attain righteousness through works of the law, Mormons deny His perfect life lived in our place. To deny Christ’s FULL work on our behalf is a gravely dangerous endeavor.

4) Biblical Christianity Has an Unchanging God

Mime with masks isolated on white background

My Mormon friends revel in the fact that they have “direct revelation from God” through modern day prophets, whom they trust implicitly. But when you weave together the teachings of all the prophets over time, you get an inconsistent message about who God is. Since their prophets claim to hear directly from God, it would seem God changes His mind an awful lot on things that are quite significant.

The Mormon God Can’t Make Up His Mind About Marriage

There are a few really big things the Mormon god has changed his mind on in the last couple hundred years. The first and most infamous of his fickle opinions would be his position on the purpose and nature of marriage. In Genesis, the Mormon god first created marriage for one man and one woman. Then He changed his mind and commanded men take multiple wives. In the New Testament, he changes his mind again and reinstated monogamy. And in less than two hundred years, he waffled on marriage three more times! First he approved traditional monogamous marriage when Joseph Smith first established Mormonism. Later he commanded polygamy be restored through Joseph Smith. And once again in 1980, he revealed to president William Woodruff that monogamy was best after all .

Side Note: Interestingly, Mormon leaders received the 1980 revelation from god shortly after the U.S.’ institution of new anti-polygamy laws. These laws came with serious consequences for polygamous Mormons. So it would seem their god only commands polygamous marriage when it doesn’t have too high a cost.

The Mormon God Can’t Make Up His Mind About Racism

The other glaring example of the Mormon god’s indecision is his position on black members in the church. From the start of Mormonism, he forbids blacks to participate in sacred temple rites. Being denied temple rites was severe. It essentially means that black people were banned from ever entering the highest level of Mormon heaven. Thankfully in 1978, their god changed his mind again and revealed to the current prophet that blacks were now acceptable. But how sad is it that he ever withheld heaven from people based on race?

The Mormon God Changes in Nature

One thing that even some Mormons don’t realize is that their church teaches that God was once a man. Their founding prophet, Joseph Smith said “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!” [3] Which means, the god they believe in changes not just his opinions on marriage, race, and ‘hot drinks’ (he revealed they were to be banned during Smith’s life) but his actual nature and being has apparently shifted as well.

The God of Christianity is and Always Has Been the Same

In contrast, the biblical God has always believed marriage to be one man, one woman. Throughout the entire biblical text He continues to unfold the beauty of why He created marriage this way. The Christian knows that, though polygamous marriages occurred in bible times, not a single scripture exists where God condones or commands it. Polygamy has always been frowned upon by the God of Christianity.

Additionally from the beginning of time, the biblical God gives all men and all races dignity, because they have been created in His image. He commands that no one be suppressed based on race (Ex 22:21, Jer 22:3, Zech 7:10). At the very start of creation, this same unchanging God invites all races to receive eternal life (Gen 12:3, Is 2:2, Ga 3:28). Certainly, the Christian Church has failed miserably and inexcusably in its treatment of other ethnicities. But unlike Mormon prophets who claim to receive direct revelation from God, we know that all our failings have been nothing short of utter depravity and man’s deep rooted sin. Oppression of people from any race has always been repugnant to the God of Christianity.

What’s more, a Christian can be confident in a powerful God who was never created, but has always existed. A God who did not simply rise from the sinful state of manhood, but who has always been sinless , perfect and therefore reliable.

The Christian can rest in the glorious truth that God is stable, constant, and certain. And that He has given us His full and perfect word, which will remain unchanged for all time.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6).

5)Christians Can Pray Freely

Young girl is holding hands together like praying.

Though Mormons claim to be Christ-centered, they don’t talk to Jesus. One leader, Elder Bruce McConkie, said “some misguided members of the Church may begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed with him. This is wrong.” [4] They instruct all their members to pray only to the Father. They must even use the Old English in their prayers (Thy, Thee, Thou). This is because they believe that the Old English somehow transformed into a spiritual language when it became outdated. While it was once common and non-spiritual, it now apparently has the special power to show deeper reverence, and God demands it be used. [4]

Thankfully for biblical Christians, the bible doesn’t forbid us from coming straight to Jesus.

Here are some examples of men in bible times praying directly to Jesus:

  • Stephen prayed to Jesus When He Was Being Stoned: “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Acts 7:59-60
  • Paul Said Those Who Call on Jesus are Saints: “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours” (1 Cor. 1:2).
  • John Ends the Bible with a Prayer to Jesus ““Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)

Jesus Himself said ““Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” Mtt 19:14. I am one of His children, and I love to come and crawl up in His lap and speak to Him! What a source of comfort it is to draw nearer to the amazing Person of Christ through prayer.

Christ granted us access to the Father and we treasure talking to Him. But speaking, at time, with our kind, affectionate and precious Savior is an extra blessing for His children.

Christianity also allows to speak to God as a friend. We don’t have to put on airs and speak a confusing dialect of the past when we talk to Him. He hears the very thoughts in our heads and knows the words before we form them (Ps 139:4)! And He has never given us scripture that tells us to speak to Him in a fancy language of any kind.

So now we see that the God of Christianity:

  • is infinite
  • gives us true gifts and the Ultimate Gift
  • offers us His own perfect righteousness
  • is unchanging
  • is personable, He welcomes us to speak to Him without formality

Whereas the Mormon god:

  • is one of millions
  • gives rewards but withholds the best gifts
  • commands we work for our righteousness (though the bible says we never can)
  • changes his mind frequently and under pressure
  • requires formal speech and denies access to Jesus

So I Just Have to Ask, which God would you trust with your life and eternity?

See Also- Christianity and Mormonism: Five Ways Christianity is More Compelling than Mormonism

[1]Pratt, Olson Journal of Discourses 1955 Vol. 2, 345 https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/JournalOfDiscourses3/id/1950

[2] D &C 82:7 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/82?lang=eng

[3] Smith, Joseph Journal, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, pp. 345–46.

[4] Spackman, Beth T. https://www.ldsliving.com/Why-Do-We-Pray-Using-Thee-and-Thou/s/75897

[4] Berteaux, Kelsey & Carly Springer | Sep. 10, 2016 Makes You Think LDS Living https://www.ldsliving.com/Why-Do-We-Pray-Using-Thee-and-Thou/s/75897

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