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Mormon Church

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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This entry provides a brief look at the Mormon Church. For in-depth information we refer you to our collection of research resources.

About this page            Color Key
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A Cult of Christianity

The Mormon Church - officially, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint - considers itself not just a Christian denomination, but rather the only true expression of Christianity.

However, the history, theology and practices of Mormonism show this religious movement to be outside of orthodox Christianity.

Mormons believe that their church is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth" (D&C 1:30), the only organization authorized by the Almighty to preach his gospel and administer the ordinances of salvation, the only Church which has power to save" (Mormon Doctrine; 1977 ed, p. 136).

Mormons either deny of pervert every essential doctrine of historic Christianity, including the uniqueness of God, the virgin birth, the Trinity, the authority of Scripture (by relegating it to a position below their other sacred writings), and salvation by grace through faith.
Source: Charts of Cults, Sects, & Religious Movements by H. Wayne House, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2000, page 58.

Individuals who, while claiming to be Christians, reject one of more central (key) doctrines of the Christian faith are considered heretics. Groups which reject such doctrines while claiming to represent Christianity, are considered cults of Christianity.

Sociologically, the Mormon Church also has a number of cult-like characteristics -- particularly in that the Church tends to exert a high level of control over its members.

A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.

Thus, while Mormons profess to be Christians, they are outside orthodox Christianity and the Mormon Church is considered to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity.

Differences Between Biblical Christianity and Mormonism

Talk given by Ron Rhodes in March of 2010 at the Capstone Conference held at Calvary Chapel Salt Lake City:

Various genuine Christian denomonations have made statements regarding the fact that the Mormon Church does not fit within the historical, biblical boundaries of the Christian faith. See, for example, these news reports:

Delegates to the United Methodists' national convention meeting in Cleveland on Wednesday said the LDS Church "does not fit within the bounds of the historic, apostolic tradition of Christian faith," and that Mormons who convert to Methodism need to be re-baptized.

The convention approved a study document written by two Salt Lake City ministers, the Rev. Brian Hare-Diggs of First United Methodist Church and the Rev. Jennifer Hare-Diggs of Centenary United Methodist Church.

The nine-page paper, passed by the Methodist General Conference without floor discussion, spells out theological differences between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the United Methodist Church.

It says Mormonism has "some radically differing doctrine on such matters of belief as the nature and being of God; the nature, origin, and purpose of Jesus Christ; and the nature and way of salvation."

The Methodists said Mormonism incorporates a "gendered, married and procreating god" with "a body of flesh and bones," and has a theology that "more closely resembles a tri-theistic or possibly a polytheistic faith" than monotheism -- worship of the one God.

The Methodists also objected that "the Jesus of Mormonism is not co-eternal with the Father and of one substance with the Father" and that Mormons add other scriptures to the Bible.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) and Southern Baptist Convention have issued similar assessments of Mormon doctrine.
Source: Methodists Say LDS Doctrine Not Christian, Salt Lake Tribune, May 11, 2000

The Roman Catholic Church declared Thursday that Mormon converts must be rebaptized, a setback to the Mormon Church's effort to characterize itself as a Christian denomination.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith declared that baptisms in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are "not the baptism that Christ instituted."

The ruling was a departure from the Catholic Church's usual practice of recognizing the baptisms of converts from most other churches. The Vatican held that the Mormon view of the nature of God was too different from Catholicism's.

It was the second time in as many years that a major Christian church had ruled that Mormon converts must be rebaptized. Last year, the United Methodist Church, the nation's second-largest Protestant denomination, took a similar stand.

Dan Wotherspoon, editor of Sunstone Magazine, an independent journal of Mormon life and issues published in Salt Lake City, said, "Clearly, the LDS church still has their work cut out for them in this effort to be known as a Christian church."

In Salt Lake City, Latter-day Saints spokesmen sought to minimize the importance of the Catholic decision, or its possible effect on efforts by the church to present itself as a Christian church.

In Rome, the Vatican congregation indicated that radically different theological views of God and Jesus Christ necessitated the rebaptism of Mormon converts.

The congregation said that the Catholic Church could not accept Mormon belief that "God the father had a wife, the Celestial Mother, with whom he procreated Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit."
Source: Vatican Will Not Accept Mormon Baptisms, Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2001

It should be noted that while the claims of Mormonism must be firmly rejected, Christians should reach out to Mormons with the "gentleness and respect" 1 Peter 3:15 calls for, "in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth..." (2 Tim. 2:25

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About This Page:

• Subject: Mormon Church
• First posted: Nov. 19, 1996
• Last Updated: Aug. 9, 2004
• Editor: Anton Hein
• Copyright: Apologetics Index

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