Mitt Romney is in the news a whole lot these days. But besides being one of the frontrunners for the Republican nomination for President, he is also being scrutinized because of his beliefs. Romney is a Mormon. And I regularly hear someone say, “now Mormonism is the religion that believes…” Many Christians are confused if Mormons believe the same as Christians. Some people believe that Mormonism is an a denomination within Christianity. Others believe it is a cult.

Don Wilton, pastor of FBC Spartanburg, fell into some heat from his endorsement of Mitt Romney on October 23rd as seen in this article. Romney has recently made a speech concerning his personal beliefs because of all the confusion.

As the presidential election comes closer, I need to put a disclaimer up on this blog. As an employee of North Side Baptist Church, I will never say who to vote for or who not to vote for. I won’t even tell you who I am voting for, but I will urge you to vote. Especially you first-time voters, you better go register!  And I will urge you to really think through the issues at hand. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for because I think that is using a religious platform in a way that I don’t think is most beneficial. But I do want to challenge you. I want you to think through this question: Does the religious beliefs of the president really affect the country? Some will say that it doesn’t matter, others will definitely disagree. There have been presidents in the past in what I would think be the “right” denomination, but their lives didn’t back it up. Their orthopraxy couldn’t go as far as their orthodoxy.

In the last week, I’ve had many people ask me questions concerning the Mormon faith, and so I thought I would try to collect some beliefs.  You will have to decide what to do with it. My prayer is that this blog can help equip you with knowledge of the situation, and then the Holy Spirit will guide you to do with it what he desires. So, here are a list of some of their beliefs:

  • Historically, although Mormons consider themselves to be Christians, Mormonism has had an uneasy relationship with traditional Christianity, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and most branches of Protestantism. This is primarily due to the fact that adherents to Mormonism claim that the movement is a “restoration” of the earliest Christian and Judaic doctrines.
  • Mormons teach that the Gospel of Christ has existed since the days of Adam and Eve, and that throughout history a series of apostasies have occurred always followed by a restoration; meaning that the doctrine taught by the LDS church was on the Earth throughout history, but at some points was lost, and later restored again. Mormons teach that one such apostasy occurred after the death of Saint Peter and the other original twelve apostles, and that the calling of Joseph Smith, Jr. marked a new restoration continued to this day.
  • Mormons believe that only members of the LDS faith who have received special ordinances can enter the kingdom of (celestial) heaven.
  • The publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830, in Palmyra, New York, aroused great animosity among Protestants. Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon is holy scripture and as another testament of Jesus Christ, a companion to the Bible. Mormonism’s greatest conflict with other branches of Christianity has been over the issues of traditional views of Christ, additions to the scriptural canon and plural marriage (a form of polygamy, wherein a man can marry multiple wives). In fact, animosity to plural marriage was so great in the 19th century that for the only time in U.S. history, a law was passed nullifying a particular practice associated with a religion, in direct contravention of the first amendment.

What the Bible says about Jesus vs. what Mormonism says about Jesus:

The Bible
• He is the virgin-born Son of God, conceived by the Holy Ghost (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:34-35).

Mormonism
• 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).
• “When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten Him in His own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family (Adam)” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 50).
• Christ had a “unique status in the flesh as the offspring of a mortal mother and of an immortal or resurrected and glorified Father (Adam)” (James Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 473).

The Bible
• Satan is a created – and fallen – angel (Isaiah 14:12).

Mormonism
• “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).

The Bible
• Jesus did not marry.

Mormonism
• “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).

The Bible
• Jesus is the foundation of the true church (Matthew 16:18; Acts 4:11-12; Colossians 1:18).

Mormonism
• 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).

The Bible
• Jesus is the judge of all (John 5:22).

Mormonism
• “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).

The Bible
• Jesus is the one who resurrects all (John 5:28-29).

Mormonism
• 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).

The Bible
• 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).

Mormonism
• 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).

The Bible
• The Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost are two Biblical names for the same person.

Mormonism
• “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 Bible
• The Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost is God (Acts 5:3-4).

Mormonism
• “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:

The Bible
• Christ’s 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).

Mormonism
• 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).
• “Baptism … is for the remission of sins … (and) is 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
• The Bible teaches that at death, man’s eternal destiny is fixed in one of two places: heaven or hell (Luke 16:19-31).

Mormonism
• 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.

The Bible
• All men are sinners by nature and by volition (Romans 3:23, 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

Mormonism
• 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).

For some other interesting claims that aren’t normally discussed, you can go to this website.

 

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.