“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God.”
In our attempts to witness Biblical Truth in Love to our Mormon brothers and sisters, at some point in the process we must present the inerrant truths of the Bible as they contrast to Mormon doctrine. We believe the Bible to be the absolute final authority of every aspect of our lives, which includes our ability to decipher true teachings from the false.
The Apostle Paul made this very clear in his 2nd letter to Timothy.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
There are also many clear warnings in the New Testament which warn us about false teachers and extol us to avoid them. Quoting the Apostle Paul again, this time in his 2nd letter to the church at Corinth, Paul writes:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
Below are just a few of the main reasons we reject the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
What the Bible Teaches
What Mormonism Teaches
Who is God?
The one God is a Spirit who is the personal, eternal, infinite Creator of all that exists. He is the only God and necessary for all other things to exist. He exists eternally as a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (see Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6-8; Matt. 28:19; John 4:24; 17:3)
Based on the Bible, God is not and has never been a man (Num. 23:19; Hos. 11:9). He is a spirit (John 4:24), and a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Furthermore, God is eternal (Ps. 90:2; 102:27; Isa. 57:15; 1 Tim. 1:17) and immutable (or unchangeable in his being and perfections; see Ps. 102:25–27; Mal. 3:6). He did not “progress” toward godhood, but has always been God.
Mormons believe that humans, like God the Father, can go through a process of exaltation to godhood.
God (Heavenly Father) is an exalted man with a physical body of flesh and bone. Joseph Smith said, “If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible-I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345). The trinity is denied with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost seen as three separate entities. “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us” (Doctrine and Covenants [D&C] 130:22).
Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born God incarnate who existed for all time with the Father and Holy Spirit in the eternal Trinity. As a man He possessed two natures -human and divine, both man and God. He lived a sinless life and willingly died on the cross as a sacrifice for the sin of all humanity. (see John 1:1-18; 8:56-59; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:13-22; Heb.1:3; 13:8)
Biblically, the description of Jesus as the “only begotten” refers to his being the Father’s unique, one-of-a-kind Son for all eternity, with the same divine nature as the Father (see note on John 1:14; cf. John 1:18; 3:16, 18; see also John 5:18; 10:30). Moreover, he is eternal deity (John 1:1; 8:58) and is immutable (Heb. 1:10–12; 13:8), meaning he did not progress to deity but has always been God. And Mary’s conception of Jesus in his humanity was through a miracle of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20).
Jesus was the spiritual “first born” Son of God in the preexistence. “Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ, so he is literally our elder brother” (Gospel Principles [GP], p. 11).”And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn” (D&C 93:21). He is also the “only begotten” physical offspring of God by procreation on earth. “Jesus is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal father. That is why he is called the Only Begotten Son” (GP, p. 64). His atonement (death and resurrection) provides immortality for all people regardless of their faith. “Christ thus overcame physical death. Because of his atonement, everyone born on this earth will be resurrected.” . . This condition is called immortality. All people who ever lived will be resurrected, ‘both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous‘ (The Book of Mormon [BOM], Alma 11:44)” (GP, p. 74). (See GP, pp. 11, 17-19, 61-77.)
What is the Trinity?
Trusting in or worshiping more than one god is explicitly condemned throughout the Bible (e.g., Ex. 20:3). There is only one true God (Deut. 4:35, 39; 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:18; 46:9; 1 Cor. 8:4; James 2:19), who exists eternally in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).
Mormons believe that the Trinity consists not of three persons in one God but rather of three distinct gods. According to Mormonism, there are potentially many thousands of gods besides these.
What are the Holy Scriptures?
The Bible, including both the Old and New Testaments, is the unique, revealed, and inspired Word of God. It is the sole authority for faith and practice for Christians. (see 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21)
Mormons acknowledge four core books of scripture and therefore, as authoritative. These include the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith 1:8). Mormons deny the Bible wherever it conflicts with their 3 other books. Superior to the Bible, Mormons consider The Book of Mormon inerrant and the final authority to all scripture. Joseph Smith declared The Book of Mormon “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194).
The church also regards The Doctrine and Covenants as Scripture. It “is a collection of modern revelations . . . regarding The Church of Jesus Christ as it has been restored in these last days” (GP, p. 54).
The Pearl of the Great Price is the fourth book believed to be inspired.
“It clarifies doctrines and teachings that were lost from the Bible and gives added information concerning the creation of the earth” (GP, p. 54).
The church’s president is regarded as “a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet” (D&C 107:91-92).
Where Do We Come From?
Human beings are created in God’s image, and they have personal qualities similar to God’s. Every person is a unique, precious being of dignity and worth. (see Gen. 1:26-27)
The Bible teaches that the yearning to be godlike led to the fall of mankind (Gen. 3:4ff.). God does not look kindly on humans who pretend to attain to deity (Acts 12:21–23; contrast Acts 14:11–15). God desires humans to humbly recognize that they are his creatures (Gen. 2:7; 5:2; Ps. 95:6–7; 100:3). The state of the redeemed in eternity will be one of glorious immortality, but they will forever remain God’s creatures, adopted as his children (Rom. 8:14–30; 1 Cor. 15:42–57; Rev. 21:3–7). Believers will never become gods.
All people on Earth are the preexisted spiritual offspring of the Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. “All men and women are . . . literally the sons and daughters of Deity . . . Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal (physical) body” (Joseph F. Smith, “The Origin of Man,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, pp. 78,80, as quoted in GP, p. 11). They are born basically good and are “gods in embryo.”
A commonly quoted Mormon aphorism (attributed to fifth LDS president Lorenzo Snow) says “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.“
What is Salvation?
Salvation is release from the guilt and power of sin through God’s gift of grace. It is provided through Christ’s atonement and received by personal faith in Christ as Savior and Lord. (see Rom. 3:20; 10:9- 10; Eph. 2:8-10)
Jesus’ atonement provided immortality for all people. Exaltation (godhood) is available only to Mormons through obedience to LDS teachings: faith, baptism, endowments, celestial marriage, and tithing. “Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God-Wherefore, all things are theirs” (D&C, 76:58-59).
These are some of the blessings given to exalted people:
They will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see D&C, 76).
The men have the ability to become gods themselves.
They will have their righteous family members with them and will be able to have spirit children also. These spirit children will have the same relationship to them as we do to our Heavenly Father. They will be an eternal family.
They will receive a fullness of joy.
They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have – all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge (See GP, p. 302).
Baptism for the dead provides post-mortem salvation for non-Mormons, and is “by immersion performed by a living person for one who is dead. This ordinance is performed in temples” (GP, p. 375). (See also GP, chapters 18-23.)
Where Do We Go When We Die?
Eternal life in heaven with God for those who have trusted in Jesus Christ. Eternal separation from God’s presence in hell for the unsaved. (see Matt. 5:12-30; 25:41; Rev. 20-22)
Mormons view Heaven as having three levels:
1. Exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom for faithful Mormons where people may become gods or angels; “Then shall they be gods” (D&C 132:20).
2. Terrestrial Kingdom for righteous non-Mormons; “These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fullness” (D&C 76:75-76).
3. Telestial Kingdom for wicked and ungodly (not hell); “These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers . . . who suffer the wrath of God on earth“(D&C 76:103-104). (See also D&C 76:57-119; 131:1-4.)
What is God’s Grace?
The Bible teaches that we are saved by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone. Biblical grace is not something anyone can earn, nor anything any of us deserve. Biblical Grace is a free gift from God that we accept when we believe in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)
Mormons teach that a man or woman is “saved by grace, after all that you can do” 2 Nephi 25:23. In other words, after you have done all that you can do (works), Jesus refinances the rest so you can work it off in one of their levels of heaven (see Miracle of Forgiveness S.W. Kimball Pg. 208.)