Is the Mormon Religion a Christian Religion?

From the publications of Utah Missions, Inc (an Evangelical mission to Mormons). UMI's purpose is to publish information relating to the Mormon church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the LDS church), so that Christians can gain a more accurate understanding of Mormonism. We seek to glorify God the Son by thus enabling Christians to be both "inoculated" against the Mormon missionary program, and better armed as witnesses for the Lord Jesus to members of the Mormon church.

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The following articles cover Mormon teachings about the nature of God, the exaltation to Godhood, and the Virgin Birth.

For more on Mormonism from a Catholic perspective, see the FidoNet RCatholic Discussion/Debate with the moderator of Fido Mormon Tom Huber titled DIALOGUE WITH A MORMON

Questioning Mormons' Answers

"It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance." (Doctrine & Covenants 131:6)

The doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are generally at variance with those of orthodox Christianity. This is especially true of the LDS doctrine of God. The LDS doctrine of God was best stated by Joseph Smith when he said,

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 345)

This statement has two major problems with it aside from biblical considerations. The first question that is raised is whether something that is finite can become infinite by the addition of finite increments. The other question is if God is or can be an independent being according to LDS theology. The answer to both of these questions must be in the negative if a thinking LDS adherent is answering them.

The LDS God is a very manageable God by the standards of most religions. He is just an ordinary guy who worked hard to get where he is right now. He started out just like we did and worked his way to perfection, at which point he became God. He is not an infinite God and is not an eternal God. Since the LDS God began at a point in time, before which he was not God, he cannot be said to be an eternal God. Since, at some point in time, the LDS God was imperfect and limited in knowledge, power, and ability he cannot now have these attributes in infinite quantities. He started at a point in time and has been working to get better all the time but he cannot be infinitely perfect. He has been extending his knowledge and power but he cannot be omniscient or omnipotent because he has only been adding more to the finite amount that he already had at the beginning of his quest for exaltation.

Neither is the LDS God independent from his own universe. According to D & C 130:22, "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's...." He is bound by it for, if he could destroy the matter that made up his body, he could destroy himself. He is bound by something that is completely independent of himself. The LDS God is dependent on matter in order to be able to exist because even his own "spirit" is composed of matter if LDS scriptures are to be taken seriously (D & C 131:7).

The God who proclaims himself through the Bible is quite a different being. He could have created the LDS God. "There is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them" is true but it cannot apply to the God of Mormonism for he is finite, temporal, changeable, and a part of creation, not the true creator himself (D & C 20:17). The God of the Bible, on the other hand, is infinite and eternal (Jeremiah 23:23-24; Isaiah 44:6,24; 46:8-10; Psalm 90:2; 93:2). Let us come and bow down before him because he is exalted -- not because of what he merited because of who He Is. -- Shane Griswold

(Shane Griswold is a former UMI intern and national merit scholar at the University of Oklahoma.)

Mormonism Has a False God

According to the LDS church, God the Father is a tangible, physical being. Official Mormon scripture says,

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's" (Doctrine & Covenants 130:22).

According to apostle Bruce R. McConkie,

"he is a personal Being, a holy and exalted Man, a glorified, resurrected Personage having a tangible body of flesh and bones" (Mormon Doctrine, pg 250).

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism declares that

"Latter-day Saints deny the abstract nature of God the Father and affirm that he is a concrete being, that he possesses a physical body" (Vol 2, GOD THE FATHER).

It is self-evident that such a God can only be in one place at a time. A physical body by definition is not omnipresent; it is bound to itself, and can only be in the single location it currently occu- pies. This is also part of LDS doctrine. Elder McConkie wrote that each of the three gods in the Godhead, one of whom is the Father, "is and can be in but one place at one time" (Mormon Doctrine, pg 319).

And another Mormon apostle, James E. Talmage, said,

"It has been said, therefore, that God is everywhere present; but this does not mean that the actual person of any one member of the Godhead can be physically present in more than one place at one time....If God possesses a form, that form is of necessity of definite proportions and therefore of limited extension in space. It is impossible for Him to occupy at one time more than one space of such limits" (Articles of Faith, pg 42, 43).

As with a great deal of LDS doctrine, this gets us into trouble if the Bible is accurate (the evidence clearly shows that the Bible is accurate, and highly reliable). According to the Old Testament, God resided in a very specific location:

"So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims" (I Sam 4:4).

"And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims" (II Sam 6:2).

"And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath- jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims" (I Chron 13:6).

The "cherubims" these passages refer to were the twin cherubim on the mercy seat, which was the lid of the ark of the covenant in the Israelite tabernacle and temple. This lid measured 2.5 cubits by 1.5 cubits. A cubit was approximately 18 inches long, so in our measurements the mercy seat was 3'9" by 2'3".

And the Bible says this is where God dwelt. If God is in fact a tangible being, an exalted man with a physical body, He must have been very cramped. These measurements might do for a baby's crib, but a full-grown man could hardly be comfortable in such a small space. And this wasn't a temporary thing; God didn't visit only occasionally. The Bible says He dwelt between the cherubim, which indicates a permanent residence.

Mormons may try to get around this problem by pointing out that it was "the LORD" who dwelt between the cherubim. In LDS theology the LORD is not God the Father, but the pre-incarnate Jesus, who at that time didn't possess a tangible body. But this doesn't work, for Mormon doctrine also says that He did possess a spiritual body -- a body composed of "spirit" -- which had the same dimensions as His mortal body. And whether one's body is spirit or flesh, being confined to a space as small as the mercy seat -- and further cramped by the outstretched cherubim -- would be an uncomfortable experience. It simply isn't a credible scenario.

Furthermore, the last verse I quoted above, I Chronicles 13:6, speaks of "God the LORD." God in the Old Testament translates the Hebrew word we write as Elohim. And Elohim is, according to the LDS church, God the Father. Thus, the Bible is saying that the LORD is Elohim -- in LDS theology, that Jesus is the Father. This not only wrecks the theory that since Jesus dwelt between the cherubim the Father's tangible body wasn't involved, it also plays hob with the LDS idea that the Father and Son are two separate and distinct gods.

Of course, the Mormon view of the matter is not true. With overwhelming evidence in favor of the Bible being accurate, complete, and reliable, we can safely believe what it says. And that being the case, we can use it to test claims of doctrinal truth. And when doctrine conflicts with the Bible, as is the case here, we can be assured that the Bible is right, and the doctrine which conflicts is wrong.

Thus, Mormonism's whole view of God is false. -- Robert McKay

The Oldest Lie in the World

There are some lies which have become proverbial. We all recognize the cliches "The check's in the mail" and "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." But it isn't often that an entire religion is built on a blatant lie, and it's even less often that this religion becomes a force to be reckoned with and even gains acceptance as a Christian denomination.

Yet Mormonism is both founded on a lie, and is seemingly impregnable. No matter what anyone says or does, inside the church or outside, Mormonism rolls merrily on, without any serious damage to its squeaky-clean image. Whether it's the Hofmann affair, or the discovery that the Book of Abraham is a fraud, or the absolute absence of revelation from the LDS church, Mormonism is seemingly impervious to truth.

And yet it is founded on the oldest lie in the world. In the Garden of Eden Satan told Eve, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:4,5). There can be no doubt that this is a lie, for Adam and Eve did indeed die spiritually the very day they ate the forbidden fruit, their relationship with God severed until He took action to restore it. They also died physically, and they passed spiritual and physical death down to all their descendants. We also know that Satan lied in what he said because of Jesus' declaration:

"Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44).

Mormonism's goal is exactly what Satan, lying, promised to Adam and Eve -- godhood. There are many expressions of this in LDS doctrinal writings, but the clearest statement came from the pen of apostle Bruce R. McConkie, who said,

"That exaltation which the saints of all ages have so devoutly sought is godhood itself" (Mormon Doctrine, pg 321).

If Satan is a liar, and Adam and Eve's experience and the Biblical record show that he lied in promising godhood to them, then we must believe that the LDS church's promise of godhood is equally false. And this is reinforced by Mormonism's attitude toward Adam's disobedience -- instead of agreeing with the Bible that Adam sinned, the LDS church believes that Adam did the right thing. And that is exactly what Satan said such disobedience would be. -- Robert McKay

The LDS Church and the Virgin Birth of Jesus

By the time this article is read Christmas will more than likely have come and gone. During the Christmas season UMI had some questions about what the LDS Church really teaches about the virgin birth of Jesus. On the surface they appear to be orthodox by using the term "virgin birth." Instead of a lot of explanation I thought I would just let LDS leaders speak for themselves.

"Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!" (President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol 1, pg 18).

"The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood -- begotten of his Father, as we were by our fathers." -- President Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol 8, pg 115).

"These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers." (LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pg 546).

"There is nothing figurative or hidden or beyond comprehension in our Lord's coming into mortality. He is the Son of God in the same sense and way we are the sons of mortal fathers. It is just that simple." (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, pg 468).

"Therefore, the Father and the Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father . . . But God having created all men and women, had the most perfect right to do with His own creation, according to His holy will and pleasure: He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another . . ." (LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, pg 158).

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense. The Body in which he performed His ministry in the flesh was sired by the same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost." (President Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg 7).

It is clear from the above Mormon prophets and apostles that the LDS church's teachings on the virgin birth of Jesus differ greatly from the biblical Christian teaching. This is just one more point to show that Mormonism is not Christian. -- Michael H. Reynolds

Lucifer: Mormonism's Teacher

Let me begin by making it absolutely clear that Mormons do not worship Satan. Mormonism is as opposed to devil-worship as Christianity is, even though Mormonism has not only a different God, but a different devil as well. To say or imply that Mormonism is some sort of Satanism is to claim that which is simply not true. However, the fact remains that a key piece of LDS theology comes right out of the life and words of the devil himself. Most Mormons aren't aware of this, and would be sincerely shocked if you told them. And the few Mormons who are aware of this quite possibly would believe, as one Mormon told me, that Satan happened to tell the truth once. But this doesn't change the fact that a fundamental part of Mormon theology comes straight from the devil.

Mormonism believes that men may become gods. Indeed, this is the goal of the LDS church -- to lead men to exaltation as gods. The second prophet of the LDS church taught that "The faithful will become gods" (Discourses of Brigham Young, pg 98). According to Bruce R. McConkie, "That exaltation which the saints of all ages have so devoutly sought is godhood itself" (Mormon Doctrine, pg 321). Ezra Taft Benson declared, "We are gods in embryo" (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg 21). This notion of men advancing to become gods is part and parcel of Mormonism. Without this doctrine, you simply wouldn't have the LDS church.

This is the doctrine which, taught to Eve by Satan, led directly to the fall. The devil said to Eve, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:4,5). This was a lie, for Satan is the father of lies; he lies because it is his nature to do so. The devil can no more tell the truth than a dog can write poetry, for his nature is falsehood. And he knew this was a lie as he told it to Eve, for he had himself sought to become God. The prophet Isaiah wrote,

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isa 14:12-14).

This was Lucifer's great sin. Not content with the position God had placed him in, he sought divinity. He tried to become a god. And when he failed in that attempt, in his hatred of God he tempted Eve with the false reward, knowing that men can never become gods, but would instead fall just as he had fallen. As I pointed out above, Mormons aren't aware that their church's stated goal was invented by Satan. Nor do Mormons worship the devil. But the fact is that the main object of Mormonism -- exaltation to godhood -- is exactly what got Satan into trouble, and is exactly the lie with which he tempted Eve. -- Robert McKay

Mormonism's Pagan God

It is LDS doctrine that there is a "head god." Joseph Smith declared,

"In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 349).

And President John Taylor wrote,

"In simple English, the Head brought forth the Gods, with the heavens and with the earth. The 'Head' must have meant the 'living God,' or Head God: Christ is our head. The term Elohim, plural of Elohah, or ale, is used alike in the first chapter of Genesis, for the creation, and the quotation of Satan. In the second chapter, and fourth verse, we have this remarkable history: 'These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were brought forth; in the day that the Lord of the Gods made earth and heavens.' The Hebrew reads so" (Gospel Kingdom, pg 28).

This is not Christian doctrine. The Bible says nothing of any "head god" or "head of the gods." And contrary to President Taylor's statement, the Hebrew doesn't say there is, and neither does the Greek. Both the Old Testament and the New dogmatically insist that there is only one God -- period, end of sentence, end of discussion. The Bible regards polytheism (the belief that more than one god exists) as a false pagan notion, and therefore Christianity believes likewise. Any notion that there is a "head god" is, by the standard of Christian teaching, utterly false and un-Christian.

This notion is, however, entirely compatible with paganism. Many if not all of us learned about Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology in school. The Greeks and Romans shared a pantheon of gods, merely calling them by different names. Ares/Mars was the god of war, Venus/Aphrodite was the goddess of love, and Zeus/Jupiter was the "head god," the lord of the gods and indeed the literal father of some of them. And like the LDS "head god," who is called Elohim, Zeus/Jupiter had a human form and engaged in many ordinary human activities. The Norse gods were similar. The Norse god of war was Thor, and the god of fire was Loki. The head God was Odin or Wodin, and like the LDS God he was married, to a goddess named Freya. Various other pagan pantheons contained a "head god." In Central America he was called Kukulkan or Quetzalcoatl. In Hinduism he's known as Brahma.

But by whatever name, and whatever the details of the pantheon, these pagan "head gods" are strikingly similar to Mormonism's Elohim. They are the ultimate source of the created universe, or at least the part of it we inhabit, and many times they have a beginning and can have an ending, to their power if not to their very existence. These things are so similar to LDS doctrine that we might almost think Joseph Smith borrowed from paganism; indeed, Mormon leader Milton R. Hunter admitted that Mormonism resembles the mystery religions which were the "pagan rivals of Christianity" (The Gospel Through the Ages, pg 110, 118).

Mormonism is not part of the Christian faith. It is just that simple -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not Christian. It cannot be, when it teaches pagan notions of God rather than the Christian doctrine of God as found in the Bible. -- Robert McKay

Is This Christian Doctrine?

The LDS church claims that it is Christian. Whether this claim is accurate or not is easily determined. All readers need to do is answer the following questions:

Does Christianity teach that at some point it may be said of faithful Christians, "Then shall they be gods" (Doctrine & Covenants 132:20)?

Does Christianity teach that all churches are "wrong," all creeds are "an abomination," and all church members are "corrupt" (Pearl of Great Price JS-H 1:19)?

Does Christianity teach that "Three separate personages -- Father, Son, and Holy Ghost -- comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists" (Mormon Doctrine, pg 576)?

Does Christianity teach that "bread and the water [represent] the body and blood of the Savior" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol 1, ALTAR)?

Does Christianity teach this: "The prophet and the presidency -- the living prophet and the First Presidency -- follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer" (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg 334)?

Does the Christian religion teach that church or denominational leaders cannot lead their organizations astray (Doctrine & Covenants, excerpts from Three Addresses by President Wilford Woodruff Regarding the Manifesto)?

Does Christianity teach that Lucifer is "this spirit-brother of Jesus" (The Gospel Through the Ages, pg 15)?

Does Christianity teach that "the present exalted position of our Heavenly Father was gradually built up" and that "if He should ever do anything to violate the confidence or 'sense of justice' of these intelligences, they would promptly withdraw their support, and the 'power' of God would disintegrate" (The First 2000 Years, pg 355)?

The answer to all these questions is a resounding No. Christianity does not teach these things. Each and every one of them is repugnant to the Scripture, the creeds, the confessions of faith, the convictions of Christian churches and denominations and people. Not one of these ideas is part of the Christian faith. But all of them are part of Mormonism. And this means that Mormonism teaches doctrines which are not part of Christianity; in other words, it teaches un-Christian doctrines. And since all these doctrines contradict established Christian teaching, they are more than un-Christian -- they are anti-Christian. And this means that though Mormonism claims it's a Christian church, exactly the opposite is true. Instead of being Christian, Mormonism is flatly anti-Christian. -- Robert McKay

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