The world today contains numerous adherents and followers of the religion of Mormonism, also known as the Church of Latter-Day Saints of Jesus Christ. Part 1 of this article series on Mormonism provided information on the history and general beliefs of the LDS tradition. In this next article, I will present the what and how of the Christian response in our culture today.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a religion that is multifaceted, firm, and dense in its theological understandings.
Mormonism, in my opinion, is summarized well by statement number 13 in the Articles of Faith, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe in all things, we hope in all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” (Pearl of Great Price, 60).
Realistically speaking, these values closely mirror the language in Philippians 4:8. So, as Christians, may we try to speak life and the Gospel to Mormons when the opportunities arise.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8
As believers today, we must remember the core Gospel distinctives and must be able to recall Scripture that points to the living and active Word of God. Provided below are some of the key points in the Christian doctrine. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these so you can recall them when engaging with a Mormon.
- God is One, Personal, Holy, and a Judge (Isa. 43:10, Isa. 45:5, Gal. 1:8)
- Sin separates and is rebellion against God (Rom. 3:23)
- God’s love, forgiveness, and salvation (Eph. 2:8-9)
- Incarnation/Divinity (Immanuel = God with us) (John 1:1,14)
- Abundant and eternal life (Rom. 6:23)
- Repentance and faith, no works-based salvation (Rom. 4:4-5, Gal. 3:10, Titus 3:5
- The exclusiveness of Jesus (Acts 4:12)
The Christian Stance on General Beliefs of Mormons
Speaking from personal experience, receiving all of this information about the LDS Church and Mormon faith can be slightly overwhelming and hard to understand. As Christians, our hearts should desire to share the true Gospel of Christ with those following the LDS Church because they do not know the true freedom found in the Jesus of the Bible. Mormons are taken by the mentality of living a good life and pursuing Christ-likeness in order to achieve deification.
Christians stand firm on the belief that Scripture is the living Word of God (Heb. 4:12). The Bible contains sixty-six books separated into the Old and New Testaments. It is the direct revelation from God and serves as the supreme and inerrant authority, guiding both what we believe and how we live (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 Timothy 5:18). Unlike the LDS Church, which has multiple authoritative books/scripture, the evangelical Christian does not recognize any other document or book as holding authority.
Christians believe that there is one God eternally existing as one essence and three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each of whom is fully God (Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 28:19). As Christians, we believe in the full participation of each member of the Trinity and the active participation of each of them at work in the world today. Jesus was both fully man and fully God, having a dual nature, and now sits at the right hand of the Father (Rom. 8:34). This is different from the LDS belief that the Godhead contains three separate gods, who developed into individual deities at different times prior to creation.
Evangelical Christians believe that salvation comes solely by the grace God shows us and through our faith in Christ. Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 14:6).
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
He lived a perfect life on our behalf in order to be a “Lamb without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19). Without Jesus being divine, He could not have atoned for the sins of the whole world.
For it is by grace you have been saved and that is not from yourselves. If it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. – Eph. 2:8-9
Nature of Humanity
Biblically, Christians teach that we are all children of God through faith and spiritual adoption occurs when we put our faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 9:8, Jn 1:12-13). Man in his nature is sinful but has eternity placed in his heart. His heart will never find rest in the empty things he pursues until he finds rest in God (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Man cannot consider spiritual things because they are folly to him; but once the Spirit resides in him, man can begin to be reshaped by God into the sanctified image of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14). Contrary to LDS belief, God does not offer us laws today to follow in order to return to a higher estate or advance in position, but rather our faith is built on the finished work displayed on the Cross and our sonship through Christ’s shed blood (Gal. 3:26).
Guidelines/Tips for Engaging with the Gospel
If/when the opportunity arises for you to talk with and engage with a Mormon, a few tips to keep in mind include:
- Be in a spirit of prayer (Eph. 6:18, Rom. 8:26). Since you have the chance to discuss theological topics with a Mormon, be prayerful about how to share with them in a way that is kind and considerate of your role as an ambassador of Christ.
- Be respectful. Remember that you do not know everything, but by being willing to ask questions and to build rapport with someone, you increase the likelihood of them listening to what you believe.
- Use a KJV Bible when witnessing to Mormons since this is the only translation they hold to be true and not edited/misconstrued by humans.
- Familiarize yourself with and know basic LDS beliefs so you have prior knowledge before they begin to share with you. Here is a good website that compares doctrines within the Christian faith and the LDS Church.
- Start with common ground and a spirit of humility (Col. 3:12). Refer to the Gospel’s distinctive points above and think about where your beliefs overlap with Mormons.
- Share your story of coming to saving faith because testimony is a huge point of discussion for LDS members. Since Mormons have such a strong belief and foundation in their purpose as “spirit children”, sharing with them your beliefs and standards on creation can be a good connection point.
Official LDS website – https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/comeuntochrist/believe?lang=eng
“About Us.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 2021, www.churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/about-us?lang=eng.
Bushman, Richard Lyman. Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2008.
Jackson, Andrew. Mormonism Explained: What Latter-Day Saints Teach and Practice. Crossway Books, 2008.
Nelson, President Russell M., et al. “Becoming Like God.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng.
“Pearl of Great Price.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/gs/pearl-of-great-price?lang=eng.