Craig Eisele on …..

January 30, 2012

Comparison of Mormonism to Christianity

Whether Mormons should be considered “Christians” is a controversial and rather complicated issue. Many Catholics and Protestants do not consider Mormons to be Christians because they believe the differences in doctrines are larger and more fundamental than those between Christian denominations.

On other hand, religious studies books tend to group Mormons in with Christians because: Mormons regard themselves as Christians; Mormonism emerged in a Christian context; and Mormonism shares much in common with other forms of Christianity.

Mormons also consider themselves Christians for much the same reasons as listed above. However, they consider themselves to be significantly different from other branches of Christianity. They regard themselves as neither Catholic nor Protestant, viewing both of those faiths as corruptions of true Christianity, which has been restored by Mormonism. 1

The following chart provides a quick-reference guide to the major similarities and differences between the beliefs and practices of Mormonism and mainstream Protestant Christianity. As is always the case with charts, the information is simplified for brevity and should be used alongside more complete explanations. The beliefs listed for both Mormons and Protestant Christians represent those of most, but not all, churches or individuals within each tradition.

 

Mormonism
Mainstream Christianity
Religious Authority All sacred texts equally, continuing revelations Bible (all), ecumenical councils and creeds (Catholic and Orthodox), official papal pronouncements (Catholic), continuing revelations (Pentecostal)
Sacred Texts Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price Bible (some include Apocrypha)
Trinity Rejected – Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct beings who are “one in purpose” Affirmed – Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of the “same substance”; three persons in one being
God Heavenly Father, who has a physical body Trinitarian God, who does not have a body
Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior, originally one of the spirit beings that all humans used to be (see Jesus Christ). Has a physical body. Son of God, Word of God, God, second Person of the Trinity (see Christology)
Holy Spirit A spirit being who is a separate being from God and Jesus. God, Third Person of the Trinity
Original sin Denied (see Human Nature) Affirmed (by most denominations)
Free will Free to do good or evil Free will to do good is seriously impaired
Purpose of Christ’s Incarnation Teach about God, provide a model for right living, die sacrificially for human sin Teach about God, provide a model for right living, die sacrificially for human sin, reveal God directly to humanity
Resurrection of Christ? Yes Yes
Salvation Both faith and works; works emphasized Both faith and works; faith emphasized (in most denominations)
Second chance after death? Yes, during a period of “learning and preparation” after death No
Afterlife All spirits go to the spirit world, undergo preparation, then rejoin with bodies in the resurrection (see Afterlife). The good spend the intervening time in spirit paradise, while the wicked go to spirit prison. Souls of wicked sent to Hell, believers go to Heaven for eternity (see Afterlife). In Catholicism, many believers will suffer in Purgatory before going to Heaven.
Hell The wicked enter an unpleasant “spirit prison” prior to judgment; after that, only the most obstinately wicked (like Satan) will be consigned to “Outer Darkness” for eternity. Place (or state of being) of eternal torment and distance from God.
Place of Worship Chapel or Temple Church
Meaning of Sacraments (Chr) or Ordinances (LDS) Ordinances are covenants between man and God and a means of grace. Some of them are necessary for salvation. Symbolic acts commanded by Christ (some Protestant); means of grace if received with faith (Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant).
Sacraments (Chr) or Ordinances (LDS) Include baptism, confirmation, the sacrament (Lord’s Supper), laying on of hands, ordination, temple endowment, and marriage sealing (see Temple Ordinances) Two common to all denominations: Baptism and Lord’s Supper. Total of seven in Catholicism.
Symbols No official symbol; cross is not used; the angel Moroni raising a trumpet is seen atop Mormon temples Cross, fish and others
Holidays Easter, Christmas, national and local holidays, birthdays, celebrations of events in Mormon history Easter, Christmas, saints’ days, several others

 

Mormonism
Mainstream Christianity

 

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