Are Mormons Christian?
The better question is: “Is Mormonism a Christian religion?” This is more appropriate because it focuses on the teachings of the Mormon Church rather than on the beliefs of an individual Mormon. It also allows us to evaluate Mormonism on the basis of its official doctrine. The Mormon or LDS Church strenuously claims to be Christian. “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unequivocally affirm themselves to be Christians” (lds.org). This sentiment is echoed by members and missionaries alike.
Claiming to be Christian, however, doesn’t automatically make Mormonism a Christian religion. Many other people and churches make this claim, but are not recognized as Christian by traditional Christian churches. One example would be the Christian Identity Movement affiliated with white supremacy.
The difference between Christianity and Mormonism
The dictionary defines a Christian as “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.” In keeping with this commonly held definition, the key to determining whether Mormonism is Christian or not is ascertaining if its teachings are the ones Jesus taught.
One of the bedrock beliefs of Christianity is that the Bible accurately conveys Jesus’ teachings. It is the standard by which all beliefs need to be evaluated. Even a brief comparison of Mormonism with biblical teaching quickly shows how different they are. In many places, Mormonism teaches the direct opposite of what the Bible teaches. (All the quotes are from Mormon scriptures.)
The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Mormonism, on the other hand, teaches: “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:23).
The Bible teaches: “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed” (Genesis 2:8).
Mormonism says: “And the Gods planted a garden, eastward in Eden, and there they put the man, whose spirit they had put into the body which they had formed” (Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 5:8).
On Adam and Eve’s Fall
The Bible teaches that: “Just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people” (Romans 5:118).
Mormonism teaches that: “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:25).
These are just a few of numerous examples. Not only does Mormonism teach the direct opposite of the Bible in many places, it also has many teachings that contradict biblical teaching. Following are just two examples.
Other Mormon Teachings
Mormonism teaches that people can become gods.
“Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20).
Mormonism teaches that even people who don’t believe in Jesus will go to heaven.
Mormonism says heaven consists of three different kingdoms of glory. The lowest kingdom is called the telestial. It describes the telestial in this way: “And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament. These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus” (Doctrine and Covenants 76: 81-82, emphasis added).
There are many more such examples. The book, Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons, examines Mormonism’s doctrine in depth. Please refer to it for more proofs.
It is obvious that Mormonism and biblical teachings are completely different. Neither are the differences superficial. They penetrate to the very heart and core of a person’s relationship with God. Mormonism teaches a way to heaven which the Bible condemns. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:8).
Christians need to be clear on this. And they need to clearly and lovingly discuss it with Mormons. Over the years, we have found an effective way of doing this. To learn more, we encourage you to read the five pillars of our approach.