Mormonism vs. Christianity: What Sets Them Apart?

Discover the key distinction between Mormonism and Christianity. Unveil the truth behind their beliefs and practices in this eye-opening comparison.

Last Updated:
December 25, 2023
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Key Takeaways

Mormonism and Christianity are two distinct faiths that have distinct beliefs and practices. Here are the main differences between them:

  1. Scriptures: Mormons believe in the Book of Mormon, while Christianity believes in the Bible.
  2. Salvation: Mormons believe that salvation is achieved through faith, repentance, and ordinances, while Christianity believes it is achieved through faith in Jesus Christ.
  3. Concept of God: Mormons believe in a Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as separate entities, while Christianity believes in one God in three persons.
  4. Afterlife: Mormons believe in an afterlife of three levels of heaven, while Christianity believes in the resurrection of the dead and either reward or punishment in Heaven or Hell.
  5. Practices: Mormonism has a variety of practices such as regular church attendance and tithing, while Christianity has practices such as baptism and communion.

Definition of Christianity

Christianity is a monotheistic religion that centers around the life, teachings, and beliefs of Jesus Christ. Its followers, known as Christians, strive to follow Jesus' example and seek to fulfill God's will.

The foundation of Christianity is based on the Bible, which contains the sacred scriptures and teachings of Jesus. Christians believe in the Trinity, which consists of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior who died for humanity's sins and rose from the dead. Christians place great importance on love, forgiveness, and compassion, as taught by Jesus.

They seek to live according to his teachings and guidance, individually and collectively as a community of believers. Christians also believe that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s grace, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit serve as the primary sources of authority and guidance for Christians, shaping their beliefs, values, and practices.

How did Mormonism begin?

Mormonism, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), began in the early 19th century with a man named Joseph Smith. Smith said he received a vision from an angel named Moroni in 1823. This angel told him about golden plates buried in upstate New York, which contained the writings of ancient prophets.

Smith claimed to have translated these plates by the power of God, resulting in the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830. Mormons consider this sacred text to be an additional testament of Jesus Christ and complements the Bible.

In addition to the Book of Mormon, Smith and his associates claimed to have been visited by other biblical figures, such as John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John, who were believed to have restored the authority of the priesthood to the earth. These visits and revelations led to the establishment of the LDS Church.

Mormonism's origins are rooted in Joseph Smith's experiences with angelic visitations, the translation of the Book of Mormon, and his assertion of receiving divine authority. These distinct beliefs and practices differentiate Mormonism from traditional Christian denominations.

What does the Book of Mormon say?

The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormon Church. It is considered by Mormons to be an additional testament of Jesus Christ and complements the Bible.

The Book of Mormon accounts for ancient prophets who lived in the Americas. It tells the story of a division among the Jewish people, who became known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Nephites were the followers of God, while the Lamanites rebelled against their teachings.

The book recounts the ministry of Jesus Christ to the Nephites shortly after his crucifixion and resurrection. According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus appeared to the people in the Americas, teaching them his gospel and establishing his church among them.

The structure of the Book of Mormon is divided into several books, including the First Book of Nephi, Second Book of Nephi, the Book of Alma, the Book of Helaman, and many others. It is written in a narrative format, detailing the lives and experiences of the people in the Americas during that time.

Beliefs & Practices in Christianity

Christianity is a major world religion with rich beliefs and practices. Christians adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ, whom they believe to be the son of God and the savior of humanity. Central to Christian beliefs is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Christians believe in a triune God, comprising God the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.

Christianity places great importance on the Ten Commandments, moral guidelines for a righteous life. Christians also engage in acts of piety, such as prayer, worship, and reading the Bible. Communal worship is a key aspect of Christianity, with believers gathering together on Sundays for worship services.

In addition, Christians observe various sacraments or ceremonies that hold special significance. These include baptism, which symbolizes the cleansing of sins, and the Lord's Supper, commemorating Jesus' last meal with his disciples.

While Christian beliefs and practices are well-established, Mormonism, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, introduces additional teachings and rituals unique to their faith. Mormons view their practices, known as ordinances, as essential for spiritual progression and salvation. Some of these practices include temple worship, proxy baptism for the dead, and the laying on of hands for healing.

Beliefs & Practices in Mormonism

Mormonism, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has unique beliefs and practices that distinguish it from traditional Christianity. For Mormons, religion is not just a Sunday activity but a way of life that permeates every aspect of their existence.

One of the distinctive practices in Mormonism is the wearing of ceremonial temple garments, which serve as a constant reminder of their commitment to their faith and their covenant with God. Additionally, Mormons believe in the importance of performing baptisms for the dead, where living members of the church are baptized on behalf of deceased individuals to offer them the opportunity to accept the gospel in the afterlife.

Another significant aspect of Mormonism is the dietary code known as the Word of Wisdom. This code advises against tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea, among other substances, and encourages a healthy lifestyle. Adhering to the Word of Wisdom is considered an act of faith and personal discipline.

In addition to these practices, Mormons have a set of ordinances that they believe are necessary for spiritual progression and salvation. These include baptism, confirmation, sacraments, endowments, and sealings. Each of these ordinances has its meaning and purpose within the Mormon faith.

Church Structure & Leadership in Christianity

Christianity is a diverse religion with various denominations, each with its structure and leadership. In the Christian church, there are several key positions and roles of authority.

At the local level, a priest or minister is responsible for leading worship services, delivering sermons, and providing spiritual guidance to the congregation. They also perform sacraments such as baptisms and weddings.

Above the priest or minister, a pastor often oversees the church’s day-to-day operations. The pastor provides pastoral care, leads meetings and committees, and helps coordinate the church’s work.

In larger denominations, there is a hierarchical structure that includes the position of bishop. Bishops oversee a geographic region or diocese and are responsible for the spiritual well-being of the churches within their jurisdiction. They ordain priests and ministers, administer the sacraments, and guide clergy and congregations.

A balance of authority and accountability characterizes the leadership within Christianity. While there is hierarchy, decision-making and governance within the church often involve consultation and collaboration among various church leaders and members.

Church Structure & Leadership in Mormonism

In Mormonism, the Church Structure & Leadership is characterized by a distinct hierarchy of authority. At the apex of this hierarchy is Jesus Christ, whom Mormons regard as the head of their Church. The leadership structure reflects the organization established by Jesus Christ in the early Christian Church.

The highest governing body in the Mormon Church is the First Presidency, consisting of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his two counselors. They are regarded as prophets, seers, and revelators. The First Presidency holds the ultimate decision-making authority and provides guidance and direction to the church.

Below the First Presidency is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who are also considered prophets, seers, and revelators. They are responsible for preaching the gospel and administering the affairs of the Church worldwide.

Further down the hierarchy is the First Quorum of the Seventy. Comprised of seventy General Authorities, they assist in administrative tasks, provide leadership, and conduct ecclesiastical matters in various regions.

The hierarchy includes positions such as the Stake Presidency and the Ward Bishopric at the local level. The Stake Presidency oversees a group of local congregations, called wards, and provides guidance and leadership to the stake. The Ward Bishopric leads individual wards, providing spiritual guidance and administering local affairs.

Scripture and Sacred Texts in Christianity

In Christianity, scripture and sacred texts play a vital role in shaping beliefs and guiding the faith of believers. Christians regard the Holy Bible as the authoritative Word of God, holding it in the highest regard. The Bible has two main sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The Old Testament contains sacred texts passed down through generations and considered vital to the religious and cultural heritage of the Jewish people. It includes ancient writings such as Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, and Proverbs.

The New Testament focuses on the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus Christ and the early Christian community. It includes the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the Epistles (letters) written by early Christian leaders, and the book of Revelation.

Christians believe that human authors wrote the Bible under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is considered the ultimate authority in matters of faith and practice. The Bible's teachings, principles, and narratives guide, teach, and inspire Christians to live according to God's will.

Scripture and Sacred Texts in Mormonism

Mormonism, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, holds special reverence for different scripture and sacred texts. Alongside the Holy Bible, Mormons recognize the importance of additional books considered scripture. These include the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

The Holy Bible is regarded as a sacred text by Mormons, just as most Christian denominations do. It contains the Old and New Testaments and is seen as a record of divine revelation. The teachings, stories, and prophecies contained within the Bible serve as a guide for Mormons to live according to God's will.

The Book of Mormon is another significant scripture for Mormons. They believe it to be an ancient record of the people who lived in the Americas and received teachings from Jesus Christ. It is considered a companion to the Bible, offering additional insight and testimonies about the life and mission of Jesus Christ.

The Doctrine and Covenants consists of revelations received by early church leaders, including the church's founder, Joseph Smith. It contains instructions, commandments, and guidance for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Lastly, the Pearl of Great Price is a collection of documents, including selected writings from Joseph Smith, doctrines, and a translation of ancient texts.

Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel and is seen as a witness of Jesus Christ. While they deeply respect the Holy Bible and consider it scripture, they see the Book of Mormon as an additional testament of Jesus Christ's divinity and teachings.

Doctrine of God and Jesus Christ in Christianity

In Christianity, the doctrine of God holds that there is one true God who is the Creator of heaven and earth. This God exists eternally as a Trinity, which consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christians believe in the concept of the Trinity, which signifies that one God exists in three distinct persons.

Central to the Christian faith is the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the second member of the Trinity. Christians hold that Jesus has eternally existed with God and is truly God. He took on human form by being born of the Virgin Mary, lived sinless, and performed miraculous signs. Ultimately, Jesus willingly gave his life on the cross as an atonement for the sins of humanity. Christians also affirm that Jesus rose from the dead, triumphing over death and offering the promise of eternal life to all who believe in him.

The doctrine of God and Jesus Christ is foundational in Christianity, emphasizing the belief in one God who exists in three persons and the central role of Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of humanity. This belief is rooted in the teachings of the Bible and has been upheld by Christians throughout history.

Frequently asked Questions

How do Mormons view the role of Joseph Smith in their faith?

  • Joseph Smith is seen as a chosen prophet in the Mormon faith through whom God restored the true Gospel.
  • He was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ, who gave him divine revelations and guidance.
  • Joseph Smith's role as a translator led to the publication of the Book of Mormon, which Mormons consider to be another testament of Jesus Christ.
  • He is revered as a true servant of God and a key figure in restoring Christ's true church on earth.
  • Mormons view Joseph Smith as having immense significance in their faith.

What are some key differences in the worship practices between Mormons and Christians?

Mormons and Christians differ in their worship practices in several ways:

  • Prayer: Both groups value prayer, but Mormons practice a unique type called 'family prayer.'
  • Sacrament: Christians typically participate in the symbolic act of eating bread and drinking wine to remember Jesus' sacrifice. Mormons partake of bread and water to renew their covenants with God.
  • Worship Services: Mormons generally attend weekly worship services in their local congregations, while Christians may attend weekly services or do individual prayer or scripture study.
  • Priesthood: Mormons have a lay priesthood consisting of all worthy males of at least age 12, while in Christianity the priesthood is typically held by a select few.
  • Music: Mormons often sing hymns in worship services, while Christians may sing more modern praise songs.

How do Mormons and Christians differ in their understanding of the nature of sin and its consequences?

Mormons and Christians have differing views on the nature of sin and its consequences:

  • Mormons view sin as a necessary part of life, allowing them to learn and progress, which they can attain through following LDS principles and the atonement of Jesus.
  • Christians view sin as a rejection of God's character and nature, and they believe that through personal trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, they can be saved from its guilt and power.
  • Mormons believe that, through following LDS principles and the atonement of Jesus, they can achieve exaltation and become gods.
  • Christians believe that, through faith in Jesus, they can receive eternal life.
  • Both religions agree that personal faith and commitment to their beliefs are necessary for salvation.

Do Mormons believe in the existence of angels and demons?

Mormons believe in the existence of angels and demons:

  • Angels are seen as messengers from God who can guide and protect us.
  • Demons are seen as fallen angels who have chosen to follow Satan and oppose God.
  • Mormons seek to align themselves with the forces of good.
  • Angels are spiritual beings with the power to influence and assist us.
  • Demons are seen as powerful and dangerous forces.

What is the stance of Mormons and Christians on the topic of homosexuality and same-sex marriage?

Mormons and Christians have different stances on the topic of homosexuality and same-sex marriage:

  • Mormons view homosexuality as a sin and believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman. They encourage individuals to abstain from acting on same-sex attractions.
  • Some Christians also consider homosexuality to be a sin, while others embrace LGBTQ+ individuals with love and acceptance.
  • Both sides believe in treating LGBTQ+ individuals with respect and kindness.
  • Christians who support LGBTQ+ rights advocate for equal rights and marriage equality.
  • Mormons do not condone same-sex marriage.

How is Mormonism different from Christianity?

Mormonism is significantly different from Christianity in terms of its beliefs and practices. One key difference lies in the emphasis on works in Mormonism. While Christianity teaches that salvation is solely through faith in Jesus Christ, Mormons believe that good works are also necessary for salvation.

Another difference is the view of faith in the Mormon scriptures. Christianity emphasizes that salvation is by grace through faith alone, whereas Mormonism teaches that faith is important but must be accompanied by obedience to the commandments.

One of the most unique beliefs in Mormonism is the idea that humans have the potential to achieve godhood. Mormons believe that through obedience to the teachings of the LDS Church and the performance of certain rituals in their temples, they can progress to become gods ruling over their separate domains in the afterlife.

Do Mormons believe in the Godhead?

Mormons believe in the Godhead, although they define and understand this concept differently from traditional Christianity. In Mormonism, the Godhead refers to the unity and oneness of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost in purpose and intention.

One unique belief of Mormons is that God the Father was once a mortal man who progressed to godhood through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. This belief sets them apart from mainstream Christianity, which typically teaches that God is eternal and unchanging.

In Mormon theology, maintaining unity within the Godhead is crucial. Each member of the Godhead plays a distinct role. God the Father is the ultimate authority and creator. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of humanity, who atoned for our sins. The Holy Ghost is a divine personage who testifies of truth and guides individuals.

Mormons emphasize the importance of understanding the nature and character of the Godhead and strive to develop a personal relationship with each member. They believe gaining knowledge and experience in this mortal life is crucial for progressing towards potential godhood.

Do Mormons believe in the Trinity?

Mormons do not believe in the traditional Christian concept of the Trinity. According to their beliefs, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are seen as separate and distinct Gods. This differs from mainstream Christianity, which teaches that these three entities are one God in three persons.

The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, prophesied against the Trinity and asserted that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate entities. He taught that they are distinct beings with physical bodies, rather than purely spiritual entities.

In Mormon theology, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are seen as working in perfect unity and harmony but are not understood as one in substance or essence. Each member of the Godhead has a unique role and purpose in the plan of salvation.

This belief in the separate existence of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost sets Mormons apart from traditional Christian beliefs about the Trinity. It is an important distinction that shapes their understanding of the nature of God and the relationship between the three divine beings.

What is the Mormon view of Jesus?

The Mormon view of Jesus differs from mainstream Christian beliefs. According to Mormon theology, Jesus is seen as the firstborn spirit-child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother. Mormons believe that all human spirits, including Jesus', were created in a pre-mortal existence.

In this pre-mortal existence, Mormons believe that Jesus progressed and grew in knowledge and righteousness, ultimately attaining deity. This view emphasizes the potential for eternal progression and exaltation for all human beings.

Furthermore, Mormons believe that Jesus was physically conceived in Mary's womb as the literal "only begotten" Son of God the Father in the flesh. They reject the idea of a virgin birth, instead teaching that God the Father was physically involved in Jesus' conception.

In Mormonism, Jesus is seen as a divine being who achieved godhood, but distinct from God the Father. While traditional Christianity teaches that Jesus is the eternal Son of God who is coequal and coeternal with the Father, Mormons see Jesus as a divine being who followed a similar path of progression that all humans can potentially follow.

How do Mormons view orthodox Christians?

Mormons have a unique perspective on orthodox Christians. They believe that the early Christian church fell into apostasy after the apostolic times, meaning it deviated from its original teachings and lost the true authority of God. In contrast, Mormons view their faith as the "restored church," founded by Joseph Smith in the 19th century.

Because of this belief, Mormons historically viewed orthodox Christians as apostates who had strayed from the correct path. They saw themselves as the ones who had restored the true teachings and authority of Jesus Christ. However, it's important to note that these views have softened in recent years, and efforts have been made to build dialogue and understanding between the Mormon and orthodox Christian communities.

Despite their differing beliefs, Mormons and orthodox Christians share common values and a commitment to following Jesus Christ. Both recognize the importance of faith, worship, and living a moral life. While disagreements exist, there is also room for mutual respect and cooperation in areas of shared concern, such as promoting family values and addressing social issues.

How did Mormonism come to be associated with Salt Lake City?

Mormonism's association with Salt Lake City can be traced back to the early days of the religion. In the 1830s, Mormonism began in New York under the leadership of Joseph Smith. Smith claimed to have received revelations from God and established a community of believers.

However, the growing popularity of Mormonism faced persecution and resistance in various areas. After facing persecution in New York, Ohio, and Illinois, Joseph Smith and his followers sought a place to freely practice their faith.

In 1846, after Joseph Smith’s death, the Mormon Church’s leadership fell to Brigham Young. Under Young's direction, the Mormons went westward to find a new home. They eventually settled in the Salt Lake Valley, a remote and isolated area in the western frontier of the United States.

Salt Lake City became the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the center of Mormonism. The faith's followers built a prosperous and self-sufficient community in the area, with Salt Lake City as the hub for religious, cultural, and political activities.

By establishing their religious stronghold in Salt Lake City, Mormons were able to establish a place where they could freely practice their beliefs without fear of persecution. Today, Salt Lake City remains closely associated with Mormonism, serving as the location of important religious sites and institutions for the LDS Church.

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Mormonism has a complex history when it comes to the practice of polygamy. The founder of the Mormon faith, Joseph Smith, practiced and taught the doctrine of polygamy, stating that it was a commandment from God. This practice was controversial and faced significant opposition from within and outside the Mormon community.

However, after years of legal battles and social pressure, the mainstream Mormon Church, officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), discontinued the practice of polygamy in 1890. This decision was made to comply with the laws of the land and improve relations with the U.S. government.

It is important to note that although mainstream Mormons no longer practice polygamy, there is a small splinter group known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) that still practices this form of marriage. The FLDS broke away from the LDS Church and continues to adhere to many of the teachings and practices introduced by Joseph Smith, including polygamy.

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Christian Pure Team
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Christian Pure Team
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