(This is part 2 of a 3 part series on Faith, Politics, and the 2012 Presidential Election. In part 1 I tried to express my concern about evangelical Christians being distracted by one thing – President Obama and the desire to get him out of office – while something more sinister – Governor Mitt Romney – might be on the horizon. I fear that the enemy is faking us out and we are concentrating on the wrong thing. In this post I want to outline some of the basic beliefs of Mormonism and how those beliefs differ from Christianity. I find it interesting that Christians and conservatives attacked the church the Obama’s attended in Chicago but have not even taken the time to educate themselves about the teachings of the LDS Church. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think regardless if you agree with me or not.)
I know a person’s faith, or lack of faith, does not disqualify, or qualify, that person for the presidency. I also know while every President to date has claimed to be a Christian, that does not necessarily mean they were Christians or that their Christian faith affected their personal life or public policy or influenced their presidency and the decisions they made in any way at all. I also value the fact that our country strongly believes in freedom of religion and allows people to believe, or not believe, whatever they desire. A person’s faith, or lack thereof, should not be a litmus test of their ability to run for any public office, even the POTUS.
However, what concerns me about Romney’s faith is the deceptiveness of it. He, like other Mormons, wants everyone to believe they are Christians when they are not. At least Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and Atheists are honest enough to admit they are not Christians. It is easy to point out the differences between those world religions and Christianity. It is easy to have discussions with other world religions because no one is trying to convince anyone they are something they are not.
Not so with Mormonism.
What Mormons believe is hard to pin down and hard to explain because they use the same terminology as Christianity but what they mean by those terms is not the same as what those terms mean in Christianity. Mormonism is deceptive and deception is worse than an out and out lie. I can’t help ask myself if Romney is comfortable about deception when it comes to his faith, what other areas of his life would he be comfortable with deception. I don’t have to agree with my president, but I do have to trust him or her, and I just can’t bring myself to trust Mitt Romney.
In this post I want to outline the basic beliefs of Mormonism. In an effort to be fair, the first thing I will share are the 13 articles of faith found on the official website of the LDS Church. The articles of faith are what Mormons say they believe. Then, I will outline what they mean by what they say when it comes to the key differences between Mormonism and Christianity. It is my understanding that by the age of 13, every Mormon has memorized these 13 articles of faith.
- We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
- We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
- We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
- We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
- We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
- We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
- We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
- We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
- We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
- We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
- We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
- 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 all things, we hope 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.
Now, here are the basic differences between Mormonism and Christianity:
The Sacred Scriptures (4 of them)
a. “…the most correct book on earth” (Joseph Smith).
b. See “The Book of Mormon” from www.mormon.org
2. Doctrines and Covenants
a. 3 years after writing the Book of Mormon, Smith wrote the Book of Commandments.
b. 2 years later he substantially revised this book and called it Doctrines and Covenants.
c. Includes many of the well-known Mormon beliefs, such as eternal progression…polygamy, and the ability of humans to become God.
3. Peal of Great Price
a. A “translation” by Joseph Smith from various Egyptian artifacts he had acquired.
b. Contains his own “correct” translation of the Book of Moses and the Gospel of Matthew, along with the Articles of Faith.
c. Non-Mormon scholars have determined that the artifacts were remnants of a common Egyptian funeral text.
4. Holy Bible
a. “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
b. Smith believed and taught that every translation of the Bile was corrupt, so he did his own “translation.”
(1) He did not know Hebrew or Greek.
(2) He simply made thousands of changes to the King James Version.
(3) The Mormon version of the Bible includes a passage in Genesis 50 that predicts the coming of Joseph Smith.
Below is a chart that shows the differences between the Mormon’s view of the Bible and Christianity’s view of the Bible.
The Bible – Mormonism The Bible – Christianity
Incomplete Complete as it is
Adds new revelations to God’s Word Rejects new revelations
Unbiblical theological presuppositions Accepted hermeneutical rules
utilized in interpretation in interpretation
The Nature of God: (Two important Mormon beliefs)
1. Eternal progression.
a. God is not the eternal, self-existent, all-powerful God of the universe.
b. God is nothing more than a man who became God.
(1) “As man is, God once was, as God is, man may become” (Lorenzo Snow, 5th Mormon President & Prophet.)
(2) God was created by another god who existed before the Father God, who rules the universe today.
(a) And that God was created by a god before him, ad infinitum.
(b) This belief that God was once a man leads to the belief that God still has a physical body.
2. Polytheism (belief in more than one god)
a. Since the present Father God is descended from an eternal progression of other gods, than any Mormon can become a god.
b. Potentially, there are as many gods as there are Mormons who in the past obeyed the “eternal Gospel truths.”
Below is a chart that shows the differences between the Mormon god and the Biblical God:
The Mormon God The Biblical God
Many (polytheistic) One (monotheistic)
Evolving (changing) Immutable (unchanging)
Material (physical) Immaterial (spirit)
Morally imperfect (e.g. requiring salvation) Eternally holy (not requiring salvation)
1. Father God was created, he grew up as a man on another planet (in another universe) and then became God.
a. He then had sex with Mother God and had “millions” of spirit children.
b. The firstborn of these spirit children was Jesus.
c. The second born was Lucifer. (Jesus was chosen to be the Savior, which ticked off Lucifer, so he rebelled.)
2. Father God came up with a plan for the rest of his spirit children to populate and live on earth and be tested, only to return to him after death. (See “The Plan of Salvation”; www.mormon.org)
3. Sometimes refer to Jesus as the “elder brother.
a. Jesus grew up, got married, and had several children.
b. Died on the cross, was resurrected with a new body, and returned to heaven.
c. He is presently waiting to take the place of the Father God, who will progress to even greater realms.
Below is a chart describing the differences between the Mormon Jesus and the Biblical Jesus:
The Mormon Jesus Christ The Biblical Jesus Christ
A created being; the brother of Lucifer Uncreated (eternal) God
Earned his own salvation (exaltation) As God, Christ required no salvation
Common (one of many gods) and of Unique (the Second Person of the
minor importance in the larger Godhead) and of supreme
Mormon cosmology importance throughout eternity
and in all creation
Conceived by the physical act of the Conceived by the Holy Spirit who
Father (Adam or Elohim) and Mary overshadowed Mary, a true virgin
A married polygamist? An unmarried monogamist
1. Every person who has ever been born once existed as a spirit in heaven – doctrine of preexistence. (See, “Where Did I Come From”; www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,1117-1,00.html.)
2. By being born you are following the pattern of Father God and Jesus.
3. By becoming a Mormon and obeying Mormon teaching, you can progress toward godhood.
4. If you get married in a Mormon temple, you get your own planet.
5. Once you have become a god, you can have spirit children of your own, and they will eventually come to earth and repeat the cycle.
1. All people, once spirit children, were born in an innocent state.
2. Sin is not a condition of rebellion against God, but more like having poor judgment or making a mistake.
3. Salvation is not how you get right with God.
a. Salvation simply means you will be resurrected and have a body.
b. You are not “saved” by believing in Jesus and accepting Him as your Savior.
4. All people are saved eventually (universal salvation), and you are saved individually by doing good works and by obeying “the laws of the Gospel” – the beliefs of the LDS Church.
5. Different types of salvation
a. General Salvation (“salvation by grace”).
(1) Occurs to all men.
(2) Restricted to resurrection from the dead and immortality.
(3) Does not decide a person’s specific residence or degree of glory in the next life.
b. Individual Salvation.
(1) Determines which one of the 3 heavens you will go to, and whether or not you earn true “eternal life” (godhood).
(a) Telestial Kingdom: lowest kingdom of glory; the place where most of humanity will reside; will be excluded from the presence of God and Christ.
(b) Terrestrial Kingdom: the place where “good Mormons,” and those who accept Mormonism after death will go.
(c) Celestial Kingdom: gained by “complete obedience” to gospel law; this kingdom has 3 parts; only in the highest part is salvation in the fullest sense found—absolute godhood and eternal sexual increase.
General salvation is based on “grace”; individual salvation is based on “good works.”
Obviously a few blog posts cannot fully explain Mormon theology. What I have tried to do is to outline basic Mormon beliefs. By doing so I hope to encourage you to study more on your own. My intention is not to try to influence anyone to vote one way or another. All of us must vote our conscious. At the same time, however, it is our responsibility to learn as much as we can about the candidates. As I have stated previously, it concerns me that we (as followers of Jesus) are so quick to dismiss one candidate and blindly endorse another.
 “Summary of Beliefs,” #8 (www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,1598-1,00.html)
 John Ankerberg & John Weldon. 1991 (16).
 John Ankerberg & John Weldon. 1991 (19).
 John Ankerberg & John Weldon. 1991 (24).