Comparing Mormonism to Catholicism
The Catholic Church states:
•"Mormons ... are to be considered unbaptized" (CDF)
•"Mormons hold that there is no real Trinity, no original sin" (CDF)
•“according to the [Mormon] Church … three gods”
•"The words Father, Son and Holy Spirit, have for the Mormons a meaning totally different from the Christian meaning”
•“The marriage of Mormons ... with a validly baptized person is not sacramental marriage"
Mormons are not Christians
The Catholic Church teaches that those who have been properly baptized have a right to be called Christians (CCC1271). According to ETWN (Eternal Word Television Network), “Mormons are not Christians is the official Catholic position; specifically, the Church does not accept the validity of Mormon baptism, though she does accept the validity of non-Catholic Christian baptism” (ETWN). “Mormons are not Christians because they do not believe that Christ is God. This belief defines a Christian” (ETWN).
"Although Mormons certainly consider themselves to be Christians, the Catholic Church does not consider them to be Christians, either sacramentally or theologically. The Church has ruled that Mormon baptism is not valid, which means that Mormons are not Christians by baptism. Since Mormons believe in a plurality of gods and do not believe in Christ's divinity (as it is understood by orthodox Christians), they are not theological Christians either." (ETWN). “Those who deny the doctrine of the Holy Trinity deny that Christ is God. Now if one denies that Christ is God, he is denying an essential aspect of Christianity" (ETWN).
Former Mormon Testimonies
"I was born and raised in a Latter-Day Saints family ... As I read and studied ... Mormon teachings were often in direct conflict with the Bible ... it is my testimony that the Catholic Church is Christ's Church on earth. ... It is the Church Christ himself established, and its fundamental doctrines and creeds have not changed in two thousand years. They have remained constant, in harmony with the earliest Fathers of the Church ...." (Catholic Answers).
"The more I researched, the more flaws I found with the Mormon doctrines I had been taught. ... The overwhelming historical evidence available supports the Catholic teaching on Apostolic succession. ... Another truth I discovered is that there is only one God. I could no longer accept the Mormon view of a plurality of gods …" (ETWN).
Mormon vs Catholic
Mormonism has thirteen basic doctrines. These doctrines are contained in the Mormon “Articles of Faith” (see below). To better understand how different Mormonism is to traditional Christianity these basic doctrines will be expanded below and then compared to Biblical doctrines using the teachings of the Catholic Church to interpret the Bible.
1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
Not three Gods, one God in three persons (CCC253)
• "the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he" (Mark.12:32)
• “God was manifest in the flesh” (1Tim.3:16)
• “the Word was God … the Word was made flesh” (John1:1,14)
• "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col.2:9)
• "there is none other God but one ... to us there is but one God, the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ" (1Cor 8:4,6). The NAB footnote for 1Cor 8 says, This verse rephrases the monotheistic confession of “there is but one God” in such a way as to contrast it with polytheism “there be that are called gods” and to express our relationship with the one God “But to us there is but one God”.
2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
Adam did not sin
• “Transgression, Not Sin … it was something that Adam and Eve had to do“ (Ensign, June 2006)
• "original sin ... false doctrine ... men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression" (Ensign, Apr 1977)
Adam sinned (CCC416)
• All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Adam and Eve committed a personal sin. This sin affected the human nature. Original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin contracted and not committed - a state and not an act (CCC404)
• “it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation” (Rom 5:16)
• “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Rom 5:19)
• “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17)
• “hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it” (Gen 3:17)
• “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23)
• "sinful flesh" (Rom 8:13)
3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
Not by grace alone
• "We cannot be saved by grace alone, for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (Ensign, Nov 2001)
• "we are saved, after all we can do” (LDS - 2Nephi 25:23)
• "saved, by … ordinances" (LDS - Article of Faith #3)
• “ordinances ... married for eternity” (GP Chap 47)
• “exaltation by works” (Ensign, Apr 1981)
• “Our exaltation depends on marriage” (GP Chap 38)
By grace alone (CCC1697)
• "By grace alone... The good works of the justified should be done in order to confirm their call ... believers should do good works which the Holy Spirit works in them." (Vatican)
• "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves" (Eph 2:8)
• "if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace" (Rom 11:6)
• "by the grace of God I am what I am ... I laboured ... yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (1Cor.15:10)
• “salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2Thes 2:13)
• “the fruit of the Spirit is love … faith” (Gal 5:22)
• "though I have all faith … and have not charity, I am nothing" (1Cor 13:2,3)
• "careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men" (Tit 3:8)
• "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil 2:12,13)
• "when we love God … we keep his commandments" (1John 5:2,3)
• "this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another" (1John 3:22,23)
• "he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 18:14)
CCC2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.
After earth's exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone. . . . In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself. (St. Thérèse of Lisieux, "Act of Offering" in Story of a Soul, tr. John Clarke (Washington DC: ICS, 1981), 277.)
4 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.
Baptism for the dead
• “it is clear that baptism for the dead was practiced by the early Christians” (Ensign, Feb 1995)
God is not bound by Baptism (CCC1257)
• “the dead rise … they then baptized for the dead?” (1Cor 15:21-29). The NAB footnote says “Baptized for the dead … nor is it necessarily mentioned with approval … Paul cites it as something in their experience that attests in one more way to belief in the resurrection.”
• “Who then can be saved? ... with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:25,26)
• “Christ … went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (1Pet 3:18,19)
• Note: Mormonism’s baptism for the dead is very different than the early church teaching of preaching to the dead (Hermas, The Pastor, Third Book, Similitude 9, Chapter 16). Mormonism involves someone on earth performing a proxy baptism for those who have died. The Early church teaching does not involve someone on earth. It only involves someone in the spirit world preaching to those who have died. Christ preached to the dead after his death on the cross.
5 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.
Apostles did not ordain replacements
• "One by one, the Apostles were killed. Because of the persecution, surviving Apostles could not meet to choose and ordain men to replace those who were dead. Eventually, local priesthood leaders were the only ones who had authority to direct the scattered branches of the Church." (1997 GP Chap 16)
Apostles appointed successors (CCC860)
• Bishops are the successors of the apostles (CCC1313)
• The apostles ... appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. (Clement, First Epistle, Chapter 42-44)
• “To Titus … ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Tit 1:4-8)
• “the office of a bishop ... he take care of the church of God" (1Tim 3:1-5)
• “a bishop … steward of God … Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught” (Tit 1:4-8)
6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
Christ and Satan are brothers
• “The doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. ... as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother“ (Ensign, June 1986)
• “In the premortal life we were spirit children and lived with our heavenly parents. Jesus was the firstborn spirit child of Heavenly Father and is the older brother of our spirits. Lucifer, who became Satan, was also a spirit child of Heavenly Father.” [Manuals Primary 7: New Testament, (1997)]
• “The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ, so he is literally our elder brother“ (1997 GP Chap 2)
• “Two of our brothers … Jesus Christ … Satan … heavenly parents“ (1997 GP Chap 3)
Christ created Satan (CCC331)
• “all his angels … he commanded, and they were created” (Psalm 148:2,5)
• “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host … he spake, and it was done; he commanded” (Psalm 33:6,9)
• “thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein” (Neh 9:6)
• “by him were all things created, that are in heaven … he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Col 1:15-18)
• “there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things … and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things” (1Cor 8:6)
7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
God has a body of flesh
• "In the spring of 1820 … Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. The Savior told him not to join any church because the true Church was not on the earth. He also said that the teachings of present churches were "an abomination in his sight"" (GP Chap 17)
• “Our Father in Heaven … a tangible body of flesh and bones” (LDS D&C 130:22)
• “false Christianity … taught that God was a being without form” (GP Chap 16)
God is pure spirit (CCC370)
• He is ... wholly spirit (Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, Book II, Chapter 13, 3)
• "God is a Spirit" (John.4:24)
• "a spirit hath not flesh and bones" (Luke.24:39)
8 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.
Infant baptism is an evil abomination
• "Infant baptism is an evil abomination" (Book of Mormon - Moroni 8)
• The Book of Mormon says "he that supposeth that little children need baptism ... he must go down to hell" (Moroni 8:14)
• For many years “the priesthood was withheld from ... blacks” (Ensign, Oct 1988); The Book of Mormon says, "the cursing to come upon them ... the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them." (2 Nephi 5:21)
Infant Baptism is a tradition (CCC1252)
• Infants have not committed personal sin. Adam has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born with. The Church baptizes for the remission of sins (CCC403)
• “stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2Thes.2:15)
• “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23)
• “Jesus … baptized … to fulfil all righteousness” (Matt 3:13-15)
9 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.
All creeds are an abomination
• “all their creeds were an abomination” (LDS - JSH 18-19)
• Joseph Smith said "I cannot believe in any of the creeds of the different denominations, because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to" (Ensign Jun 1973).
• "accepts four books as scripture: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price ...The inspired words of our living prophets are also accepted as scripture. … Their words come to us through ... Ensign magazine" (GP Chap 10)
• “Gospel Principles was written both as a personal study guide and as a teacher's manual.” (GP 1997 Introduction)
Creeds gathered from the Bible (CCC186)
• “continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (2Tim. 3: 14)
• “the things that thou hast heard of me … commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2Tim.2:2)
• [NOTE: creeds are consistent with the Bible]
10 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.
Some in the Church not in the Father presence
• “At the Final Judgment we will be assigned to the kingdom for which we are prepared. We will be sent to one of four places ... members of the Church will inherit different kingdoms because they will not be equally faithful and valiant in their obedience to Christ … honorable people ... they who received the gospel and a testimony of Jesus but then were not valiant … visited … not by our Heavenly Father. They will not be part of eternal families; they will live separately and singly forever." (1997 GP Chap 46)
All the just in the Father's presence (CCC769)
• All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven (CCC1030)
• “the heavenly Jerusalem … the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb 12:22,23)
• “the holy city, new Jerusalem ... God himself shall be with them ... Having the glory of God” (Rev 21)
11 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.
God came to be God
• “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man ... God came to be God.” (Ensign, Apr 1971)
God is from everlasting to everlasting (CCC212)
12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
Laws governing polygamy
• “Laws governing the plurality of wives are set forth” (LDS - D&C 132)
Polygamy is a grave offense (CCC2400)
13 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.
Jesus commands us all to marry
• “He[Jesus] commands us all to ... be married for eternity” (GP Chap 47)
Note: In Mormonism to “be married for eternity” requires marriage in a Mormon Temple. Before being allowed in a Mormon temple, a person: must be worthy (e.g. a full-tithe payer), must have a testimony of the Mormon restored gospel (e.g. the Book of Mormon) and must sustain the President of the Mormon Church as the prophet (GP Chap 38)
Jesus taught both matrimony and virginity (CCC1620)
• “marry … All men cannot receive this saying ... some eunuchs” (Matt 19:10-12)
• “every man hath his proper gift of God … as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk … unmarried … married” (1 Cor. 7:7-38)
Earnestly contend for the faith
Mormonism is example of the apostasy described in the Bible. The Bible reveals “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith” (1Tim 4:1). Mormons “depart from the faith”. While the apostles were alive, there was a church in Thyatira which showed good works but yet they followed a false prophet. Mormons follow a “false prophet”. From the Bible, we know that Joseph Smith is a false prophet because he brought forth the heresy and evil fruit of “three Gods”. The Mormon Church claims it is a restoration of the early apostolic Church but it is clear from Mormon doctrine it is not. Mormonism does not teach the early apostolic church doctrine that the bread is the flesh of Jesus Christ (Ignatius, Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 7).
Mormons believe in “another Jesus”. The Jesus of Mormonism is one of “three Gods”, who is the literal brother of Satan, and who has a heavenly Father that has a body of flesh and bones. Mormons turn their ears from the truth that Jesus is God (the fullness of the Godhead), through Him Satan was created, and that He has a heavenly Father that is all spirit. Mormons come to the knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, but then they are led astray by the false teachings of Mormonism.
Mormons believe in “another gospel”. The Mormon restored gospel is found in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon reveals "we are saved, after all we can do”. The Book of Mormon subtlety perverts the gospel of Christ which is “by grace are ye saved through faith”. The serpent deceived Eve through subtlety. Mormons will ask non-Mormons to pray about the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony of its truth. From the Bible, we know the Book of Mormon is false because it perverts the true gospel of Christ. A false prophet can come in sheep’s clothing and can show a “great sign”, like the Book of Mormon, to deceive the very elect and to draw away disciples after them.
As Catholics we are to earnestly contend for the faith delivered by the apostles (Jude 1:3). The Catholic Church is “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth”. It continues in the teachings of the apostolic church. We share the truth in love, reasoning with Mormons out of the scriptures. We pray that Mormon’s grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus. The Spirit of truth will guide us all to truth
This web site
This web site has received the Fidelity Green Light Award for its Excellence to Catholic Fidelity from CatholicCulture.org. The Mormon President Brigham Young said, "Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test" (JD 16:46). This web site compares the teachings of the LDS Church to the Bible using the teachings of the Catholic Church to interpret the Bible. This web site marks them which cause division and offences contrary to the doctrine which we have learned (Rom.16:17). Comparing Mormonism is a personal web site and all rights are reserved (Copyright 2002-2012 by http://comparing-views.com ). Feel free to contact me (Johnny) with any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org . Select the adjacent link to learn more About Me.
Books on Mormonism
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The author of these E-books is the author this web site. The web site “Comparing Mormonism” has been helping others for over ten years. This web site helps Catholics contend for their Catholic faith and it helps Mormons understand the teachings of today’s Catholic Church and the early apostolic church. I am a lifelong Catholic who has a passion for sharing his Catholic faith with others. To learn more About Me select the adjacent link.
"Mormon Catholic" will help the Catholic reader share and defend their Catholic faith with Mormon friends, relatives, or acquaintances. Official Mormon Church quotes are provided to acquaint the reader with what the Mormon Church teaches. Numerous official Catholic Church teachings are provided to help the reader better understand the Catholic Church teachings that relate with Mormonism. Bible quotes are provided to give the Catholic reader confidence as they reason with Mormons from Holy Scripture. The concepts of this book have been proven to be effective in evangelizing Mormons. This book also includes a helpful Bibliography that contains links to the above material. Mormon scripture, the Book of Mormon, reveals that infant baptism is an evil abomination. This book will show how to defend this apostolic tradition.Mormon Jesus
"Mormon Jesus" will demonstrate how very different the Jesus as taught by Mormonism is to the Jesus as taught by the 1st and 2nd century Christian bishops. Mormons do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. Their knowledge comes of the witness of a Mormon prophet. The Jesus of Mormonism is the literal brother of Satan and both of them were born of heavenly parents. This book includes many quotes and references from these early Christian bishops and writers. The book "Mormon Jesus" will prove by example that Mormonism is not a restoration of the early apostolic church. This book is Mormon friendly to share with Mormons. The founder of Mormonism claims that the Lord told him that the Christian creeds are an abomination. This book has a special section that demonstrates how the Christian creeds are in-line with what the Bible reveals.Mormon Grace
"Mormon Grace" will contrast Mormonism with the themes found in "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas à Kempis. These themes are based on the teachings found in the Bible and in the teachings of the Early Church Fathers. "The Imitation of Christ" is a Christian devotional book which is one of the most widely read devotional works next to the Bible. The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith claimed that the Lord told him that the churches were all wrong. Mormonism teaches that a person cannot be saved by grace alone since the Book of Mormon reveals that they are saved after all they can do. This book contains a helpful summary that compares Mormonism with Catholicism. The Catholic Church has stated that Mormons hold that there is no real Trinity. According to the Mormon Church their are three Gods.Mormon Rosary
"Mormon Rosary" is an easy to read book that is a synopsis of the essential points of the whole Gospel. Both Mormons and Catholics will grow in grace and in their knowledge of Jesus as they ponder these points within the framework of the beautiful rosary. Mormon readers will grow in knowledge of Catholic unique beliefs such as Mary, original sin, purgatory, the Trinity, infant baptism, and the Eucharist. Catholics will grow in grace as they ponder the life of Christ and his mother through this unique rendering of the rosary while becoming aware of Mormon beliefs from a Catholic perspective. The Catholic Church has stated that Mormons are to be considered unbaptized because a Mormon baptism is not valid. Mormons believe Jesus commanded that everyone should be married and that infant baptism is an evil abomination.