Main Street Church
SCRIPTURE & DOCTRINAL REFERENCE GUIDE
• bible passages used to support mormon doctrine • contradictions within mormon scriptures
• bible & book of mormon contradictions
• same words, different meanings

Scripture Reference:
Comparing Mormon & Christian Doctrine

Mormon doctrine and theology is not simple or systematic. Progressive revelation means that some doctrinal interpretations are ambiguous and even contradictory. What we provide here are mainstream, historical doctrines that the LDS Church has taught throughout its history and that is still being taught today. Many of Mormonism's unbiblical doctrines are kept out of the view of the public, and sometimes even of LDS members themselves.

Topic
Mormonism
Christianity
Nature of God:
The Trinity
The "Trinity" is the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit, but are separate entities, though one in purpose. The Son is not eternal, but is a created being (that is, there was a time he did not exist in his current form, and therefore a time when the Father was not the Father.)

It is also important to note that the Book of Mormon seems to present a Trinitarian view of God practically identical to Christian orthodoxy (see 2 Nephi 31:21 and Alma 11:44); it is only in subsequent writings and teachings that the Mormon deviation from orthodoxy is revealed.

The Trinity is the concept of one eternal God, eternally manifest in three different "persons", The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; inseparable; one in nature, purpose, and being.

The doctrine of the Trinity is, to put it simply, the synthesis of the Bible's declaration that there is one God; and that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are God.

References:
Matthew 3:16
Matthew 28:18-19
Luke 1:35
John 20:21-22

Nature of God:
Deity of Jesus Christ
Jesus is "divine", but only in the sense of being an exalted man. He is not considered equal to the Father, therefore, is not to be worshipped in the same way as the Father. He was a created being, and separate from God the Father. Jesus is the "spirit brother" (see "Pre-existence") of Lucifer and, ultimately, all humans; his uniqueness was based on the fact that he was conceived physically by God the Father. (See "Virgin Birth")

References:
JS History 1:17

Surprisingly, this teaching is actually contradicted in the Book of Mormon, which clearly portrays Jesus as being God himself:
2 Nephi 11:7
2 Nephi 26:12
Mosiah 15:1-5
Alma 11:38-39
D&C 20:28

Jesus is called the Son of God, and is portrayed as being one with God (John 10:30), being God (John 1:1-3), and even the Old Testament prophesies point to a "Son" that will be called "Mighty God" (Isaiah 9:6). He is to be worshipped as God (e.g. Luke 24:52) See also Philippians 2:5-7; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3.
Nature of God:
The Holy Spirit / Holy Ghost
The "Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit" are distinct terms in Mormonism. The "Holy Ghost" is the third personage of the godhead, while the "Holy Spirit" represents the presence of God but not a distinct personage.

References:
Jacob 6:8
D&C 121:26
D&C 130:22

"Holy Spirit" and "Holy Ghost" are one and the same ("Holy Ghost" most commonly used in the King James version, "Holy Spirit" in more contemporary translations); The Holy Spirit is an entity, not merely a representational term, and yet is equated with God (for example, Acts 5:3-4 uses the Holy Spirit and God interchangeably.) The Holy Spirit is eternal (Hebrews 9:14) and one who teaches (John 14:26).
Nature of God:
Spirit vs. Body
Mormonism teaches that God the Father is an exalted man, with a body (D&C 130:22), and that men can become gods (D&C 88:107).

Prophet Lorenzo Snow's famous couplet "As man is, God once was, as God is, man may become" is backed up by many other statements from Joseph Smith forward.

God is spirit, (John 4:24) and the idea of a man becoming as God is, is considered blasphemy. Jesus himself was accused of blasphemy for claiming to be God (John 10:33); and it would have been, had he not been God. Here a distinction needs to be made between God becoming man (incarnation), which the Bible teaches; and man becoming God (exaltation), which has no biblical foundation.
Nature of Man:
Pre-existence
Mormonism teaches than humans are incarnated "spirit children" of God the Father, as is Jesus and Lucifer, and that we existed in Heaven prior to our birth on earth. (D&C 93:23 & 29)

There is an additional aspect to the "Pre-existence" that states that all of us; humans, Jesus, God, and whatever gods there be, pre-existed in eternity past as "Intelligences" prior to joining the process of eternal progression. (Click here to see a "map" of the LDS cosmology.)

The Bible speaks of pre-knowledge, but there is nothing to suggest existence prior to conception (e.g., Jeremiah 1:5).

Nature of Man:
Sin Nature / The Fall

Mormonism teaches that Adam's sin opened the way for God's ultimate "plan of salvation" (exaltation), and that only through that plan can men be exalted (become gods). (See 2 Nephi 2:22 and following.) Mormonism further teaches that were it not for the fall, there would be no procreation (Moses 5:11). The Bible teaches that Adam's sin introduced sin to all mankind; while it necessitated God's plan of salvation (redemption through Jesus Christ), it did not "open the way" to godhood. There is nothing to indicate that procreation was only possible because of the fall.
Nature of Man:
Eternal Potential
Mormonism teaches that worthy men can become gods (and women goddesses), equal to God. Less worthy individuals are then assigned to varying degrees of heaven, with the worst of the bunch (i.e., apostate Mormons) in eternal "outer darkness". The Bible teaches that the eternal destiny of mankind is one of two things--eternal life with God for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ; those are made immortal and perfected (but not gods); and eternal separation from God (hell) for those who do not.
The Virgin Birth While this doctrine is debated in some LDS circles, principally because of its disturbing implications, the commonly held belief (which is supported by what apostles have taught throughout the history of the church) is that Jesus Christ was conceived as the result of a physical union of God the Father and Mary. The Bible teaches that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that Mary remained a virgin until after the birth of Jesus.
The True Church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church currently in existence on the earth. It is the restoration of what had been lost in the first decades of the church. The "true church" is invisible, and is comprised of all people who have placed their faith in the true Jesus Christ, and is not bound by any denomination or tradition. The denial of an apostate church is based on Jesus' promise that "the gates of hell will not overcome it" (Matthew 16:18).
The Gospel In Mormonism, the Gospel is referred to as the "restored" gospel, God's "plan of salvation" which involves pre-existing spirit children to be born of earthly parents, pass through life on earth, and be given the opportunity to, via their earthly worthiness, eventually reach exaltation (godhood). In Christianity, the gospel is the redemption of fallen humanity by the sacrifice and free gift of Jesus Christ, through faith in Him alone, which saves from eternal separation from God (hell) and grants eternal life (being with God forever).
Salvation / Afterlife Salvation in Mormonism has a dual meaning; one is universal salvation, which is what the sacrifice of Jesus brought all people, good and evil alike, and refers only to resurrection from the dead.

The other salvation is essentially referring to exaltation, which is dependent upon one's worthiness and obedience on Earth.

Salvation is the free gift of Jesus Christ to all who believe in him; it is salvation from hell, and salvation to eternal life with God.
Heaven Mormonism teaches that there are three levels of Heaven; the Celestial (which itself has three degrees, see D&C 131), Terrestrial, and Telestial. The Celestial is reserved for faithful Mormons (and the highest degree for those married in the temple). The terrestrial is reserved for those who were decent people who rejected the Mormon gospel, and the telestial for those who are wicked. (See D&C 88:21-24) Heaven is the dwelling place of God, and the destination of those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Creation Mormonism generally teaches that creation was more of a "reorganization" of existing matter. D&C 93:29; D&C 104:14; Abraham 4:1. However, several verses from the Book of Mormon do seem to allow for an ex nilo creation. (e.g., Jacob 4:9) The Bible teaches that creation was ex nilo, i.e., creation out of nothing.
The Bible Mormonism teaches that the Bible has been corrupted, and that vital portions have been lost, deleted, or distorted, and that the LDS scriptures are a restoration of what was lost in the Bible. Orthodox Christianity rests upon the authority of the Bible alone as the Word of God.
God(s): Plural vs. unique Mormonism has historically taught in a plurality of gods, presumably of other worlds, albeit that we are to worship only the god of this world. (This teaching has been significantly de-emphasized, at least in any public arena, in modern Mormonism.) The Bible makes it extremely clear that God alone is God, and there is no other.

Mark 12:29
Isaiah 44:6



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