Mormonism and Christianity

What's the Difference?

life in Hebrew

Whether Mormons should be considered "Christians" is a controversial issue. Many Catholics and Protestants do not consider Mormons to be Christians because they believe the differences in doctrines are larger and more fundamental than those between Christian denominations. (Also see Roman Catholicism and Protestantism)

On other hand, religious studies books tend to group Mormons in with Christians because: (1) Mormons regard themselves as Christians; (2) Mormonism emerged in a Christian context; and (3) Mormonism shares much in common with other forms of Christianity. (See the History of Mormonism)

Mormons also consider themselves Christians for much the same reasons as listed above. However, they consider themselves to be significantly different from other forms of Christianity. They regard themselves as neither Catholic nor Protestant, viewing both of those faiths as corruptions of true Christianity, which has been restored by Mormonism. [1] (See Christian beliefs)

The following chart provides a quick-reference guide to the major similarities and differences between the beliefs and practices of Mormonism and mainstream Christianity. As is the case with charts, the information is simplified for brevity and should be used alongside more complete explanations. The beliefs listed for both Mormons and Protestant Christians represent those of most, but not all, churches or individuals within each tradition.



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Religious Authority All sacred texts equally,
continuing revelations
Bible (all), ecumenical councils and creeds (Catholic and Orthodox), official papal pronouncements (Catholic), continuing revelations (Pentecostal)
Sacred Texts Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great PriceBible (some include Apocrypha)
  Mormonism Texts Christianity Texts
TrinityRejected - Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct beings who are "one in purpose"Affirmed - Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of the "same substance"; three persons in one being
    See The Trinity
GodHeavenly Father, who has a physical bodyTrinitarian God, who does not have a body
  See God in Mormonism See God in Christianity
Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior, originally one of the spirit beings that all humans used to be (see Jesus Christ). Has a physical body. Son of God, Word of God, God, second Person of the Trinity (see Christology)
  See Jesus Christ in Mormonism See Jesus Christ in Christianity
Holy Spirit A spirit being who is a separate being from God and Jesus. God, Third Person of the Trinity
  See the Holy Spirit in Mormonism See the Holy Spirit in Christianity
Original sin Denied (see Human Nature) Affirmed (by most denominations)
  See Human Nature in Mormonism See Human Nature in Christianity
Free will Free to do good or evil Free will to do good is seriously impaired
Purpose of Christ's Incarnation Teach about God, provide a model for right living, die sacrificially for human sin (see Jesus Christ) Teach about God, provide a model for right living, die sacrificially for human sin, reveal God directly to humanity
Resurrection of Christ?YesYes
Salvation Both faith and works; works emphasized Both faith and works; faith emphasized (in most denominations)
  See Salvation in Mormonism See Salvation in Christianity
Second chance after death? Yes, during a period of "learning and preparation" after deathNo
Afterlife All spirits go to the spirit world, undergo preparation, then rejoin with bodies in the resurrection (see Afterlife). The good spend the intervening time in spirit paradise, while the wicked go to spirit prison. Souls of wicked sent to Hell, believers go to Heaven for eternity (see Afterlife). In Catholicism, many believers will suffer in Purgatory before going to Heaven.
  See the Afterlife in Mormonism See the Afterlife in Christianity
Hell The wicked enter an unpleasant "spirit prison" prior to judgment; after that, only the most obstinately wicked (like Satan) will be consigned to "Outer Darkness" for eternity.Place (or state of being) of eternal torment and distance from God.
Place of Worship Chapel or Temple Church
Meaning of Sacraments (Chr) or Ordinances (LDS) Ordinances are covenants between man and God and a means of grace. Some of them are necessary for salvation.Symbolic acts commanded by Christ (some Protestant); means of grace if received with faith (Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant).
Sacraments (Chr) or Ordinances (LDS) Include baptism, confirmation, the sacrament (Lord's Supper), laying on of hands, ordination, temple endowment, and marriage sealing (see Temple Ordinances) Two common to all denominations: Baptism and Lord's Supper. Total of seven in Catholicism.
  See Mormon practices See Christianity practices
Symbols No official symbol; cross is not used; the angel Moroni raising a trumpet is seen atop Mormon temples
See Mormon Symbols
Cross, fish and others
    See Christianity symbols
Holidays Easter, Christmas, national and local holidays, birthdays, celebrations of events in Mormon history Easter, Christmas, saints' days, several others
  See holidays in Mormonism See holidays in Christianity

Also: Compare Mormonism with Jehovah's Witnesses


  1. "Core Beliefs and Doctrines."; "Are you Christians?"
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