Even though Mormonism is considered by some theologians to be a branch of Christianity, they are two distinct religious teachings. We will explore the differences between these two religions further in this article.
Mormonism is a religious tradition founded by Joseph Smith in the 1820s. Being part of the Latter Day Saints movement, Mormonism has a lot of common beliefs with it. The history of Mormonism in the US is full of controversial episodes, such as the practice of open plural marriage. The official doctrine of Mormonism states that this tradition is a part of Christian tradition, claiming that it teaches things that Jesus Christ originally intended to teach. This claim is not shared by some Christian authorities, however, and the place of Mormonism among other Christian denominations remains uncertain.
Christianity is a monotheistic religion which is based on the life and the series of teaching of Jesus Christ, who is believed by the adepts of the religion to be an integral part of the Holy Trinity. The other two parts of the Holy Trinity are God and Holy Spirit. There are over 2.5 billion of Christians all over the world, which makes Christianity the largest existing religion in the world today.
|Several sacred texts are equally authoritative||The only religious authority is the Bible|
|Father, Son and Holy Spirit are separate from each other||Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of one substance|
|There is no such thing as “original sin”||A concept of original sin|
|Salvation is reached both via Faith and via Works, with emphasis on Works||In order to be saved, Christians have to have Faith|
|Life after Death is in three different spiritual Kingdoms||Life after death is either in Heaven or in Hell|
|Mary, a mother of Jesus Christ, had actual sexual intercourse with God and conceived a child||A doctrine of Mary as a Virgin|
In this analysis we consider only mainstream Christianity and mainstream Mormonism. There are a lot of sub-branches of each of these religions, and some topics of this analysis may be inapplicable to some of them.
- According to Christianity, the only source of Truth is The Bible. On the other hand, for Mormons several sacred texts are equally valid. They all project some sort of Divine revelation, whether it be The Doctrine and Covenants, The Bible or The Book of Mormon – they are all believed to have Truth to them and are equally established.
- Both Mormons and Christians believe in Trinity. The difference between the two religions is that Christians believe that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of one substance. They are three “persons” in one being. Mormonism, on the other hand, teaches that the three holy beings are separate from each other and do not represent a united Trinity.
- One of the key concepts of Christianity is the concept of Original Sin that claims that all men and women are sinners since the times when the episode known as “The Fall” took place, where Adam and Eve tasted a forbidden fruit. That is to say, sin is innate to the human being and nothing can be done to expurgate this matter entirely, except convert to Christianity and follow the rules of this religion. For Mormons, on the other hand, people originally were neither good nor bad. They have a choice to do good things or bad things (sins), but they have to face the consequences of their deeds later. What is good and what is bad for Mormons is described in a variety of Holy Books.
- For Mormons and Christians the means to get salvation and a place in the afterlife are different. For Christians, Faith is of the utmost importance. One may say, having Faith at each moment of one’s life is the one and the only condition for reaching Heaven. For Mormons, on the other hand, Faith is important, but what is more important are the Works human beings do in the course of their lives. The actual deeds one commits are more valuable in order to reach salvation. If a Mormon does bad things, he goes to Spiritual Hell after death regardless of how much Faith he’s got.
- Both Mormons and Christians believe in life after death. There are differences between the two religions, though, in the way things are going to be for those who have died. Christianity states that a human being deserves salvation and the eternal life in Heaven if he has kept Faith. If he went sideways as far as Faith is concerned, a human being is condemned and will go to Hell for the rest of his afterlife. For Mormons, there is no Heaven and Hell. There is a multilayered Spirit World instead. If one has been a devoted Mormon in the course of his life, then after death he deserves to be his own “God”, taking a place in the Spirit world among other spirits. If a Mormon has not been a devoted follower of the Mormon doctrine, then after his life he is sent to a spiritual prison, where he serves a term before the Judgement. And in extreme cases, when a Mormon follower has done something really bad, he is sent to the outer realm of the Spirit world, and is condemned to reside in eternity next to Satan and other notorious spirits.
- Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, conceived him actually as a virgin via the power of the Holy Spirit. That is what Christian doctrine states. For Mormons, on the other hand, the conception of Jesus Christ was the consequence of the actual sexual intercourse between God and Mary. God, prior to gaining his status, was a simple human being, according to Mormons. Jesus Christ, as a result, is a peculiar human being, half-god and half-human, and that is what makes him unique.
In this documentary you can see an exhaustive discussion that touches on the differences between Mormons and Christians: