Week 8 APO102 – Mormonism

This Week’s Downloads:

Week Date Topic Student Notes Audio PowerPoint Teacher


8 4/15 Mormonism Notes MP3 PPT Notes

Homework Downloads:

Chapter Summary

Class Outline

I. History of Mormonism

II. Doctrinal Differences

III. Sharing the Gospel with a Mormon


Is a Mormon a Christian? Bad question.

A better question is: is Mormonism Christianity Here[1]

The short answer is Mormonism ≠ Christianity


I. History of Mormonism

a. History of the Man: Joseph Smith, Jr.

Joseph Smith (1805-1844)

  • Born December 23, 1805
  • Had a vision at 14 in which he believed to see the Father and the Son
    • He asked what church he should join
    • “none” because they are all “wrong and corrupt”
  • 1823 – the angel Moroni appears to Joseph and tells him of the gold plats which continents
  • 1827 – Smith dug up the plats and begins translating them in to what would become the Book of Mormon
  • 1830 – Smith publishes Book of Mormon
  • 1831-1844 – Mormon church is established and persecuted and during this time Smith continued to receive revelations as to where to go and what to do
  • 1833 – the first version of the Doctrine and Covenants
  • 1843 – Smith’s revelation regarding polygamy were announced
  • 1844 – Nauvoo Expositor published stories exposing the Mormon practice of polygamy
    • Smith (as Mayor and lieutenant general of Nauvoo) ordered the destruction of the news paper and for all non-Mormons
    • Smith is jailed
    • 200 attack the jail to brake him out, and Smith dies in the gun fighting


b. History of the Movement: (1844-Present)

Brigham Young (1801-1877)

  • 1844 – Young takes leadership of the LDS
  • 1847 – Moves center of the movement to Utah
  • He taught that Jesus had been conceived by the literal sexual relations between God the Father and the Virgin Mary
  • Young established polygamy as the formal practice of the church
    • Not formally rescinded till 1890 due to federal laws against it

Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898)

  • 4th president of the LDS
  • Rescinded polygamy as a practice (but not as a doctrine)

Twentieth Century Mormonism

  • “Mormonism is Christianity; Christianity is Mormonism”
  • “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unequivocally affirm themselves to be Christians.”[2]

II. Doctrinal Differences

Lots of resources here https://www.monergism.com/topics/cults-heresy-heretics/lds-mormonism

And here https://carm.org/mormonism

Video on “If Mormon missionaries told the truth Here[3]

a. Primary

Mormons have different definitions of Gospel, repentance, salvation, grace, Hell, and nearly every term you’ll be using in your conversation. If you fail to explicitly define your terms, you could easily leave the conversation thinking you’re both in complete agreement. (Ask, “What do you mean by that?” early and often!)”[4]

Biblical Terms Redefined by Mormons Here[5]

Here are a few:

GOD: Usually means God the Father. He was once a man like us capable of physical death and he progressed until he became a God. He has a body of flesh and bones, but no blood. Within Mormonism, Gods, angels, people and devils all have the same nature or substance but are at different stages along the line of progression to Godhood.

GRACE – The Mormon concept of grace means making oneself worthy of the grace of God by doing good works in the church, temple, and community.

JEHOVAH: The pre-incarnate name for Jesus Christ.

JESUS CHRIST: The spirit of Jesus Christ was the first spirit born to God the Father and his wife (Heavenly Mother). He progressed to become a God under the Father. (The Father is also the literal father of Jesus’ body in the exact same way we were begotten by our earthly parents.) He now has a body of flesh and bones, but no blood. He is the spirit brother of Satan whose spirit was procreated in the same way as Jesus’.

SATAN: One of the spirit children of God. As a consequence of their rebellion Satan and his angels cannot have mortal bodies – hence cannot progress.

TRINITY: This word is used by Christians to summarize the Biblical teaching that within the one true God is three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. They share the same nature or substance so that there are not three Gods, but three persons in the one God. Mormons say they also believe in the Trinitarian concept of God. But really what they mean are that God the Father is a God, God the Son is another God, and God the Holy Ghost is a third God and they are “one God” because they are “one in purpose.” Mormons often have an incorrect understanding of what Christians mean by the “Trinity.” They say Christians believe that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one person (i.e., Monophysiteism) or that God shows himself as the Father or the Son or the Holy Ghost (i.e. Modalism).

VIRGIN BIRTH: A concept negated by the view that God, a resurrected man with flesh and bones according to Mormon teachings, literally fathered Jesus in the flesh in the same way in which earthly men father their children. Despite the documented position of previous Mormon prophets, presidents, and apostles about the nature of Christ’s conception, modern LDS apologists maintain that “Christ was born of a virgin”. How can they? By changing the definition of the word “virgin”. The reasoning goes like this: since Mary had sexual relations with an immortal man, not a mortal man, the phrase “virgin birth” still applies.

Differences Between Mormonism and Christianity Here[6]

  • On the Church
  • The Great Apostasy
  • After Death
  • Divine Salvation
  • The Roll of Good Works
  • The symbol of the Cross
  • Christ death for sins
  • The New and Everlasting Covenant
  • Marriage
  • Baptism for the Dead
  • Other Gods
  • The Trinity
  • Nature of Humans
  • Nature of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
  • Racism
  • Polygamy
  • The Temple
  • The Bible

b. Secondary

The Nature of God[7]

God the Father is a personage of flesh, not spirit:

First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret. If the vail was rent to-day, and the great God, who holds this world in its orbit, and upholds all things by his power; if you were to see him to-day, you would see him in all the person, image and very form as a man;… (Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pp.613-14, 1844)

God is not omniscient:

We are now, or may be, as perfect in our sphere as God and Angels are in theirs, but the greatest intelligence in existence (God) can continually ascend to greater heights of perfection (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 93,1852).

God is not omnipotent:

God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end (Wiltord Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 120, 1857).

God has not always been God:

He is our Father- the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted Being (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333,1859).



Mormon vs Biblical Teachings about Jesus

Mormon Teaching Biblical Teaching
Conception Jesus was conceived by physical union between God the Father and Mary 1 Jesus was conceived supernaturally by the Holy Spirit 2
Marital Status Jesus had several wives 3 No indication that Jesus was married 4
Relationship to Satan Jesus was the brother of Lucifer (Satan) 5 Satan is only a fallen, created angel 6
Origin Jesus was created 7,11 Jesus always was, is now, and forever shall be God; all things were created through Jesus 8
Deity The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct gods 9 There is only one God, but three distinct Persons in the Godhead 10
His Constancy Jesus is our elder brother who progressed to become a god 11 Jesus has existed as God eternally 12
Role in Our Salvation Jesus Christ plays only an initial role in our salvation 13 Salvation is through trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross alone, apart from any work by us 14
Certain sins are beyond the atoning blood of Christ 15 Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was complete 16
Jesus is only one of many saviors 17 Jesus is the one and only Savior 18
Personal Relationship A personal relationship with Christ is discouraged as false doctrine 19 A personal relationship with Christ is a central part of Christianity 20



The Nature of Man[9]

Mormon vs Biblical Teachings about Man

Mormon Teaching Biblical Teaching
Origin Man was a pre-existent spirit 1 Man was created by God 2
Progression Man can progress to become a God 3 Man can be redeemed and reborn but will always be a man 4
Sin Adam’s fall was a ‘fall upward’; it was not sinful 5 Adam’s sin caused spiritual and physical death for all men 6
Marriage Man can marry for eternity and rule over a planet of his spirit children 7 There is no marriage in heaven 8
Man may have multiple wives simultaneously 9 Plural marriage has always been an abomination to God 10
Priesthood Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods are restored and necessary 11 Jesus superceded the Old Testament priesthood – all Christians are priests 12
God’s Children All of us are children of God 13 One becomes a child of God only by faith in Christ Jesus 14




“His sacrifice empowers the plan of salvation.”[10]

Mormon vs Biblical Teachings about Salvation

Mormon Teaching Biblical Teaching
How? Salvation comes through faith plus baptism plus works 1 Salvation comes only through receiving the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, apart from any work by us 2
The Gospel Gospel = Christ’s death plus our obedience to laws, principles, rites 3 Gospel = message of Christ’s complete redemptive work 4
The Only Way The LDS church is the only way to enter the highest heaven 5 Jesus is the only way to heaven 6
Heaven There are three levels of heaven 7 There is one heaven of God 8
Hell There is no eternal hell 9 There is a literal hell 10
For Whom? Salvation is universal 11 Salvation is only for those who trust Christ 12
The Dead The dead outside of Christ can get to heaven by proxy baptism 13 This life is our only chance to receive Christ 14



8. Momon Progression 1


8. Momon Progression 2


III. Sharing the Gospel with Mormons

  1. Preparation:
  2. Define Terms

“Mormons have different definitions of Gospel, repentance, salvation, grace, Hell, and nearly every term you’ll be using in your conversation. If you fail to explicitly define your terms, you could easily leave the conversation thinking you’re both in complete agreement. (Ask, “What do you mean by that?” early and often!)”[11]


  1. Memorize Scripture

Verses to Memorized Here[12] (100 of them) by James White

8 Sections

  1. Authority of God’s Word
  2. The Mormon Testimony (Burning in the bosom)
  3. God
  4. Jesus and Lucifer
  5. Blood Atonement
  6. Priest Hood
  7. Salvation
  8. Miscellaneous


  1. Context of the Conversation
  • One-time opportunity?
  • Recurring opportunity?


  1. Direction Destination
  2. Destination
  • Pick a topic:
    • Who is Jesus Christ?
    • The Nature of God
    • Authority of the Bible
  • If you’re handing out a tract, make sure you know what it says and are ready to talk about the topic it covers
  • Lead with questions
  • Define terms as you go
  1. Direction
  • Determine where they are and begin taking them where they need to go
  • Avoid dead ends
  • When you get off topic, build bridges back to the topic


  1. Be Patient
  • Most Mormons to leave their faith at the end of a single conversation



Resources to Help You Respond to Mormonism Here[13]


James White Here[14] (with Mormons in particular, but good advice in general)

Things to remember

  • Context
  • Have a direction and destination (avoid dead ends)
  • When you get off topic, build bridges back to the topic


Sharing with Mormons



Evangelism Tracts (from CARM.org)

The Warning Tract

Verses to Know When Witnessing to Mormons

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjmg45NLFmQ

[2] https://www.lds.org/topics/christians?lang=eng

[3] https://vimeo.com/149237411

[4] https://www.str.org/blog/who-god-mormonism#.WtKLj9TwbIV

[5] http://www.leaderu.com/offices/michaeldavis/docs/mormonism/definitions.html

[6] http://www.mormoninfo.org/

[7] http://vintage.aomin.org/ldstheology.html

[8] http://www.leaderu.com/offices/michaeldavis/docs/mormonism/jesus.html

[9] http://www.leaderu.com/offices/michaeldavis/docs/mormonism/definitions.html

[10] https://www.mormon.org/beliefs/jesus-christ

[11] https://www.str.org/blog/who-god-mormonism#.WtKLj9TwbIV

[12] http://vintage.aomin.org/MEMVER.html

[13] http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/resources-to-help-you-respond-to-mormonism/?utm_content=buffer6e5b5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

[14] https://youtu.be/aqPVuHzZ1gc?t=2h11s

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