What Do Mormons Believe?
Many times people are ignorant concerning what the Mormons believe.
Mormons are a very peculiar people, but they claim to be Christians. We
will examine Mormon doctrine with the help of two books, Is Mormonism Christian?
by Gordon H. Frazier, and Mormonism:
Shadow or Reality, by Gerald and Sandra Tanner. (For a book
review of The God Makers,
by Ed Decker and Dave Hunt, please see
Do Mormons Believe (The God Makers)?)
The Mormon doctrine of salvation differs from the Biblical doctrine of
salvation by faith alone.
The Mormons believe in salvation by
faith and works. They put most of the emphasis upon living a
good and moral life. They believe that this life is a period
of probation for us, in which God measures us through a system of
merits and demerits. The Mormons believe that they themselves
will become gods someday when they have accumulated enough merit points
to pass their probation period.
Mormons believe that a series of four steps must be followed in order
to get to Heaven. The first step is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ;
second is repentance by which they mean cleaning up one's life; third
is water baptism, which is often perform by proxy or in the place of
someone else; and the fourth is the laying on of hands from an Aaronic
priest in order to receive the Holy Ghost.
Mormons also believe in self-atonement. They insist that
death be accompanied by the shedding of one's blood for his own sins.
This is to say that Christ's death on the cross was not sufficient.
This belief is the reason that capital punishment was carried out by
firing squad in Nevada for so many years. It yields the
necessary shedding of blood that electrocution or the gas chamber would
This belief went so far in the 19th century that there was a group of
Mormons called the Danites who systematically murdered those who had
committed particularly vile sins, or who had abandoned the church or
denied their prophet. They did these sinners a favor by
murdering them in a way in which their blood was spilled, so that they
would achieve self-atonement.
Though Mormons may deny their belief in universalism, they believe that
everyone, or almost everyone, will eventually be saved. They
believe that very few will go to Hell. They do allow for a
prison of the dead, but it seems to only apply to this life only.
Mormon doctrine on this subject is not well defined and even most
Mormons don't know what they believe about it.
The Mormons base their universal beliefs on Romans 5:12-19. They
interpret the word "all" to mean unbelievers as well as believers,
when what the passage is referencing is all who have received Christ as
savior. Universalism is refuted by the story of the rich man and Lazarus.
Mormons believe in progressive revelation from God. They
believe that an angel named Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith in 1823,
telling him where to find a set of tablets in a box, along with the Old
Testament Urim and Thummin. Smith then translated the plates into the
Book of Mormon and published in 1830. Smith's
cohorts included Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young.
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is the primary source of Mormon
revelation. They uphold the Bible also, but they believe that
the Book of Mormon is a necessary addition to the scriptures. In
reality, this book was simply made up by Smith. It was
written by him in King James style Elizabethan English. It has had to
be changed thousands of times in order to correct errors. For example, it was
supposedly originally written in 600 BC, and yet it quotes the New
Testament which was not written for another 650 years!
Other divine revelations include the Doctrine of Covenants,
Great Price, and The Book of Abraham.
The Book of Abraham was
supposedly translated in the 19th century from some ancient Egyptian
hieroglyphics. This was said to be a book written by the
Abraham of the Old Testament. During the Chicago fire, the
hieroglyphics were thought to have been destroyed. However,
they had not been destroyed, and they were found again in the 1960's.
They were given to the Mormon Church, and the Mormons asked one of the
own members, D. J. Nelson, an Egyptologist, to translate
them. Nelson reported that this was no Book of Abraham at
all, but an ancient Egyptian book of grieving. It was a pagan
funeral order, a praise to the sun god. Nelson was so upset
at the attempt of deception by the Mormons that he called them liars,
and he left the Mormon Church.
One of the tests of a true prophet in the Old Testament was that his
prophecies were always 100% fulfilled. By this standard the
Mormon prophets fail miserably in light of such predictions as Christ returning in the year 1891.
The Pre-existence of Souls
Mormons believe that man was in the beginning with God, instead of
being created by God like the Bible says. They believe that
God is just the offspring of a greater God. He was once just
a man like us, who passed his earthly probation, so he got to become a
god. Thus, they believe in a plurality of gods, since each of them will someday become a god.
The Mormons have serious problems when it comes to doctrines affected
by the dispensations. For example, they believe that John the
Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and ordained him into the Aaronic
priesthood. First of all, this scenario denies the priesthood
of the believer. Secondly, though John the Baptist was of the
priestly tribe, he was not a priest, and certainly not a high priest
who had the authority to pass on the Aaronic priesthood. Thirdly,
Joseph Smith was not of the family of Aaron, which was a
prerequisite for the Aaronic priesthood. Also, God no longer appears to men in visions.
Mormons place a great emphasis on the family, even to the extent of
practicing polygamy. The early Mormon leaders each had dozens
of wives. They thought that this would help them reach the
highest heaven, and they would have many wives in heaven. Due to
complaints of fellow citizens, polygamy has been
outlawed. The Mormons now simply try to have as many children
as possible. Originally this was viewed as an effective way
to quickly expand the Mormon movement. They also believe that
these children are their contribution to the effort of supplying
desperately needed bodies for the wandering spirits (pre-existence of
souls). These beliefs are refuted by Mark 10:2-6 and Matthew 19:2-5.
Mormonism also includes many secret services, rituals, and ceremonies,
carried over directly from Masonry, to which Joseph Smith belonged as a
member. This reminds us again of the ancient mystery
religions which used secrecy in their religions. On the contrary, there is nothing secretive about Christianity.
Another non-Christian trait of Mormonism is the way they have oppressed
African-Americans. Not until the 1970's were blacks even
allowed to become priests. When they were finally admitted to
the priesthood, Brigham Young's words were recalled, where he said that
the day a black became a priest, the Church would be accursed.
Owen Weber 2009