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INFORMATIVE ESSAY

Informative Essay:
The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and Christianity
Sydney Lamkin
University of Kentucky

INFORMATIVE ESSAY

2
Abstract

The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and Christianity are two of the largest religious
organizations in the world today. Both are similar in values and some beliefs but are very
different in the application of what they believe; these comparisons can be explained using
Holfstedes cultural dimensions theory. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints or
Mormonism is a very restrictive, collective culture that places importance on family and church
ties. Where as, Christianity refrains from many some social norms but is a more indulgent culture
when compared to Mormonism. It is a more individualistic culture as well. Christians place
importance on church and family, but there are no set rules as there is in Mormonism. The
Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and Christianity are two religions that many people
devote their lives to following and in coming years may gain more popularity, therefore, they
deserve respect from all on-lookers no matter the differences.

Informative Essay:

INFORMATIVE ESSAY

The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and Christianity


Religion gives many people meaning and purpose in their lives; whether that is fulfilling
a personal calling or helping those in need, religion makes an impact on most today. Christianity
encompasses nearly two and a half billion people making it the largest religion in the world
today. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, a newly emerging and fast growing church,
contains about thirteen million members (Van Biema, 2009). The two are often compared as they
are two of the worlds largest religious groups. Mormonism and Christianity are similar in values
and some beliefs but are very different in the application of what they believe; these comparisons
can be explained using Holfstedes cultural dimensions theory.
Christianity is one of the oldest religions dating back to the first century and is still
thriving today as the top religion in practice. They believe the world was created out of nothing
by a supernatural being referred to as, God. God is three persons in one: God the son or Jesus,
God the father, and God the holy spirit. At the center of the belief system is Jesus Christ, playing
a major role in the Trinity as God the son. Jesus was sent to Earth to live a perfect life and later
be crucified. Here, he would take on the sins, or wrong doings, of all the world, past, present, and
future, and serve as the final sacrifice. Three days after the crucifixion, Jesus miraculously rose
from the dead which is the most important event in Christianity. He was on the Earth for forty
more days until he ascended to heaven, where he still remains today, as his followers watched.
The life of Jesus, as well as other stories, from his time period are told in a book, The
Bible. Christians use The Bible as a handbook, and hold it to be the sacred word of God.
Followers of Jesus view him as their savior, as he took on the sins of each person. Christians
believe that if they follow and form a relationship with Jesus when they die they will enter into

INFORMATIVE ESSAY

heaven. Heaven is a paradise with other believers, angels, and God. In heaven, believers will
reign among one another for all eternity.
America was founded on some of Christianity's very principles (Hall, 2011). Many moral
truths were implemented into the government by Christian founders of the United States, for
example, Hall points out in his article that these points are mentioned in the Declaration of
Independence as it states, all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (2011).
In short, Christianity played an important role in the establishment of North America. Although,
currently many of these values are evolving to fit new social norms.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a relatively new religion. US News
and World Report said, Mormonisms unique doctrines alone with its emphasis on family and
wholesome living may help explain why so many spiritual seekers are drawn to the LDS church
(Hadfield, Singer, Sheler, 2000). Founded in 1832, by Joseph Smith, it has grown into the fourth
largest religion in the world, as well as the richest. Joseph Smith was visited by an angel and was
led to a lost text revealing fourth century manuscripts accounting of Jesuss visit to North
America before his ascension into heaven. In 1830, Smith published a book similar to The Bible,
The Book of Mormon, which contains much of same texts, as well as added books from his
experiences. Although, The Book of Mormon has been changed over 3,000 times to correct errors
and remove offensive language, it is still held as sacred. Followers of the church hold The Book
of Mormon above The Bible and believe that any differences is a misinterpretation of The Bible.
Relatively similar to Christianity, Mormons believe Jesus was the son of God, but that
God is a literal man. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints does not believe in the Trinity.

INFORMATIVE ESSAY

They believe that Jesus did come to Earth and sacrifice himself for the salvation of others, but
that he received his powers to heal and save the world from his father. An elder of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, M. Russell Ballard Jr., summarizes the Mormon religion and
beliefs, We lived with Him before we came here Were striving to keep His commandments
so that when we die we can be entitled to receive all the blessings that the Heavenly Father has
for His children (Van Biem 2009). Mormons also believe that because so many did not have the
opportunity to proclaim their faith they are in a spirit prison, but members can baptize the
deceased and they will be released into heaven. In terms of an after life, depending on the level
of their faith, some Mormons will obtain godhood. These esteemed believers will be given their
own planet and people to rule over.
In comparison, using the Apostles Creed and The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day
Saints Articles of Faith, which are two documents stating the belief system of each religion, the
two are similar in some ways. Christians and Mormons both believe in Jesus the son of God, but
Christians believe in the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one. Opposed to Mormons
believing in each separately. Mormons also believe that humans are created in the literal image
of God, that he has a physical body, where as Christians do not. Christians abide by The Bible
and Mormons by The Book of Mormon, using The Bible secondarily.
In terms of an after life, Mormons believe in a short term, spiritual prison for the
deceased. Members are able to baptize the dead in order to release them into heaven. Where as
Christians believe in a long term heaven and hell. Those who believed in Jesus while living on
Earth will enter into heaven when they die. Unbelievers are sent to hell, where they will receive
eternal punishment. Both heaven and hell are for eternity, long term, there is no interchanging
between the two.

INFORMATIVE ESSAY

On the dimension of indulgence and restraint, both cultures remain from similar actions
prevalent in todays society. Mormon culture refrains from alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and
caffeine, as well as dressing modestly (Hadfield, Singer, Sheler, 2000). Christianity opposes
getting drunk, not necessarily alcohol, although many denominations can differ. Neither tobacco
or caffeine pose a problem in the Christian church, and modesty is recommended but a personal
decision.
Mormonism and Christianity both place major importance on chastity. Both religions
believe in sex only in the confines of marriage, with just one spouse. Although, still sparking
controversy today, Mormons defined polygamy as a divine principle until 1890 (McDermott,
Porter, 2008). Mormons take their decision to remain faithful a step further than most Christians.
Adult Mormons wear a holy undergarment, bought from the church after an oath has been taken,
to signify and remind themselves daily of this high, upheld belief. The Church of Jesus Christ
Latter-day Saints exercises restraint to a much further extent than Christianity. As Sheler,
Hadfield, and Singer said, When a Mormon teenager rebels they may sneak off and drink a
soda (2000).Christianity is not necessarily an indulgent culture, but participates much more in
cultural norms when compared to Mormonism.
Over seventy percent of the population in Utah are members of The Church of Jesus
Christ Latter-day Saints (Hadfield, Singer, Sheler, 2000). Mormons tend to live in very collective
societies and some outsiders have found this difficult. A World Report Article reports of a family
who moved to Utah faced many difficulties in social and business life. Followers of the church
tend to be very inclusive of its own but stand offish to non-mormon people (Hadfield, Singer,
Sheller). Mormons also place a large importance on family. Time is allocated each week for

INFORMATIVE ESSAY

families to spend time together in scripture and bonding as well as activities within the church.
Christianity is a more individualized culture, living in many diverse places, but coming together
as a church family each week to worship God. Both Mormons and Christians have been known
to come together to help communities in need and donate various resources to humanitarian aid.
Christianity and Mormonism are two of the leading religions in the world today. Both
cultures have similar beliefs in terms of history and personage but the two religions apply these
beliefs differently to their lives. The two religions can differ but still come together to help better
their communities and others through humanitarian aid and deserve respect from all no matter
the differences.

References
Coppins, M. (2012, January 25). A brief guide to mormon underwear. Retrieved from http://
www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/a-brief-guide-to-mormonunderwear#.bq8ZGorZx.

INFORMATIVE ESSAY

Dan, G. (2012, February 16). Explainer: how and why do mormons baptize the dead?. Retrieved
from http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/16/explainer-how-and-why-do-mormonsbaptize-the-dead/.
Hall, M. (2011, June 7). Did america have a christian founding?. Retrieved from http://
www.heritage.org/research/lecture/2011/06/did-america-have-a-christianfounding.
Van Biema, D. (2009, June 22). The church and gay marriage: are mormons misunderstood?
Retrieved from http://archive.is/AlfS#selection-349.0-349.55.
Neuhaus, R. J. (2000). Is mormon christian?. First Things: A Monthly Journal Of Religion &
Public Life, (101), 97-102. Retrieved from the University of Kentucky Library
Database

website: http://libraries.uky.edu/DBSearch

Porter, B. D., & McDermott, G. R. (2008). Is mormonism christian?. First Things: A Monthly
Journal Of Religion & Public Life, (186), 35-41. Retrieved from Retrieved from
the

University of Kentucky library database website:

http://libraries.uky.edu/DBSearch
Sheler, J. L., Hadfield, P., & Singer, R. (2000). The mormon moment. U.S. News & World
Report, 129(19), 58. Retrieved from Retrieved from the University of Kentucky
library

database website: http://libraries.uky.edu/DBSearch

Van Biema, D. (2009). The storm over the mormons. Time, 173(24), 48-53. Retrieved from
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http://libraries.uky.edu/DBSearch

INFORMATIVE ESSAY