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Jesus Christ: Ten Doctrines that Divide Mormonism and Biblical Christianity

The following table lists ten major LDS teachings about Jesus Christ that differ from those of biblical Christianity. In most cases, Mormons claim that their belief agrees with at least some statements in the Bible. However, in each case the LDS doctrine does not derive from the Bible and in fact disagrees with the Bible. Some, but not all, of these doctrines are mentioned in chapter 11 of the LDS doctrinal manual Gospel Principles. Some of these doctrines we have discussed in reference to early chapters of Gospel Principles, as noted in the table.

LDS Teaching about Christ

Biblical Teaching about Christ

1.

Jesus Christ is just the

Jesus Christ is the only human being who existed in heaven before his human life (John 3:31). He did not become a God, but has always been God (John 1:1). He is called the “firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) to mean that he is the Father’s primary heir, not that he was the first spirit being created.

“firstborn” of God’s billions of spirit children and the first to become a God. (See our discussion of chapter 2 and chapter 3 of Gospel Principles.)

2.

Jesus Christ is one of three

Jesus Christ is one of three divine persons (Matthew 28:19), but these three persons are one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6), not three Gods or God and two of his sons.

Gods in the “Godhead,” as is the Holy Spirit, another of God’s spirit sons. (See our discussion of chapter 7 of Gospel Principles.)

3.

Jesus Christ is not the proper

Even Mormons admit that faithful Israelites prayed to Jesus (whom they identify as Jehovah) in the Old Testament. The New Testament also affirms praying to Jesus (John 14:14; Romans 10:9-14; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; 1 John 5:13-15).

recipient of prayer; we may pray only to the Father in Jesus’ name. (See our discussion of chapter 8 of Gospel Principles.)

4.

Jesus Christ is the “Only

In the Bible, calling Jesus the “only-begotten Son” refers to his eternal nature and status as God’s unique, divine Son (John 1:14, 18). Jesus was conceived “from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18), not as God’s physical offspring (an idea nowhere taught even in the LDS scriptures).

Begotten,” which means that he is the only human being whom God the Father literally begat in the flesh. God is Jesus’ father in the flesh and Mary is his mother (Gospel Principles, 52-53).

5.

Jesus Christ “inherited divine

Jesus did not “inherit” divine powers by being God’s physical offspring because he was already, as even LDS scriptures say, “the Lord Omnipotent…from all eternity to all eternity” (Mosiah 3:5, quoted in Gospel

powers from His Father” when

he became a human being (Gospel Principles, 53).

 

6.

Jesus Christ “organized the

Jesus Christ appointed apostles as his authoritative witnesses, not as custodians of a priesthood to run a religious organization. Rather, the whole church is a “royal priesthood” based not on ritual but on relationship to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-10).

only true Church” with a system of priesthood “authority” required to teach or baptize others (Gospel Principles, 55).

7.

Jesus Christ suffered to atone

Jesus Christ did agonize in prayer in Gethsemane, but he did not bleed from every pore, and he atoned for our sins on the cross, not in Gethsemane (Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24). (We will discuss this subject in more detail in our response to chapter 12 of Gospel Principles.)

for our sins in Gethsemane,

bleeding from “every pore” (D&C 19:18-19; Gospel Principles, 52, 56).

8.

Jesus Christ atoned for the

Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice is sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world, but only those whom God actually saves through faith will be resurrected to immortal heavenly life (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 50-57). (We will also discuss this subject in our response to chapter 12 of Gospel Principles.)

sins of every human being, guaranteeing resurrection to immortal life in some heavenly kingdom to all, including unbelievers (Gospel Principles,

61-62).

9.

Jesus Christ “appeared to the

After Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:9-11), he was to remain in heaven until his second coming (Acts 3:19-21). There are many other reasons to question the Book of Mormon account from a biblical perspective. (See our response to chapter 10 of Gospel Principles.)

Nephites and established His Church in the Americas” shortly

after his ascension (Gospel

Principles, 57; see 3 Nephi 10:18; 11:12).

10. Jesus Christ (and God the Father) appeared to Joseph Smith to tell him to join none of the churches because all of them were wrong and their creeds an abomination (Joseph Smith— History 1:7-20; Gospel Principles, 96).

Jesus Christ promised the apostles that the gates of Hades (death) would not prevail against his church and that he would be with his disciples until the end of the age (Matthew 16:18; 28:20). These promises are not consistent with Joseph Smith’s claim that Jesus told him the churches were all so wrong that he could not be part of any of them. (We will discuss these issues in more detail in our responses to chapters 16 and 17 of Gospel Principles.)