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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
“firstborn” of God’s billions of existed in heaven before his human life
spirit children and the first to (John 3:31). He did not become a God, but
become a God. (See our has always been God (John 1:1). He is called
discussion of chapter 2 and the “firstborn of all creation” (Colossians
chapter 3 of Gospel Principles.) 1:15) to mean that he is the Father’s primary
heir, not that he was the first spirit being
created.

2. Jesus Christ is one of three Jesus Christ is one of three divine persons
Gods in the “Godhead,” as is the (Matthew 28:19), but these three persons are
Holy Spirit, another of God’s one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 1
spirit sons. (See our discussion Corinthians 8:4-6), not three Gods or God
of chapter 7 of Gospel and two of his sons.
Principles.)

3. Jesus Christ is not the proper Even Mormons admit that faithful Israelites
recipient of prayer; we may pray prayed to Jesus (whom they identify as
only to the Father in Jesus’ Jehovah) in the Old Testament. The New
name. (See our discussion of Testament also affirms praying to Jesus
chapter 8 of Gospel Principles.) (John 14:14; Romans 10:9-14; 2 Corinthians
12:7-9; 1 John 5:13-15).

4. Jesus Christ is the “Only In the Bible, calling Jesus the “only-begotten
Begotten,” which means that he Son” refers to his eternal nature and status as
is the only human being whom God’s unique, divine Son (John 1:14, 18).
God the Father literally begat in Jesus was conceived “from the Holy Spirit”
the flesh. God is Jesus’ father in (Matthew 1:18), not as God’s physical
the flesh and Mary is his mother offspring (an idea nowhere taught even in
(Gospel Principles, 52-53). the LDS scriptures).

5. Jesus Christ “inherited divine Jesus did not “inherit” divine powers by
powers from His Father” when being God’s physical offspring because he
he became a human being was already, as even LDS scriptures say,
(Gospel Principles, 53). “the Lord Omnipotent…from all eternity to
all eternity” (Mosiah 3:5, quoted in Gospel
Principles, 52).

6. Jesus Christ “organized the Jesus Christ appointed apostles as his


only true Church” with a system authoritative witnesses, not as custodians of
of priesthood “authority” a priesthood to run a religious organization.
required to teach or baptize Rather, the whole church is a “royal
others (Gospel Principles, 55). priesthood” based not on ritual but on
relationship to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-10).

7. Jesus Christ suffered to atone Jesus Christ did agonize in prayer in


for our sins in Gethsemane, Gethsemane, but he did not bleed from every
bleeding from “every pore” pore, and he atoned for our sins on the cross,
(D&C 19:18-19; Gospel not in Gethsemane (Ephesians 2:16;
Principles, 52, 56). Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24). (We will
discuss this subject in more detail in our
response to chapter 12 of Gospel Principles.)

8. Jesus Christ atoned for the Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice is sufficient
sins of every human being, to pay for the sins of the whole world, but
guaranteeing resurrection to only those whom God actually saves through
immortal life in some heavenly faith will be resurrected to immortal
kingdom to all, including heavenly life (1 Corinthians 15:20-23,
unbelievers (Gospel Principles, 50-57). (We will also discuss this subject in
61-62). our response to chapter 12 of Gospel
Principles.)

9. Jesus Christ “appeared to the After Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:9-11), he was
Nephites and established His to remain in heaven until his second coming
Church in the Americas” shortly (Acts 3:19-21). There are many other
after his ascension (Gospel reasons to question the Book of Mormon
Principles, 57; see 3 Nephi account from a biblical perspective. (See our
10:18; 11:12). response to chapter 10 of Gospel Principles.)

10. Jesus Christ (and God the Jesus Christ promised the apostles that the
Father) appeared to Joseph gates of Hades (death) would not prevail
Smith to tell him to join none of against his church and that he would be with
the churches because all of them his disciples until the end of the age
were wrong and their creeds an (Matthew 16:18; 28:20). These promises are
abomination (Joseph Smith— not consistent with Joseph Smith’s claim that
History 1:7-20; Gospel Jesus told him the churches were all so
Principles, 96). 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.)