Mormonism Part 3
Prepared and Presented by Leanne Donovan, Youth Group Leader
Continuation of theological differences between Mormon and Protestant church teachings:
- The Mormon Church teaches that you must work for your salvation. On their website, churchofjesuschrist.org, it says that the key to eternal life is dependent upon “One’s worthiness in this life through living the gospel and keeping the commandments.”
- The Protestant Church believes that a person is condemned or justified based on their response to Jesus Christ—He covers their sin and counts them righteous when they put their faith in him as Savior. Ephesians 2:8-9 states that we are saved by grace through faith but not by works so that no man can boast. No matter how well-behaved or faithful we can be, it is Christ who did the saving work, and trusting in that work brings us into his family.
- The Mormon Church teaches that there are three levels of heaven, or three “kingdoms of glory”, taken in part from the verse in John that says “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” We read that as “there is room for all of us”, but Joseph Smith had a vision where he interpreted it as three different levels.
- The 1st level , the Telestial Kingdom, is for those who rejected or never believed in Jesus, yet did not deny the Holy Spirit. (Based on Doctrine and Covenants—“These are they who are received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus. These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit… thrust down to hell.”) . They will go to spirit prison, a temporary hell, until the final resurrection day when the Lord has finished his work—at that point He will gather them up and grant them salvation, to the mansion assigned for them.
- The second level of heaven, the Terrestrial Kingdom, will be for those who did good works and accepted the story of Jesus but were at some point deceived by the craftiness of men. Those that make it into the second level will be able to feel the presence of the Son, but not the fullness of the Father.
- The third level of heaven, the Celestial Kingdom, is for those who believe in Jesus according to the Mormon faith, repent of sins, and obey all the commandments with superb consistency. To reach the highest degree within this kingdom, one would have to have been sealed into eternal marriage in the Temple of the LDS. It is in this Celestial Kingdom that the married couple will become the gods of their own planet and fill it with spirit babies for eternity.
The Protestant Church teaches that there is one heaven as well as a Hell. We do not believe that Hell is a spirit prison (or purgatory) that you can be redeemed from (see Luke 16:19-31), but is an eternal separation from God. And that, as I mentioned in earlier, a person is condemned or justified based solely on their response to Jesus Christ. We also believe that there is only one God that has existed eternally and no one else can become a god (Isaiah 43:11; Isaiah 44:6), and that the reward of heaven will be dwelling in the presence of God and having perfect peace with him.
- The Mormon Church believes that you baptize for the dead AND for the living, as baptism is required for salvation. They are baptizing for those who are believed to be in spirit prison. They state that this is biblical as Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians 15:29.
- However, when Paul mentions baptizing the dead in that passage, he does not commend it or say we ought to do it—he simply is acknowledging people had been doing it. In light of the rest of Scripture, we do not believe that we can baptize one another for the dead. Nor do we believe baptism is essential for salvation; rather, baptism is an outward action that shows we are serious about our walk with Jesus. I think it’s worth mentioning here that although EBC does not affirm this, some protestant Christians do believe that baptism is essential to salvation if at all possible. We talk about other religions as a blanket overview, but it’s important to recognize that each church, denomination, and individual may have differing views, just like this instance about baptism. The scripture that the Mormons used will be further described in the handout.
- The Mormon Church teaches that there are spiritual mothers. The heavenly mother is mother to all of the spirit children created on her and her husbands planet. Each planet would have it’s own mother and father.
- The Protestant Church proclaims that the triune God is sufficient in and of himself to create life. We do not believe that there will be marriage in heaven; rather marriage is only an earthly pleasure, merely a taste of the joy and fulfillment we will experience in heaven. We believe marriage is ultimately a sacred relationship intended to point us to how Christ faithfully loves his bride, the Church. Therefore, there are no spiritual parents in the sense of procreation (Matthew 22:30).