How is Jesus of the Mormon Church different from Jesus of Christianity?
What does the Bible say?
Do you know who Jesus is? What do you think of Jesus? Who is He really? Knowing that determines your eternal destiny.
To Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus is Michael the Archangel.
To Mormons, Jesus is their spirit brother from the pre-existence, and brother of all angels, including Lucifer (Satan).
To Muslims He is “Isa”, a prophet, but not God nor the Son of God, for Allah does not have a son (says the Koran).
We need to examine this carefully – do we know the real Jesus?
(Remember the old “game show”, “To Tell the Truth”?
There were three contestants all claiming to be the same person, and presenting some well known spectacular things they, pretending to be this person, had done. After intense questioning by a panel of individuals, the time was up and the one, who was the real person, was asked to stand up. More often than not, the truth was a surprise to all. Careful testing of the truth was shown to be crucial.
We are testing the truth about Jesus. That knowledge, or lack of it, has eternal consequences.
Is He an angel (Michael the Archangel) as JW’s teach? Or is He a spirit brother of all, a created being, as Mormonism teaches, who began just like all men did, as a spirit child of God? Or is He “Isa”, a prophet of Allah, as Islam says? These religions use some parts of the Bible, but ignore its many clear teachings of His Person, who He is! Jesus is Eternal God who became a man. (John 1:1, 14; Matt. 1:23; Phil. 2:5-8; Ps. 90:2.)
Jesus Himself said, “And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
We need to know who God is to come to the correct conclusion.
In our previous article, “Mormon Doctrine of God”, we showed that God is Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three eternal Persons – but One God. (Deut. 6:4; James 2:19; 1 John 5:7.) One must keep in mind what God says about Himself: God is not a man. God is Spirit! (Numb.23:19; John 4:24.) God the Son, one of these three Eternal Persons, became a man for our salvation.
Did mankind preexist? Did we all come from heaven? Are we brothers and sisters of Jesus? NO!
Jesus said, “Ye are from beneath: I AM from above: ye are of this world; I AM not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM He (God), ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:23-24; 3:13, 31.) Jesus is God. Only God can forgive sins. (Mark 2:7.) Jesus refuted the idea of pre-existence of mankind and stated that He is the only one who came from heaven, He is the Great I AM, the Eternal God, who took a form of a man to die for us. (Phil. 2:5-8.; John 1:1, 14.) He came to declare and reveal God to us (John 1:18; 14:9; Col. 1:15) for God is Spirit, and no one can see God as He is. (1 John 4:12.) Jesus said that without knowing who God is, and that He, Jesus, is the One sent by the Father, we cannot have eternal life with Him. Knowing Him means having an intimate, personal relationship with Him.
We all could repeat factual stories of many famous people we have never personally met, even presenting stories about them almost as if we knew them. But if you’d ask that person what they thought of you or me, they would say: I do not know them!
It is the same with Jesus. Just being familiar with the stories about Him from them Bible is not enough. Jesus also said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:22-23.)
The Bible warns about false Christs “another Jesus”. (Matt. 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:4, 13-15.) We are told that we must test all things (1 Thess. 5:21) by the Word of God, the Bible, we must test even the spirits that give “feelings” or “testify” to those who are willing to accept as truth words of someone without testing them by God’s Word, the Bible. (1 John 4:1; 1 Tim. 4:1) The Holy Spirit would not testify of “another Jesus“ or “another gospel“, other than that which is found in the Word that was given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21). Our source of information about who Jesus is comes from the Bible alone, both the Old and the New Testaments. The Mormon Church has, as have many other false religions, taken some of the historical facts about the life of Jesus from the Bible, but they have changed His person, who He is, and invented “another Jesus“.
The leaders of the Mormon Church have admitted that the Jesus of Mormonism is not the same Jesus as Jesus of historic, traditional Christianity.
Mormon leaders have said this in their conference sermons, in their Church educational magazine, the Ensign, and in the Church News, and they have written about this in their books and manuals, but obviously many Mormons have not paid attention to that fact.
For example, an LDS General Authority, Bernard P. Brockbank, in April 1977 General Conference, said, “It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons …For example, from the Church of England’s Articles of Religion, article one, I quote:‘ There is but one living God, everlasting, without body, parts or passions.’ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worships a God and a Jesus Christ with bodies, with part, and with passions… These two concepts are …completely different.”
(Ensign, May 1977, pp. 26-27.)
LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke in the summer of 1998 (June 4th in Paris, France and in Frankfurt, Germany, and on June 5th, in Geneva, Switzerland), reported in the Church News, June 20th, 1998, on page 7:
“In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside of the Church who say that Latter-day Saints ‘do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He, together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages‘.”
During April, 2002, General Conference, President Hinckley again said, “As a Church we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say.” (Ensign, May, 2002, p. 90.)
In contrast to the Jesus Christ revealed by Joseph Smith, the Christ of traditional Christianity, was prophesied of by Old Testament prophets and revealed by the New Testament writers Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, Jude and James, of whom most knew Him personally, had walked with Him, talked with Him, lived with Him, seen Him crucified, buried, resurrected and ascend to heaven. He is God who became a man. That is who the Christ of traditional Christianity is!
Testimonies of Jesus’ apostles’ and disciples’ and the events of the times of Christ are recorded in the books of the Bible of which the author is God. (2 Tim. 3:16; John 1:1, 14.) “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16.) “The grass withered, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1. Pet. 1:24-25.)
The Old Testament prophesied, from the beginning (Genesis 3:15), that the Messiah, the Redeemer will be born from the “seed of a woman“. In Isaiah 7:14 we are told, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Matthew 1:21, 23 records the fulfillment of this promise, “And she [a virgin] shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS:” [actual name given was Y’shua - “Jesus“ is the Greek translation of His Hebrew name Y'shua (Joshua), which means “Jehovah saves” or Y’shua is salvation] “for He shall save His people from their sins…this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Jesus is Eternal God with us. “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.“ (Psalm 90:2.) There never was a time when Jesus was not God. He did not “become a god” as Mormonism teaches. However, there was a day, a time, when He became a man, but He always was and always will be God. “I AM Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8.)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 3, 14.)
“By Him [Jesus, God] were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.” (Col. 1:16) Jesus created Lucifer, and thus He could not be his brother, as Mormonism teaches. (Gospel Through Ages, p. 15.)
Lucifer, Satan, is a created being, the anointed cherub, as Ezekiel 28:15 laments, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Lucifer desired to be like the Most High God (Isa. 14:12-14). His “iniquity“ was his prideful desire to be like God, and it caused his fall from heaven. He has been tempting men with the same desire ever since the Garden of Eden. (Gen. 3:5.) Godhood was what he offered to Eve, and it is godhood that is offered to Mormons in their temples.
In comparing what Mormonism teaches about Jesus to the teachings of the Bible, we see that they are not the same.
Jesus, presented by the Mormon Church, is the eldest son in their Heavenly Father’s family of billions and billions of sons and daughters of God and His many wives. They teach that He had a beginning like all of us had, that He was born as a spirit child in the “pre-existence”, as an elder brother of Lucifer and all angels and all humans who have ever lived on this earth. (Mormon Doctrine, p.750- 751.)
Mormonism teaches that the only difference between Jesus and the rest of the mankind is that Heavenly Father, an exalted man with a body of flesh and bones, came to Mary and conceived Jesus ,“the same way mortal men are begotten by their mortal fathers.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 547, 742; Come unto Christ, p. 4, by Ezra Taft Benson; Family Home Evening Manual, 1972, p. 126; Seer, by apostle Orson Pratt.)
When Mormons say that Jesus is the Only Son of God in the flesh, they mean that He is the only one who was literally and physically conceived by God on earth as well as in the “pre-existence”. They teach that He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost, as the Bible declares in Matthew 1:18-23. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 51; LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, Come Unto Christ, p. 4.)
They teach that Jesus came to this world to provide resurrection for all mankind and an example for people to follow, but He also had to come and “work out His own salvation”. Because Mormonism teaches that marriage in an LDS temple is necessary for salvation and exaltation (i.e. godhood) in the celestial kingdom (highest heaven in Mormonism), thus Jesus also had to be married. According to early teachings of the Mormon Church, Jesus was a polygamist and had children. This has not been refuted by later leaders of the LDS Church, they just do not talk about it openly any longer.
(Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 345-346; vol. 2, p. 82; 4, p. 259; Seer, p. 172; That Jesus was married is also stated by Joseph Fielding Smith in a letter dated March 17, 1963.)
Mormonism teaches that Jesus “became a god” by following doctrines very similar to the teachings of the Mormon Church. (General Conference message by Mormon Apostle Scott, the Ensign, May 1997; See also Gospel Through Ages, p. 51.)
(For more information on "the Mormon-Jesus", see following excerpts from the address, given 2nd of March 1982 at BYU by the late LDS apostle Bruce R. McConkie, titled, "Our Relationship with the Lord”. His entire speech is available through BYU under that date and title, also from Utah Lighthouse Ministries or from their website: www.utlm.org.)