Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dispelling 5 Myths about Mormons


Please also see our follow-up post "Dispelling 5 More Myths about Mormons."

Myth #1: Mormons are not Christians.

Over the years, I have had many friends from other faiths sincerely question whether Mormons are Christians. In reality, Jesus Christ is the center of our faith, a truth made clear by the official name of our church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our first Article of Faith states “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” We love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of the world and believe that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We believe Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and that “through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved" (Articles of Faith 1:3). Like other Christians, Mormons believe the gift of eternal life is possible only because Jesus willingly suffered in Gethsemane and died on the cross at Calvary to offer Himself a ransom for all of God’s children. We are united with all Christians in our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and our conviction that the Gospel He taught provides the pathway to lasting peace and happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.



Myth #2: Mormons reject the Bible and believe instead in the Book of Mormon.

Because Mormons believe in additional scripture beyond the Bible, some people mistakenly believe that Mormons reject the Bible or esteem it less than other Christians. In reality, we love and accept the Bible as the word of God. We regularly study both the Old and New Testaments in our church meetings. The Bible is always identified first in our canon of scripture. Our belief in the Book of Mormon as an additional witness of Jesus Christ takes nothing away from the Bible and is not associated with any perceived inadequacies in the Bible. Instead, the Book of Mormon is an additional witness of Christ that complements the Bible and supports everything the Bible teaches. For an excellent explanation of what Mormons believe about the Bible and why we believe in additional scripture, please refer to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s brief talk titled “My Words Never Cease.”



Myth #3: Mormons believe they can “earn” salvation through their good works.

Another myth about Mormons is that we believe we can “earn” our own salvation through good works. In reality, like all Christians, we recognize that salvation is possible only through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, the Book of Mormon teaches that, “since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself” (Alma 22:14); thus, we should rely “wholly” (2 Nephi 31:19) or rely “alone” (Moroni 6:4) upon the merits of Christ. Nevertheless, we also accept what James taught powerfully in the New Testament in James chapter 2: faith is a principle of action and our efforts to follow Jesus Christ and emulate the kind of life He lived will make our faith come alive! Jesus Himself taught that “he that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21); so Latter-day Saints strive to follow the Savior’s teachings and live His commandments out of our love for Him—not because we are trying to earn our way to heaven. An excellent talk concerning Mormons’ belief in salvation by grace is titled “His Grace Is Sufficient” by Brad Wilcox.


Myth #4: Mormons’ faith is centered on Joseph Smith, not Jesus Christ.

Probably because Joseph Smith, Jr. was the first prophet and leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some people have mistakenly assumed that Mormons worship Joseph Smith or that he is the center our faith. In truth, we do not worship Joseph Smith; we worship God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We revere Joseph Smith as a divinely called prophet and apostle, similar to our acceptance of other prophets and apostles from Old Testament and New Testament times, such as Moses, Isaiah, Peter, or Paul. Through Joseph Smith, God restored the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in modern times. While we do not worship Joseph Smith, we honor him for his witness of the Lord Jesus Christ and for his role in teaching and leading people to come unto Christ.



Myth #5: People of other faiths are not allowed to attend Mormons’ Sunday worship services.

Lastly, unfortunately, some people have the false impression that people of other faiths are not allowed to attend Mormons’ Sunday worship services. To the contrary, we invite all people everywhere to join us in worshipping Jesus Christ in our weekly Sunday meetings. I have always felt that the best way a person can come to a personal understanding of what Mormons believe is to visit our Sunday meetings. To find a Mormon meetinghouse near you, please search here.




Nate Sharp is an assistant professor in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and currently serves as bishop of the College Station 3rd ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He grew up in Holladay, Utah, served a full-time mission for the Church in the Korea Seoul West mission from 1996-1998, and later graduated from Brigham Young University and the University of Texas at Austin. He married Holly Carroll in 2003, and they are the proud parents of five beautiful children.

21 comments:

  1. This is a nice concise list of some of the more common things that people wrongly believe in regarding the LDS Church. Obviously the list could extend for miles as to all the things I have heard over the years. I am certain that several of them will be posted in comments to this article from those who have either gone astray or have been mislead and are out to "correct" or even attack the church.

    I also think that the members of the LDS Church have more of a belief in the Bible than any other religion, because they believe all of it, not just a few verses held above all the others. I love the Book of Mormon and have read it almost every day for over 28 years now. Combined, the two set the record straight on most doctrines and clarifies the correct teachings on so many issues. When you combine them with the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, you now have a solid footing on just about every issue that people could ask.

    My only request for those seeking the truth is to attend a church meeting to see what they teach. Find a neighbor who is a member and see what kind of life they live. Most of them are pretty decent people. A few aren't, but that is their free agency to live and be judged according to their choices.

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    1. Sadly kelly you are right alot of rumors of the church some sick crazy and falsely said about the lds church only if them people who talk on the church knew the truth about the church they need to go and find out but instead spread rumors instead.

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    2. Some may be labeled as having gone astray or being misled when in reality they have some genuine concerns and questions. My hope and prayer is that we love each other in spite of our differences of opinion and let Christ do the judging. None of us have the big picture or love in our heart to judge another. It would show the world that we are true followers of Jesus Christ.

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  2. I greward up in the South. I remember sitting next to a preacher's son and him telling me that all Mormons had horns growing out of their heads. He REALLY believed it!! I had to show him to prove him wrong. ....and he still thought I was lying. Gunny...but sad...and true....

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    1. I have a very similar story when I was in a deep South college with my Baptist Student Union friends.

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  3. I think myth #5 may come from the fact that persons of other faiths are not allowed to enter and worship in LDS temples. For the most part I think non-members don't differentiate between a temple and an LDS meetinghouse where Sunday services are held, but view them as being synonymous. So from that perspective, to a non-member, because they can't enter an LDS temple, they may believe they can't enter a meetinghouse either since to them, they are the same.

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    1. Myth #5 is reinforced by the thoughtless neglect of failing to unlock the front doors --- a visitor tries to enter what appears to be the main entrance and finds it locked -- as he/she sees people inside.

      (because "everybody knows" you enter via the parking lot doors)

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  4. Interesting article. Jessica, thanks for sharing. I think the main sticking point for Evangelicals, like myself, is that there is only one Gospel; only one way to God the Father and that is through God the Son. Please prayerfully read Galations 1:6-9 :)

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    1. Great reference! Verse 8 is the key. You're completely right about there only one way to Heavenly Father and it IS through our savior Jesus Christ. Christ is the only way into the gate, once we are there, we are judged on our works Ecclesiastes 3:17, revelations 20:12

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  5. Sandy, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” We love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of the world and believe that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)" (paragraph following Myth #1. We believe that "salvation is possible only through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ." (paragraph following Myth #3. We must be baptized with water; symbolizing our spiritual death, burial and resurrection. Then we must be baptized by the Spirit (John 3:5) Is there a different gospel you believe? I ask that you pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you as you re-read this article. I feel much of the disinformation you have heard about our beliefs will be addressed.

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you

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  7. Great Article, I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and I am a Mormon.

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  8. The biggest stumbling block Mormons face when trying to explain that they are Christian is the belief of the Nicene Creed concept of the Trinity. When a Mormon thinks of the Trinity they think of God the Father, his son Christ and the Holy Ghost as three separate entities working together in one accord . But that is not what Trinity means to anyone outside the LDS Church. The concept of the Trinity as defined by the Nicene Creed means that God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are truly one physical being that separated into three parts to become Christ and the Holy Spirit, then they join back together again. God is Christ and Christ is God because they are one entity.

    It is this fundamental breakdown in definitions that cause other Christian denominations accuse us of not worshiping Christ - that is, of not worshiping their definition of Christ, and is why the Catholic Church lists the LDS Church as a heresy.

    Unfortunately we Mormons usually don't see what is the problem because we do not realize just how important the "Nicene Trinity" definition really is to many other denominations, and therefore are missing a fundamental piece of the puzzle. Once we recognize this then we will be on a more even footing for any discussions about our Christianity. Instead of "the Trinity" perhaps we could use wording to more reflect that what we believe, which is more of a Triumvirate.

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    1. Being born and raised in the church, and having learned a great deal of my early religious studies solely from church sources, I have never seen the church refer to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost as the Trinity (though it's possible I missed it somewhere).The term most commonly used in the church is the Godhead, specifically because the church does not believe the doctrine of the trinity. So, while it is true that there is a lot of issues based on how similar words are used and beliefs in the same things are vastly different, the trinity is a doctrine the church has never prescribed to.

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    2. Actually there are a number of places where it is stated emphatically that we do NOT believe in the traditional view of the trinity. We boldly declare with support from scripture and revelation that each member of the Godhead is separate from the others in physical characteristics, but one in purpose just as husband and wife are to be one in purpose. President Hinckley gave an excellent talk on the Nicene Creed. Although I do not remember the year at this moment it would be an easy look up.

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  9. You forgot to clarify number 6. "Mormons are poligamists." I get that every single time they here I grew in an lds family. Even when I clarify that question they still don't believe me because they have "seen," "heard of," or witnessed a poligamists lds.

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  10. Excellent article and spot on! I love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is what I live for each day...to share the message of the Restoration of Christ's gospel to the earth! Thanks for posting!

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  11. Unfortunately, by and large, the people who propagate these myths about the church don't care about the truth. They will insist they know more about our own church "really teaches" than we do.

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  12. This is beautiful! I had a discussion with my 14 year old neighbor today, who said "Mormons aren't Christians and doesn't like Mormons because of that." Obviously, she does like Mormons, because she's our friend. I think it's that she's confused at what she's been taught. Namely, she said we don't worship the cross. I explained why we don't use the symbol of the cross as our advertisement, expounding upon how we believe in the living Christ who conquered death through ressurection. I don't find looking at the instrument of my Saviors death as a proper symbol of my faith. That's like saying, if my mother was murdered with a gun, I should then hang pictures of guns around my house and around my neck as jewelry. The cross is where He died. It is not where He atoned for our sins. However, the cross was irrelevant after he rose from the tomb. I am greatful my neighbor was willing to hear me and try to understand. We owe that to one another. Treat each other with love and respect and be willing to listen to the "why" in each one's beliefs.

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  13. These points that are listed here are very important to me. I converted to our church when I was 45 years old. These were major stumbling blocks at that time. Indeed, we need to open up our hearts and clear our minds. If we can do this, the task gets very much easier. People need to quit looking for excuses. I am now 65 years old and my faith in our Heavenly Father goes stronger every day.

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