The Vocabulary of Mormonism

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Terminology Differences

By Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry

Term LDS Definition The Bible Teaches
Pre-Existence Everyone pre-existed; we all exist eternally. Only Christ pre-existed, not man. (John 8:58; Col. 1:17) We didn't have a spiritual existence prior to earth. (1 Cor. 15:46)
Fall Brought mortality and physical death, not a fallen nature. God gave Adam two conflicting commandments and doomed him to fall. Adam’s fall was a noble choice, not sin. He “fell upward” making it possible for him to be glorified to godhood. God tempts no one. (James 1:13-14).
Man is basically sinful (Rom. 8:5-8; 1 Cor. 2:14)
Sin A specific act of disobedience, not man’s basic nature We are in spiritual rebellion until conversion. (Eph. 2:3; Rom. 5:6). We do not become sinful because we sin, we sin because we are basically sinful. (Matt. 1:21)
Repentance Need to repent of individual sinful acts, not related to a sinful nature. Must repent of basic rebellion that is part of our sinful nature. (Jer. 17:9; Luke 5:32)
Atonement/Salvation
by Grace
Christ’s death brought release from the grave and provided for universal resurrection. Salvation by grace is universal resurrection; beyond this resurrection, man must earn his place in heaven. Salvation is not universal, but is based on the faith of each individual. (Rom. 1:16; Heb. 9:28; Eph. 2:8-9)
Redeemed Christ redeemed all people from mortal death only; not from sinful rebellion or spiritual death. Christ redeems the elect from both physical and spiritual death. (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1)
Gospel Mormon Church system and doctrines. Message of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as atonement for our sin.
(1 Cor. 15:1:4; Gal. 1:8)
Born Again Baptism into LDS Church. We are spiritually dead until our spiritual rebirth, (1 Pet. 1:23; 2 Cor. 5:17)
True Church Only the Mormon Church. The true church was taken from earth until Joseph Smith restored it. As a born-again Christian we are part of God’s Church (His “elect” or “called-out ones.” (1 Cor. 12:12-14; Matt. 18:19-20; Matt. 16:18)
Authority and
Priesthood
Only LDS have authority to baptize, ordain, etc. They have a two-part system of priesthood: Melchizedek and Aaronic. Christ brought and end to the Aaronic (Levitical) priesthood and is the ONLY High Priest after the manner of Meichizedek; i.e., a Priest forever. (Heb. 5:9; 2 Tim. 2:2)
Baptism Must be performed by a member of the LDS priesthood. Emphasis is on the believer and his relationship to God, not on the authority of any priesthood except Christ’s. (Mark 16:15-16)
Sons of God We are all literal spirit children of God. We become a child of God at conversion. (John 1:12)
Eternal Life Exaltation in Celestial Kingdom and elevation to deity, with the ability to bear children in heaven and reign over a world of his own; Must have a temple marriage to qualify. The gift of God given freely to all His elect; not limited to certain individuals in heaven. There is no mention of parenthood or temple marriage. In fact, there is no marriage in heaven. (1 John 5:12-13)
Immortality Universal gift to all, the ability to live forever. But different from “Eternal Life.” All men are “immortal” in the sense that they will live forever; the justified will live in eternal bliss in the presence of God; the lost will live in eternal torment separated from the presence of God. (2 Tim. 1:10)
Heaven Divided into three kingdoms: Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. There is a place for almost everyone (they misuse 1 Cor. 15:40-41) Only mentions two conditions: life eternal in heaven or everlasting punishment in hell. (Matt. 25: 31-46)
Kingdom of God The Celestial Kingdom: only those in the Celestial Kingdom are in God's presence. Those in Terrestrial or Telestial Kingdoms aren’t in the presence of “The Heavenly Father.” All redeemed will be in God’s presence. (Rev. 21:1-3). All believers are part of Kingdom. (Matt. 13: 4143)
Hell Hell as an institution is eternal; inmates come and go as in jail; don't spend eternity there; stay until one has paid debt to God. No mention of people getting out of Hell. (Rev. 21:8; Matt. 13:24-43 and 47-50; Luke 16:26)

Godhead Father God is a resurrected man with physical body, Christ is a separate resurrected man with physical body, Holy Ghost is a separate man with a spiritual body — Three totally separate Gods. God not a man. (Num. 23:19). Only one God. (Isa. 43:10-11; 44:6; 45:21-22). Father is Spirit and Invisible. (John 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17)
Holy Ghost Is a separate God from Father and Son; different from Holy Spirit. Holy Ghost is a person; Holy Spirit is influence from Father and not personal. Same Greek word used for Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16 and 6:19)
Virgin Birth God, as a resurrected, physical man, is literal Father of Jesus in the same manner in which men are conceived on earth; believe Matt. 1:18 in error Says Mary was “with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:18;).

 

Without exaggeration, the best place to get accurate information about the Mormon Church is:
     Utah Lighthouse Ministry
     PO Box 1884
     Salt Lake City, UT 84110
Utah Lighthouse Ministry Bookstore
1358 S. West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84115

Page last updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2016 11:19 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)