Mormon Doctrine

Objectives

Learning Objectives


This area contains articles presenting the basic doctrine and cultural aspects of the Mormon church.

There are many sources detailing Mormon doctrine, history, rituals, etc.  This section presents only the basic doctrine that Christians need to understand in order to accurately present the message of Jesus Christ's work.  The following six objectives illustrate what Christians need to learn in order to effectively witness to Mormons.  Our presentation of Mormonism is designed to meet these objectives.

  1. Address the question "Is Mormonism a Christian religion?":  In order to appreciate the urgency of witnessing to Mormons, it is necessary to recognize that Mormonism is not a Christian religion.  By labeling it a non-Christian religion, we are saying Mormonism does not lead to eternal life with Christ in heaven, but to eternal damnation with Satan in hell.  For this reason we will make frequent comparisons of Mormon and Christian doctrine.  It is important to note that many, if not most, Mormons do not understand why their religion is labeled non-Christian.  Indeed many, if not most, Christians do not understand why Mormonism is labeled non-Christian. It is imperative that we know the reasons why.  By explaining these reasons to Mormons, we enhance our witness. By understanding these reasons, we can protect fellow Christians from falling prey to the false doctrine of the Mormon church.
  2. Understand what Mormons say to us:  It is also important to understand enough of the Mormon doctrine to recognize what Mormons actually mean when they make statements like "I believe Jesus died for my sins" or "I believe I am saved by grace".  There are many words that Mormonism and Christianity define dramatically differently.  We have provided a Contrast Glossary of biblical terms under  the Teaching menu which provides both the Christian and the contrasting Mormon definitions.  (This is currently a work in progress.)  When we recognize the different definitions, we will avoid speaking past Mormons and misunderstanding Mormons.
  3. Recognize that Mormons are victims of the Mormon church:  This concept is difficult to put into words, but it refers to a culture created in the Mormon church that entraps its members.  There are many contributors to this culture, including paradoxical statements, doublespeak, and Christian-sounding messages crafted with unique language.  These patterns will be more fully described in the following foreword.  The foreword also contains an article describes the elastic-web in which Mormons become entrapped.  When we make the effort to understand what it is like to be a devoted member of the Mormon church, we gain an understanding of how Mormons think and react within their culture. We also develop empathy, compassion, and concern for their plight. We become better equipped to make a connection with individual Mormons.  We are more likely to reach out to Mormons with God's love.
  4. Learn to speak so Mormons understand us:  Mormons hear everything through a filter of their own beliefs and unique definitions.  We must have a basic understanding of that filter so that we can choose words that can penetrate this filter without becoming distorted.
  5. Identify effective biblical witnessing topics:  We need to know enough about Mormon doctrine to understand what topics (such as perfection and forgiveness) have particular impact on Mormons. We need to be able to identify other topics to effectively present the truth of God's Word.
  6. Rely on the power of God's Word and the Holy Spirit:  As we grow in understanding Mormon doctrine, we want to identify Mormons with "the lost".  We want to see Mormons as Christ does, lost sheep he will go through great lengths to bring into his fold.  Our goal becomes "bring them to Christ" rather than "prove to them that their church is false".  We may show Mormons the differences between their church's teaching and biblical doctrine.  This brings Mormons into God's Word.  But if we simply debate the significance of events in church history, or focus on the authenticity of various historic LDS church claims, we abandon the power of God's double edged sword (His Word).  We want to resist the temptation to turn to historical evidence or logical argument to prove them wrong.  We want to rely on our faith in Christ Jesus and turn to the Bible to help them.

If you wish to know more about Mormon doctrine or history than is presented in this tutorial, go to the Resources section of this site (use the navigation bar in the banner frame above).  There you will find a suggested reading list, links to other resources, and other materials.  On the reading list are several books which present accurate information about Mormon history, practices and the like.  In particular, the book Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons, upon which this site is based, is an excellent source for more detail concerning Mormon doctrine.  Also, links are provided which take you to official LDS sites for information and to non-Mormon sites which provide doctrinal and historical information