MainImage Index Basic Beliefs Sources Free Resources Commentary

Who are Latter-day Saints?

You see the occasional commercial on TV but you rarely, if ever, see them advertise their church 
services in the local newspaper.

This group was originally founded in the United States of America by their prophet Joseph Smith.

He was born in Sharon, Vermont in 1805.

According to extracts from the History of the Church, Volume 1, chapter 1, when he was 15 years 
old, Joseph Smith claimed two heavenly personages (thought to be Heavenly Father and Jesus 
Christ, appeared to him out of his desire to know which of the Christian sects in his region of the 
country was correct.

He was answered that he must join none of them for they were all wrong and that all their creeds 
were an abomination (Joseph Smith History, volume 1:18-19; online, image).  This was the first 
attack launched against all churches.

According to what has been recorded in some LDS history, an angel called Moroni appeared to Mr. 
Smith in 1823 and informed him about gold plates which contained a history of ancient people on
the American continent.  He received the plates in 1827 and then proceeded to finish the Book of 
Mormon's translation circa 1830 in Palmyra, New York. But a journal entry of Joseph Smith mentions 
that it was the angel Nephi instead. It is unclear what lead someone to change the angel story 
when Joseph revealed the identity in his own journal (see Joseph Smith Papers, online, image).

How the Mormon Church criticizes other churches

Since its foundation, the Mormon Church has criticized other religions, but especially Christianity.

This is labelled against any religion that believes in reincarnation, like Hinduism: 

"This idea of theosophy, that is gaining ground even among so-called Christians, in these 
latter days, is a fallacy of the deepest kind. It is absolutely repugnant to the very soul of 
man to think that a civilized, intelligent being might become a dog, a cow, a cat; that he 
might be transformed into another shape, another kind of being. It is absolutely repulsive, 
and so opposed to the great truth of God, that has been revealed from the beginning, that 
he is from the beginning always the same, that he cannot change, and that his children 
cannot change
." (Gospel Doctrine, pages 33-34).

They teach that those outside the LDS Church perform invalid baptisms:

"That change comes today to every son and daughter of God who repents of his or her 
sins, who humble themselves before the Lord, and who seek forgiveness and remission 
of sin by baptism by immersion, by one having authority to administer this sacred 
ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ
" (Gospel Doctrine, page 117).

According to the LDS Church, only they have the authority to baptism. So in effect, all Christians
outside the LDS faith did not receive a remission of their sins.

"Baptism means immersion in water, and is to be administered by one having 
authority, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 
Baptism without divine authority is not valid. It is a symbol of the burial and 
resurrection of Jesus Christ, and must be done in the likeness thereof, by one 
commissioned of God, in the manner prescribed, otherwise it is illegal and will 
not be accepted by him, nor will it effect a remission of sins, the object for which 
it is designed, but whosoever hath faith, truly repents and is buried with Christ 
in baptism by one having divine authority, shall receive a remission of sins, and
is entitled to the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Only those who 
are commissioned of Jesus Christ have authority or power to bestow this gift

(Gospel Doctrine, pages 123-124).

According to the LDS Church, only they have divine authority:

"The LDS Church is the only church which legitimately bears the name of Jesus 
Christ and his divine authority
" (Gospel Doctrine, page 170).

All other churches are labelled as illegitimate.

"The priesthood that we hold is of the greatest importance, because it is the 
authority and power of God. It is authority from heaven that has been 
restored to men upon the earth in the latter days, through the ministration 
of angels from God, who came with authority to bestow this power and this
priesthood upon men
" (Gospel Doctrine, page 176).

It should be noted that females were prophets in both the Old and New Testaments. And 
some were even visited by angels. But there is no female prophet in the LDS Church.

According to the LDS Church, God communicates to the church only through their Prophet:

"Many people live in darkness, unsure of God’s will. They believe that the heavens 
are closed and that people must face the world’s perils alone. How fortunate are the 
Latter-day Saints! We know that God communicates to the Church through His 
." (Gospel Principles, 2009, chapter 9, page 39).

Those outside of the LDS Church are said to live in darkness. Ironically, it is the Latter-day 
Saints who believe the heavens were closed between the first century and 1820.

The LDS Church says that Satan is the head of non-Mormon churches:

Of historical and theological significance is the fact that in Paul’s prophecy
the church structure survives. But God is not at its head, making that
church—following the appearance in it of Satan—no longer the church of God. To
say that Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity after the time of the
Apostles is not to say that all that is in it is satanic. Indeed, Latter-day
Saints should rejoice—as the heavens undoubtedly do—at the great works of
righteousness and faith, and the leavening influence on the world, of those
whose lives are touched in any degree by Him whose gospel the Saints enjoy in
its fulness. Still, ‘the power of God unto salvation’ (Rom. 1:16) is absent from
all but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which the Lord himself
has proclaimed to be ‘the only true and living church upon the face of the whole
earth’ (D&C 1:30). Satan’s goal of hindering many of God’s children from
returning to their Father’s glory is thus realized. How appropriate, therefore,
is Paul’s description of him sitting in the place of God in the church of the
” (Kent P. Jackson, “Early Signs of the Apostasy,” Ensign, Dec. 1984).

The Christians in the days of Joseph Smith were reportedly worshipping a god who did not see, 
hear, eat, nor smell:

I would like to mention one other thing that I think is a creed that is ‘an
abomination in the sight of God,’ and I shall mention it but briefly…. There is
not time to go into a lot of detail, but their catechism says that their god has
‘no body; he has no parts; he has no passions.’ That means that he has no eyes;
he cannot see. He has no ears; he cannot hear your prayers. He has no voice; he
cannot speak a word to the prophets. Some of them even say ‘he sits on the top
of a topless throne.’ How absurd! To me it seems that their description of the
god that they believe in is about the best description of nothing that can be
written…. Moses knew that this condition would prevail, because when he went to
lead the children of Israel into the promised land, he told them that they would
not remain there long but that they would be scattered among the nations and
‘there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which
neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.’ (Deut. 4:28.) That is exactly the
kind of a god the whole Christian world was worshiping when Joseph Smith had
that glorious vision which revealed the true and living God
" (LeGrand Richards,
“Strange Creeds of Christendom,” Ensign, Jan. 1973).

Christians outside the Mormon Church are said to worship a false Christ:

There is only one way provided by the Lord for man to gain salvation and
eternal life in the kingdom of God and that is by and through the living,
personal Jesus Christ, and by knowing and living his commandments. We cannot
obtain salvation and eternal life by worshipping fake Christs or by living the
doctrines and commandments of men…. The belief that God has no body, parts, and
passions is not a doctrine of Jesus Christ or a doctrine of the holy scriptures
but is a doctrine of men, and to worship such a God is in vain
” (Bernard P.
Brockbank, “The Living Christ,” Ensign, May 1977).

Historical Christianity is said to be the church of the devil:

The historical abominable church of the devil is that apostate church that
replaced true Christianity in the first and second centuries, teaching the
philosophies of men mingled with scriptures. It dethroned God in the church and
replaced him with man by denying the principle of revelation and turning instead
to human intellect. As the product of human agency, its creeds were an
abomination to the Lord, for they were idolatry: men worshipping the creations,
not of their own hands, but of their own minds
” (Stephen E. Robinson, “Warring
against the Saints of God,” Ensign, Jan. 1988).

It is said that salvation by grace alone is a heresy:

There is nothing more important to us—having first discovered who God our
Father is—than to know about Christ and the salvation that is in him. The heresy
and perversion of this truth is the common sectarian concept that people are
saved by grace alone, without works
” (Bruce R. McConkie, “This Generation Shall
Have My Word through You,” Ensign, June 1980).

Non-Mormon churches (and all other religions) have nothing:

"We have the keys, the ordinances. We have everything. They have nothing. 
They cannot baptize nor ordain. They cannot wash nor anoint nor endow nor 
seal. We came away with everything, and they have nothing
" (Mine Errand 
from the Lord, Boyd K. Packer, 2008, p. 498; The Holy Temple, Deseret 
Book, 1980, pp. 174-175).

These are just some of the ways the LDS Church criticizes other churches.

True Christians have never been alone since the ascension of Christ.  Jesus has always been 
with us through the Holy Spirit.  We are sure of God's will - we have the Word of God.  We face 
the world's perils with Him who dwells within us.  God communicates to His church through the 
Holy Spirit.

Copyright 2004-2023 LDS Learning, All rights reserved. [inquiry -- at --]
The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of the web hosting company