A Key Difference between Mormonism and Christianity
“As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” Lorenzo Snow (5th LDS president)
Are Mormons “Christians”? This claim is popular today, both in the media and from the mouths of some Latter Day Saints (LDS). Just this past week I had a conversation with two Mormons and one of the first things they said was that Mormons are Christians. But is this true? Are Mormons Christians, like how we could classify different denominations (Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians) Christian? Is there enough overlap of thought and adherence to the basic principles and core doctrine beliefs to argue Mormonism and Christianity teach the same thing?
While both movements use the same terms in their theology (God, Jesus, eternal life, etc.), it is inaccurate and misleading to claim they teach the same basic things or even could be called the same religion. The differences are drastic! Just because both systems use the same terms does not mean that they teach the same facts about God or who God is.
One of the biggest differences between Mormonism and Christianity lies within the understanding of God’s personhood. Is God a created being? Was God a human who progressed to the level of godhood and now reigns as God? Did God have a God before He became God? The Mormon response to these questions is yes! God is a created being. One of the most famous summaries of this comes from the 4th LDS president Lorenzo Snow who coined the phrase, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”
The god of Mormonism is a created being. I believe this one of the most radical and fundamental differences between Christianity and Mormonism. This difference causes an insurmountable distinction between the two religions. Christians, while they may disagree on secondary matters (mode of baptism, plurality of elders), all agree that God is uncreated.
Christians base their views on the Bible (God’s true revelation of Himself) and understand God to exist eternally as one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God was never created and there never was a time when God was not God. He always was the only true God in all of reality and will always be the only true God in all of reality.
How do we know this? God tells us in His Word: Isaiah 43:10 “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” This is very clear: no god before or after! Isaiah 44:6 “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and the I am the last; besides me there is no god.” The God of Christianity claims supremacy over any ‘supposed’ gods of the nations. God is the first and last, there will never be another God and there never was another God.
To my Mormon friends, please know that we can trust the Scriptures when they proclaim the nature and character of God. When they declare the uncreated nature of God, we can trust this to be true. Such a fact leads us to treasure and worship God–no one in all of existence is like God, uncreated and eternal! God is the one being in all of reality who is uncreated!
Lorenzo Snow and other Mormon leaders are mistaken when they claim that God is a created being and that we ourselves can become gods. This is a false view of God, which exalts man–even deifying man!–and brings down God from His exalted status–it de-gods God. It presents a god different from the God of Christianity. Let us turn from such false views and embrace a biblical and true understanding of our great uncreated eternal God. He alone is worthy of our worship and devotion.