Text by Peggy Stack
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share beliefs with traditional Christians, but there are also tenets of their faith that are unique. View our gallery to learn about the differences between the beliefs of Mormons and traditional Christians.
Most Christians believe that Jesus Christ was "truly God and truly man, in whom the divine and human natures are perfectly and inseparably united." He is the only begotten Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Mormons believe that Jesus is the Son of God in the most literal sense. He is eldest brother of all mortals and firstborn spirit child of God. He was Jehovah of the Old Testament but became Jesus Christ of the New Testament when he was born into mortality. They believe that from Mary, a mortal woman, he inherited the capacity to die, and from God, an exalted being, he inherited the capacity to live forever.
Most Christians accept only the Bible as authoritative scripture.
Mormons believe the Bible is sacred. They add three other documents--The Pearl of Great Price, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Book of Mormon--to their canon.
According to the historic, apostolic Christian faith, salvation comes only by the grace of Christ, who "suffered, was crucified, died and was buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men."
Mormons also believe that salvation comes through Christ's atoning sacrifice. But they don't believe in "original sin" or in human depravity. Still, Latter-day Saints believe that fallen men and women do need redemption. And while works are a necessary condition, they are insufficient for salvation.
For most Christians, church teachings stem from scripture. Leaders of the early church sought to specify the core of Christian belief in order to ensure the soundness of Christian teaching. At meetings in Nicea and Chalcedon in the fourth and fifth centuries, these leaders established the canon of scripture and proclaimed the basic elements of acceptable Christian doctrine.
Mormons do not affirm any of the creeds as stated, though they share some of the theological ideas in the creeds. They believe that after the death of the early apostles, the Christian church fell into apostasy. The church needed to be restored in the latter days, which Mormons believe were begun in 1820, when Mormon founder Joseph Smith was visited by God the father.
Nature of Godhead
For most Christians, the Godhead is composed of three persons of one substance, power, and eternity-the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. These Three are One. This triune God is without "body, parts or passions."
The LDS Church also teaches that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost comprise the Godhead. But Mormons believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bones as tangible as human beings, while the Holy Ghost "is a personage of Spirit." Mormonism also teaches that God the Father was once a man. He is married to a "heavenly mother and is the literal father of all mortal spirits.
Thanks to Beliefnet.com.