What are the Key Differences Between Mormonism and Christianity?

By Sean McDowell

Mormonism is everywhere. The Republican nominee for president is a Mormon, there is a play on Broadway about the Book of Mormon and the LDS Church has launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign called “I’m a Mormon.” In light of the recent interest in Mormonism, it will be helpful to compare and contrast some of the key differences between Mormonism and Christianity.

Mormonism puts a heavy burden of works on its followers. Although there are some passages that talk about grace and free salvation (2 Nephi 31:19; 1 Nephi 2:4; Mosiah 26:40), the overwhelming emphasis in the Mormon scriptures is on earning salvation through obedience to commandments and refraining from sin. For example, Alma 5:27 says, “Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble?” The next passage says you must be entirely stripped of pride or you cannot meet God.

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Moroni 10:32 says, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you.” God may have provided an opportunity for salvation through the death of Jesus, according to Mormonism, but you have to keep all the commandments and follow all the ordinances to reach the highest level of heaven. The onus is on you. This seems in sharp contrast to the grace-filled message of the Bible (Eph. 2:8–10; Titus 3:5; John 6:29) where works stem naturally from a recognition that we have been saved.

The view of faith in the Mormon scriptures differs from the Bible. Alma 32:17 says, “Yea,there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe,for he knoweth it.” In other words, faith involves believing something we do not know. If we knew it, there would be no need for faith…

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