Mormons Worship Different Jesus
Filed under The Gospel
Do Mormons Worship a Different Jesus?
Critics of Mormonism often claim that Mormons worship a different Jesus or that the Mormons don’t even worship Jesus as God. They say this because Mormons have some beliefs about Jesus that differ from those of other Christian Churches. They wonder if Mormons are Christian or say that they oppose traditional Christianity. It is true that some Mormon beliefs about Jesus differ from other churches, but nevertheless, Mormons believe in the Jesus whose deeds and teachings are found in the Bible, but reject the creeds and additions made by medieval Christian theologians. Mormonism teaches that to correct errors in understanding about God, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in his First Vision, and called him to be a prophet, just as in Biblical times, to teach the truth about Jesus and to call all men to repentance.
In modern revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord Jesus Christ describes himself and hence the Jesus that Mormons worship:
“Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made; The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes; I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me. I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have believed in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them (Doctrine and Covenants 38:1-4).”
This shows who the Jesus that Mormons worships is: the great I AM, our God, the beginning and the end, omniscient, omnipotent, Creator of the world, Savior of the world, and man’s advocate with God the Father. Mormons do not believe in the Trinity as do some Christian churches. Instead, Mormon doctrine teaches that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost (also called the Holy Spirit) are three separate and distinct persons.
This doctrine can be shown to be consistent with the Bible. Jesus declared the nature of His unity with the Father:
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one (John 17:20-22).”
Jesus declares that His disciples can be one just as He and the Father are one. This oneness is obviously not that they become the same person, but rather oneness in purpose, glory, perfection, and love. This passage also shows Jesus praying to the Father, which would not make sense if He were the Father. Other passages in the New Testament show that Jesus is distinct from the Father:
At the baptism of Jesus all three personages of the Godhead, as Mormons refer to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, were there (Matthew 3:15-17). In the great intercessorary prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prayed to the Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, Jesus again prayed to the Father and once asked His Father why He had forsaken Him (see Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34). At the Martyrdom of Stephen in Acts 7, Stephen declares, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). All these passages only make sense if Jesus Christ and God the Father are separate individuals.
Another doctrine that is questionable in trinitarian belief is what to do with the resurrection of Christ. Mormons believe that resurrection is the perfected state that God the Father, and Jesus Christ enjoy. Christ was resurrection to enable all of us to be resurrected, and He appeared in His resurrected state to the Apostles, as well as to the Book of Mormon peoples. The trinitarian belief holds that God is a spirit entity, without body parts or passions, and that He came to earth incarnate, then went back to being a spirit. Why then was Christ resurrected? Why did He give up His perfected, resurrected body to go back to being a spirit entity? Christ wants us to enjoy eternal life as He enjoys it, and He has shown us, plainly and simply, the way.