Disparate Doctrines: Two Faiths in Conflict

The tension between evangelicals and Mormons is as old as the Mormon Church itself. While the two religions share similarly conservative social values, their beliefs clash when it comes to some of the most fundamental aspects of Christianity. The critical differences:

Newsweek/December 8, 2007


Evangelical: The New and Old Testaments of the Bible are the complete revelation of God's holy word. Evangelicals regard the Bible as the ultimate and absolute religious authority.

Mormon: Believe the Bible to be the word of God "as far as it is translated correctly." They also consider "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ" and newer revelations to Joseph Smith and other prophets as Scripture.

Holy Trinity

Evangelical: The Father, his Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit are a single entity. Each has distinct attributes, but the three are undivided in essence or being. This is the traditional Christian conception of the Holy Trinity.

Mormon: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are physically separate and distinct entities with distinct roles, but act with a single purpose. Mormons typically refer to the Holy Trinity as the Godhead.


Evangelica: God is a spirit without a human form. While Scripture may use humanlike characteristics to describe God, He is not human and does not have a physical body.

Mormon: Like Jesus Christ, God has a humanlike body that is immortal and perfected. Mormons believe in eternal progression and that they may someday become gods.


Evangelical: Comes when the individual develops a heartfelt faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is not dependent on how one acted on Earth but rather on a relationship with Christ.

Mormon: Comes through Jesus Christ for all people. After being resurrected, all will be judged, and according to the Plan of Salvation, their level of reward in the afterlife depends on how they lived their earthly life.


Evangelical: Prohibits (or discourages) premarital sex and drunkenness. Moderate consumption of alcohol and tobacco is typically accepted by the evangelical churches. Strong emphasis on family values and community.

Mormon: Expects complete abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea. The church also prohibits members from having sexual relations outside of marriage. Strong emphasis on family values and community.

Size of church

Evangelical: About 100 million Americans - a third of the population - are evangelical Protestants. (Evangelical population estimates vary by survey.)

Mormon: Six million Americans belong to the Mormon Church, comprising about 2 percent of the population. Roughly a quarter of U.S. Mormons live in Utah; more than half live outside the U.S.

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