How are Mormons different than Christians?

Todd Noall

Todd Noall

Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Kevin Prince


Among Christianity, there exists a rich diversity of beliefs, practices, and denominations. One group that often sparks curiosity and sometimes confusion is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the LDS Church, or Mormons. Mormons identify as Christians because they worship Jesus Christ. Christianity and Mormonism both claim a common ancestor in Judaism. However, there are distinct theological, doctrinal, and cultural differences that set Mormons apart from older Christian denominations. This might even cause some to question, are Mormons Christians? Here we will explore some of the key areas where Mormonism and Christianity diverge.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith Jr. in 1830. After experiencing confusion about the diversity of Christian denominations in the burnt-over district of New York, Smith reported that he prayed about what church to join and saw Jesus Christ and God the Father. They told him not to join any church. Later, Smith would report having a vision of an angel who told him where an ancient American record was stored. He retrieved the book and translated it–it is called the Book of Mormon. After publishing the book, Smith started the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons view their church as the restoration of original Christianity, which had been lost after the deaths of the eleven apostles. Other Christians believe their religions are a continuation of apostolic Christianity and generally see Mormonism as a new religion with distinct beliefs.


Mormons believe that the Bible is the word of God. However, central to Mormon belief is that God has given His children additional scripture beyond the Bible, including the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. Because Mormons believe in the Book of Mormon, some Christians think this is why are Mormons not Christians. However, Mormons note that the Book of Mormon testifies of the universal mission of Jesus Christ to the people of the Americas. The Doctrine and Covenants is a record of Jesus Christ’s revelations to Joseph Smith and other modern prophets. The Pearl of Great Price contains the ancient prophetic teachings of Moses, Adam, Enoch, and Abraham. These texts are considered by Mormons to be divinely inspired and complementary to the Bible, providing further insights into God’s plan and teachings.

Christians believe the age of prophets ended with the apostles of Jesus. Mormons, on the other hand, believe in continuing revelation through prophets and apostles. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by a president considered a prophet, who they believe receives ongoing revelation for the church.

Doctrines and Beliefs

One of the most notable doctrinal differences between Mormons and other Christians lies in their understanding of the nature of God and the concept of the Trinity. Most of Christianity adheres to the doctrine of the Trinity, as written in the Nicene Creed, which teaches that God is one being in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Mormons believe in the concept of the Godhead, which teaches that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate, distinct beings. This is one way how are Mormons different than other Christians.

Mormons believe in the concept of eternal progression, that humans have the potential to become like God through obedience to divine principles and ordinances. This theology is called theosis. Although some people believe theosis is a doctrine distinct to Mormons, it is actually a belief shared by the Eastern Orthodox Church, one of the three major branches of Christianity. Although there are differences between Mormon and Eastern Orthodox theosis, they share the belief the “goal of each and every person is to share in the life of God.”

Christians believe in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. This emphasis on grace, or God’s unmerited favor, is a cornerstone of Christian theology. Many Christian denominations emphasize that a vocal or heartfelt acceptance of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can bring Jesus Christ’s grace into your life. As Christians, Mormons believe in Jesus’ grace but emphasize the importance of accepting this grace by obedience to God’s commandments and performing His saving ordinances, which are baptism, and temple covenants (the endowment and sealing).

Temple Ordinances and the Afterlife

Another distinctive aspect of Christianity vs. Mormonism is Mormonism’s emphasis on temple worship and ordinances. Mormons believe that ordinances such as baptism, endowment, and sealing (marriage) are necessary for exaltation in the Kingdom of God. Because of the absolute necessity of these ordinances, Mormons believe that they should be available to those who did not get the chance to perform them in their lives on Earth. So, in Mormon temples, these ordinances are not only for the living but also for deceased people through vicarious proxy rituals. 

Mormons place a high emphasis on family, both here and in the afterlife. They believe in the possibility of families being together forever through a temple ordinance called sealing, where a man and woman can be married for eternity, not just for their earthly lives. 

In Mormonism, members believe that there is a period after people die when they can accept temple ordinances that are vicariously performed for them. After this period, there are three heavenly rewards for people, depending on their faithfulness to Jesus Christ. They also believe in a type of hell. Other Christians’ views on the afterlife vary widely, with some denominations emphasizing heaven and hell as destinations for souls.

Lifestyle and Cultural Practices:

Beyond theological differences, Mormons also have unique lifestyle and cultural practices that distinguish them from some other Christians. These practices include adherence to a strict code of health known as the Word of Wisdom, which prohibits the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and green and black tea. 

Additionally, Mormons who have made temple covenants wear underclothing called Mormon temple garments, or simply garments. Because this underclothing is not meant to be shown under their regular clothing, Mormons often adhere to strict modesty standards. 

Mormons also place a strong emphasis on family values, with a focus on marriage, parenting, and intergenerational relationships. Family home evening, a weekly gathering for family members to engage in religious instruction and activities is a common practice among Mormons. This evening is aimed at strengthening familial bonds and spiritual growth.


Despite their shared identification as Christians, Mormons often face misconceptions and stereotypes from both within and outside the broader Christian community. Some may view Mormon beliefs and practices as unorthodox or heretical, while others may perpetuate misunderstandings about their faith.

While Mormons and other Christians share a common foundation in the teachings of Jesus Christ, there are differences that shape their respective beliefs, practices, and identities. From unique doctrines and sacred ordinances to lifestyle practices and cultural norms, Mormonism can be considered very different from other forms of Christianity. 
It’s important to approach discussions about religious differences with empathy, humility, and a willingness to listen and learn. By engaging in respectful dialogue and seeking to understand the beliefs and experiences of others, we can foster greater harmony and mutual respect within the diverse tapestry of Christianity. For more information about Mormon beliefs, visit Mormonism Explained.

By Todd Noall, Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Mr. Kevin Prince, Source Expert

Kevin Prince is a religious scholar and host of the Gospel Learning Youtube channel. His channel has garnered over 41,000 subscribers and accumulated over 4.5 million views. Mr. Prince also created the Gospel Learning App, a reliable platform where individuals seeking truth can access trustworthy answers to religious questions from top educators worldwide.

About Mormonism Explained

Mormonism Explained is a resource that was designed to provide objective and factual information about Mormonism, its history, doctrines, and policies. Our team of researchers consults experts and primary sources to present factual information on a variety of topics relevant to the Mormon Church.