Do Mormons Worship a ‘Different’ Jesus?

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The Mormon Jesus healing the blind.

All too often than not, I always run into some video or some article from the anti-Mormon polemic claiming that Mormons worship a ‘different’ Jesus. “Jesus of Mormonism and traditional Christianity are not the same” writes one of our ‘experts’, Mr. Slick, and continues that it would be better for Mormons to call Jesus “Bolok” rather than Jesus, the Christ, of Nazareth. He concludes his ‘article’ that “Mormonism definitely does not teach the same Jesus as Christianity.” [1] Another Mormon ‘expert’, Eric Johnson, says that “The LDS version of Jesus is, unfortunately, missing the mark.” [2] “Mormonism claims to be a Christian Church, but it does not have the same Jesus. Mormonism worships a false Christ (2 Cor. 11:24)” writes John L. Smith, of the Oklahoma based Utah Missions Inc. “Mormon leaders have admitted that they believe in another Jesus. One official Mormon of the Mormon Church has declared, ‘It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshiped by the Mormons.’ ” [3]

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The Mormon Jesus, calming the seas. (Mark 4:39)

Our ‘experts’ find it pleasing to continue to spread discord and confusion about the faith. It is beyond the question, however, that Mormons worship the same Jesus as do other Christians.  Among these arguments, one that I have heard time and again is that because Jesus does things in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants that aren’t found in the Bible, then the ‘Mormon’ Jesus must be different than the Christian Jesus. This argument, of course, is ridiculous. To demonstrate why, I have provided a list of the ‘Luke’ Jesus, vs ‘Matthews’ Jesus.

Note: The following is meant to illustrate the ridiculousness of anti-Mormon arguments and is not what I actually believe:

LUKE HAS A DIFFERENT JESUS:

Luke’s baby Jesus was visited by shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). The real baby Jesus was visited by the wise men (Matthew 2:1-12).
Luke’s Jesus was circumcised at the age of eight days (Luke 2:21-22). The real Jesus, being a Christian and not a Jew, was not circumcised. Neither Matthew, Mark, or John mentions Jesus being circumcised.
Luke’s Jesus, at the age of 12, was found speaking to the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41-51). The real Jesus did no such thing. Check out the accounts in Matthew, Mark, and John, which say nothing about this fictitious event.
Luke’s Jesus taught his famous sermon on the plain (Luke 6:17-49). The real Jesus taught his famous sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7).
Luke’s Jesus, arriving in the country of the Gadarenes, cast devils out of a man into a herd of swine (Luke 8:26-39). The real Jesus, arriving in the country of the Gergesenes, cast devils out of two men into a herd of swine (Matthew 8:28-34).
Luke’s Jesus healed a blind man at Jericho (Luke 18:35). The real Jesus healed two blind men at Jericho (Matthew 20:29-34).
Luke’s Jesus was comforted by an angel in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39). The real Jesus, being God, was comforted in Gethsemane by praying to his Father personna (Matthew 26:36-42; Mark 14:32-36).
Luke’s Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead at Nain (Luke 7:11-15). The real Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead at Bethany (John 11:1-44).
Luke’s Jesus was not known to be the Christ by John the Baptist (Luke 7:18-22). The real Jesus was recognized by John the Baptist to be the Christ at the time of his baptism (Matthew 3:13; John 1:32-36).
Luke’s Jesus celebrated his last supper at Passover (Luke 22:7-15). The real Jesus celebrated his last supper before Passover (John 13:1; 18:28).
Luke’s Jesus was arrested and taken to the house of the high priest (Luke 22:54). The real Jesus was arrested and taken to the house of Annas, father-in-law to the high priest Caiaphas (John 18:13).
Luke’s Jesus asked the Father to forgive his crucifiers (Luke 23:34). The real Jesus uttered no such words (check out Matthew, Mark, and John if you don’t believe me).
Luke’s resurrected Jesus commanded his disciples to not depart from Jerusalem, then ascended to heaven from Bethany on the mount of Olives (Luke 24:49-51). The real resurrected Jesus commanded his disciples to go into Galilee to meet him there, and it was atop a Galilean mountain that he instructed them to go into all the world, then ascended to heaven (Matthew 28:10, 16-20; Mark 16:15-20).

With this thought, I want to remind my readers of a statement made by John:

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25).

With that said, we should be grateful that we have both the Bible and the Book of Mormon to testify of Christ’s Divine Sonship.

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The Mormon Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:1-44)

Our ‘experts’ love to use the following quote made by Gordon B Hinkley in order to bar Mormonism from Christendom:

No I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the dispensation of the fullness of times.” [4]

This quote, like so many quotes by the LDS leadership, was grossly taken from its intended meaning and context. President Hinkley was referring to the post-biblical creeds and stating that Mormons do not believe in these. Which is quite true; Mormons do not believe in any post-biblical creeds from Nicene. After he said this, Hinkley continued to say:

Am I Christian? Of course I am. I believe in Christ. I talk of Christ. I pray through Christ. I’m trying to follow Him and live His gospel in my life.”

Of course, as we see time and again, this part of the quote was omitted and ignored by our ‘experts’.

To strengthen their claim, critics have also modified the following quote found in an anti-Mormon movie called Search for the TruthOur ‘experts’ here, have actually rephrased the quote to make it seem more damning:

“No I don’t believe in the traditional Christ. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the dispensation of the Fullness of Times.” [5]

President Hinckley understood how the critics would attempt to portray Latter-day Saints with regard to their belief in Christ:

As a Church we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say. Our faith, our knowledge is not based on ancient tradition, the creeds which came of a finite understanding and out of the almost infinite discussions of men trying to arrive at a definition of the risen Christ. Our faith, our knowledge comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation who saw before him the great God of the universe and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. They spoke to him. He spoke with Them. He testified openly, unequivocally, and unabashedly of that great vision. It was a vision of the Almighty and of the Redeemer of the world, glorious beyond our understanding but certain and unequivocating in the knowledge which it brought. It is out of that knowledge, rooted deep in the soil of modern revelation, that we, in the words of Nephi, “talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that [we and] our children may know to what source [we] may look for a remission of [our] sins” (2 Nephi 25:26). [6]

However, Gordon B. Hinkley was very clear on how he viewed Christ’s Divinity:

Are we Christians? Of course we are Christians. We believe in Christ. We worship Christ. We take upon ourselves in solemn covenant His holy name. The Church to which we belong carries His name. He is our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer through whom came the great Atonement with salvation and eternal life. [7]

Our ‘experts’, are likely quite aware of Gordon B Hinkley’s position on Christ. One wonders, then, why they go through such dishonest endeavors to argue otherwise.

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The Mormon Jesus walks on water. (Matthew 14:22-33)

Another claim that comes up again more often than not, is that Mormons worship a ‘different’ Jesus. This argument, like so many anti-Mormon claims, can easily be demonstrated as false.

For instance, in the Hellenistic periods, men thought that Earth was flat like a plane or a disk. [8] Later, we found out that the earth was round. But ideas circulated that Earth was its centerpiece. Then later, as knowledge of the universe progressed, humans found out that the Sun was at the centerpiece and so on. Perhaps, at least according to one of our ‘experts’, Mr. Slick, we should then call the universe something else to put a stamper on confusion. Maybe we should then call Earth “Mensn” or “Bullock”. It’s apparent that the universe of antiquity is a different universe than the one we observe today. Of course, as any reader could see, that would be ridiculous and would cause even more confusion and discord rather than clarity, which is exactly what the anti-Mormon polemics are trying to do!

To help emphasize what Jesus the Mormons subscribe to, I’ve taken the liberty to compile a list of what Mormons believe in contrast to Mainstream Christians do about Jesus:

The Mormon Jesus                         The Christian Jesus

Born in Bethlehem                           Born in Bethlehem
Jewish                                              Jewish
David’s Line                                     David’s Line
Stepfather: Joseph                          Stepfather: Joseph
Mother: Mary                                   Mother: Mary
Early First Century                           Early First Century
Carpenter, Preacher                        Carpenter, Preacher
Taught in the Temple                       Taught in the Temple
Sojourn in Egypt                              Sojourn in Egypt
Baptized                                           Baptized
Walked on Water                             Walked on Water
Water to Wine                                  Water to Wine
Gave Parables                                 Gave Parables
Was Crucified                                   Was Crucified
Death under Pontius Pilot                 Death under Pontius Pilot
Died just outside of Jerusalem         Died just outside of Jerusalem
Earthquake after death                     Earthquake after death
Resurrected                                      Resurrected
Ascended into Heaven                     Ascended into Heaven
Again, we should remember the words of John:

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25).

Latter-day Saints are fortunate enough to have both the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon to testify of the Divinity of Christ. For further inquiry:
FAIRMormon Answers 
Mormon Christianity (by a reputable non-LDS scholar and theologian, Stephen H Webb)
LDS Teachings
Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Bushman
Offenders for a Word by Daniel C Peterson

1. Slick, Matt. CARM. “Hinkley Says Mormons Worship a Different Jesus. Site.
2. Johnson, Eric. MRM “Is the LDS Jesus Different from the one that was taught in the Bible?”
3. J. L. Smith “Mormonism Has Another Jesus.” Cf Fraser (1977).
4. See Gordon B. Hinckley, cited in “Crown of Gospel is Upon Our Heads,” LDS Church News, (Saturday, 20 June 1998): 7
5. This version of the statement is attributed to President Hinckley in the “Search for the Truth” DVD. A screenshot may be viewed here. (emphasis added)
6.  Gordon B. Hinckley, “We Look to Christ,” Ensign(May 2002), 90. off-site
7.  Gordon B. Hinckley, “We Look to Christ,” Ensign(May 2002), 90. off-site
8. “Their cosmography as far as we know anything about it was practically of one type up until the time of the white man’s arrival upon the scene. That of the Borneo Dayaks may furnish us with some idea of it. ‘They consider the Earth to be a flat surface, whilst the heavens are a dome, a kind of glass shade which covers the Earth and comes in contact with it at the horizon.'” Lucien Levy-Bruhl, Primitive Mentality(repr. Boston: Beacon, 1966) 353; “The usual primitive conception of the world’s form … [is] flat and round below and surmounted above by a solid firmament in the shape of an inverted bowl.” H. B. Alexander, The Mythology of All Races 10: North American (repr. New York: Cooper Square, 1964) 249.

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