When I was in the MTC a lady told me that she believed in the Christian Jesus but not in the Mormon Jesus. I asked her what that meant; I wasn't aware that multiple Jesus's had walked this planet. She responded, in a somewhat annoyed tone, that her Jesus was the right Jesus and mine was wrong. I worded my question a little more bluntly the second time, in order to get the answer I wanted, and asked if she believed that more than one Jesus was born, ministered, and atoned for the sins of mankind. With chagrin she admitted that there was only one Jesus who ever lived, but the Christian interpretation of Jesus was different than the Mormon one. I clearly knew that that was what she meant to say, but I wanted her to acknowledge that our Jesus was in fact the same man. She read to me a creed or something of the sort that defined her new age religion's beliefs about Christ and I told her we believed everything she recited to me. She was taken aback and informed me that there was no way that was true because her Jesus didn't require anything of her, and mine required a lot of me. I agreed with her on that point, made a joke about the fact that we were back to saying that Jesus has an evil Mormon twin, and then told her what we believe about Jesus. We finally got somewhere in our conversation.
I was asked by a friend to pen a post about the differences between Mormonism and other Christian religions. There are a lot differences and a lot of similarities, too. I have found that people, just like the lady above, like to act like all Christian religions are on one team and Mormons are on another one. In the theological dodge ball tournament a lot of balls are undeservedly thrown at people's heads. There are more similarities between Mormonism and all other Christian religions than people realize; though there are key differences as well. I want to outline what I believe is the main difference between other Christian denominations and Mormonism in the friendliest way I know possible; an analogy that involves cake.
For the sake of this post I want everyone to act as if their favorite cake flavor is chocolate. If that is simply too much to ask of you, then you have to imagine a different cake every time I mention fudge, devil's food, chocolate, or any other delicious adjectives derived straight from the cocoa bean.
All Christian religions (including Mormonism) are like cakes. They are made of roughly the same ingredients with slightly different instructions and more or less add-ins. Mormonism is like the homemade sour cream chocolate pound cake below. The tantalizing semi-sweet ganache that laces the delectable calorie packed confection is divine in its own right. As I have said in previous posts, the true name of the Mormon church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As the name states, it is the church of Jesus Christ. That doesn't just mean that we like Jesus or that we follow his teachings or that we try to emulate his actions and behavior. It literally is the church that Jesus Christ established while he was on the Earth. It is the authentic church. The only true church. The church that has all of the pieces. When Jesus Christ ventured on his three year ministry, he shared His gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, and enduring to the end) with every one he came into contact with. He held the priesthood authority of God and conferred that power upon the twelve apostles he worked closely with. When they were all killed after Christ's resurrection, the priesthood* was taken from the Earth. It was restored to Joseph Smith when he was directed by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to establish Christ's church on Earth once more. The main difference between Mormonism and other Christian religions is that members of the Mormon faith have the priesthood authority of God to perform saving ordinances the correct way, to administer blessings of healing and comfort, and to lead a worldwide congregation of people. When you think of a chocolate cake done right, you imagine a gooey fudge concoction created with the perfect mixture of chocolate, sour cream, and love. A cake that can make you forget about all of your problems. That cake, my friends, is a Mormon cake.
|While I like to flatter myself by thinking my words brought you to my blog, we all know this picture did. You can find the recipe here. I promise it is as good as it looks.|
Other Christian religions have many of the same facets that the LDS church does. They are much like a cake made from a boxed mix. They look delicious--and they are delicious-- but not quite as mouth-wateringly delectable as a made from scratch, sugar coma inducing cake. They're missing some of the ingredients that the homemade cake has, like sour cream, for example. They don't have God's priesthood authority so many of their actions don't hold the same weight. A lot of boxed cakes can be made to look beautiful too, but that doesn't mean that they're as good when you bite into them. Many churches look wonderful from the outside with their worship bands, beautiful structures, and convenient Saturday services, but they're still not authentic.
While I am using blunt terminology to describe religion, I hope everyone knows that I respect other Christians and their religions. Many people who are dear to me are members of other faiths. While I acknowledge their wonderfulness, I am not going to let that detract from what I know to be true. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the exact church that Christ lead while he was on Earth. I know that you can know that too by praying and asking Heavenly Father in faith to answer your prayer. You have to want to know to get an answer and you have to have an open heart and an open mind, but you will get an answer. You may be happy with your boxed cake religion, but don't let that fool you into believing you have it all. Contentment isn't pure joy. Pure joy is a Williams-Sonoma pound cake.
* For more on the priesthood through prophets on the Earth, read my previous post here.