What do Mormons believe about other churches? What do they believe about their own church?- the fact and myth cheat sheet
This is part of the Mormon fact and myth cheat sheet on this website. The main list of Mormon facts and Myths can be found here. This section specifically discusses Mormon belief about other churches and what Mormons believe about their own church.
This is a compilation of facts and myths about Mormon beliefs compiled from comments and other resources. I add things to this list as I run into them so this list has more information on it than I have had time to write about in detail. Some of these can be uncommonly random.
Some of these comments may have been collected from someone that is trying to imply that Mormons won't tell you about these things. This is partially accurate simply because we don't actually believe in many of these things. On a similar note, I have pulled some of this information from several "campaigns" which claim that they just want to help us Mormons realize the error of our ways. However, most of these campaigns are not actually targeted to Mormons. They are targeted to those who are not Mormon and may be curious about what we really believe. In war and politics it is known as a "disinformation" campaign and it's used to keep other people in the dark or doubtful of factual information. If these campaigns were intended to target Mormons, they would talk to us directly, instead of referring to Mormons in the third person as "they," and they would use our real teachings to try and convince us of our error.
You may notice that after the first sentence, these descriptions are written in a way so that anyone can quote them if they need to. The disadvantage to this is that there are some things that get repeated in the explanations more than once. It should be noted that this site is not an official source for Mormon doctrine, so if you're going to quote from this site I would recommend that you point out the sources or link back to this page so readers can verify accurate sources for themselves. I have also bolded some things in each statement to help identify the key points.
Speaking of repeating stuff, this introduction is fairly standard on the other fact and myth pages so you can probably skip it on the next one without missing much.
Editing and referencing is still an ongoing process for this page.
Mormon belief about other churches and about the LDS church
"Mormons believe the LDS church is lead directly by Christ":
This is true.
Mormons believe that the one in charge of the LDS church is the one whose church it is, specifically Jesus Christ. They believe he directs his church on the earth through revelation to the prophet and president of the church. Christ is the highest authority in the church.
"Mormons believe that all other churches are an abomination":
This is false.
Mormons believe that there is a church identified in their scripture as the great and abominable church. It is not a specific religion, denomination, or church, but rather its members are those who willfully fight against God. It includes people from all denominations and beliefs, including LDS. Latter-day Saints also believe that Christ stated that the creeds of all religions "were an abomination in his sight." They believe that this means that they were not given by revelation from Christ, but rather voted and debated on by mankind in a council. Mormons believe that doctrine can only be given by revelation from Christ and that he is the only one that has the right to define it. They believe this revelation is given to the prophet as he seeks it, and then the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have to unanimously approve it before it can be doctrine.
"Mormons believe that other churches are wrong":
This is inaccurate.
Mormons believe that other churches have a portion of the truth and are very beneficial to the spiritual well being of mankind. However they believe that they are not whole without the authority and direction by revelation from Christ. Mormons believe the LDS church to be the church established by revelation by Christ in the last days and therefore has a more complete foundation of gospel principles and has the proper authority of the priesthood on the earth.
"Pastors of other churches are hirelings of Satan":
Yes, someone seriously claimed this. And no, we do not believe it.
Mormons believe that there are many good and honest people who lead or belong to other congregations who will be welcomed into the highest kingdoms of Heaven. This has never been taught in any LDS church or temple.
"The Mormon church is hemorrhaging or losing members":
Ooh look! Backing data!
The rate of hemorrhage of Mormon members can be measured using the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which asks people directly instead of relying on the statistics provided by a church. According to the in the LDS church's almanac, the membership for the Mormon church in the U.S. at the beginning of 2000 was 5,113,409. This same data was recorded as 6,144,582 at the beginning of 2010. This is a membership increase of 20%. The U.S. population growth was 9.7% for the same time frame according to the U.S. Census. The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey done in 2007 by the Pew Forums allows us to measure the claimed membership count against what respondents actually believe. So using simple math, we determine what the LDS membership should have been in 2007 using those previous figures and compare that to the amount claimed by the church and the difference is the rate of actual hemorrhage. The average growth was 103,117 members per year, so 7 years should have come up to a total of about 5,835,230 U.S. members, or about 1.9% of the U.S. population of 301,139,947 in 2007. So how does this compare to the survey? According to the survey, about 1.7% of the U.S. population self-identifies themselves as Mormon. That means that the LDS church is 'hemorrhaging' members at about one-fifth of one percent (00.2%).
"Mormons call non-Mormons 'Gentiles'":
This is false.
Mormons call non-Mormons 'non-Mormons' or 'non-members.' The term Gentile was used to refer to the group of people who were not of the lineage of Israel in ancient Jerusalem. Some leaders of the LDS church have used the term to refer to non-Mormons decades ago, but it is certainly not what most members call non-members now.
"Mormons believe non-members are evil":
This is false.
Mormons believe a good person is a good person regardless of their religion. The idea that non-members are evil would negate the idea of missionary work. Latter-day Saints believe that there is both good and bad people in all demographics, including the LDS faith.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was once officially known as the Mormon church":
This is false.
'The Mormon Church' was originally a negative label used by critics of the church in the 1800's. The LDS church has never been officially named as The Mormon Church. It was known as "The Church of Christ" for several years until it was renamed to it's current name in 1838. The official name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"There are hundreds of divisions of Mormonism":
This is false.
There are seven major groups which have claimed that Joseph Smith was their founder. The largest existing branch is the LDS church. The second largest is the Community of Christ. If you count every single division of every group that ever claimed to have broken off from the original or another division of the original church founded by Joseph Smith, including those that no longer exist and those that include membership of only one family household, you would have just above 80 to date.
"The Mormon church keeps track of all your sins and confessions":
This is false.
Each Latter-day saint has a membership record that has their name and address on it, but the record doesn't contain any information in it about what you have talked to a bishop about. It also has no record of what callings you have served in either. There is one exception to this, which is in the case of abuse. Members who have abused someone in the past can never hold a calling that would place them in the potential situation where they could possibly abuse again.