GotQuestions.org nicely sums up this works “to do” list for us:
In the Mormon gospel we see belief + repentance + baptism + laying on of hands + temple work + mission work + church ministry + tithing + ceasing from sin + abstaining from the use of intoxicants and strong drinks and tobacco and caffeine + confessing Joseph Smith as Prophet + temple marriage + baptism for the dead + genealogy research…the list could go on and on and on.
Only upon completion of all these things may Mormons attain the third and highest “degree of glory,” thus achieving the ultimate goal of the Mormon gospel—godhood.
Wait—what? Mormons believe they’ll become gods? Where does it say that in the Bible?
And Mormons believe there’s no hell, but a “spirit prison.” LDS doctrine also teaches that Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit are separate, individual gods—part of a universal community of gods. But here’s the kicker: These gods were once mere men! Don’t miss this: Mormons believe that God—our Creator—was once a man elevated to godhood by his own efforts.
So the ultimate goal of every committed Mormon male, then, is to also attain godhood. In the words of LDS founder Joseph Smith, “Here then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you.”
In the early 1800s, while still a teen, Smith claimed he had visions of being visited by God, Jesus and the angel Moroni. God’s supposed message to him: that all existing Christian churches were false, and their teachings an “abomination.” So directed by Moroni, Smith translated special gold plates on which were written the Book of Mormon. (It is from this book, which the LDS believe contains the “fullness of the gospel,” that the church got the nickname “Mormon.”)
Smith pronounced the text to be “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion…a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
Wait—what? Joseph Smith asserted that the Book of Mormon has been more faithfully translated (transmitted) than the Bible?
Per the LDS website, “The Book of Mormon answers essential questions that we all have at some point: Is there life after death, and what’s waiting for us on the other side? What is the purpose of life, and how can I find happiness and peace now? Does God know me and hear my prayers? How can I avoid sin and learn to truly repent? How can I become the best possible version of myself?”
I share this response put forth by Pastor Tim Challies: “The heart of Joseph Smith’s false teaching was that he put his own authority over the authority of Scripture. By adding his own revelation to the Bible’s revelation, Smith took it upon himself to identify and correct what he claimed were errors in Scripture.”
Interesting stuff, right? Space constraints demand that I move on to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But I leave you with this comparison chart that shows, clearly, that Christianity and Mormonism are very different religions. You might also watch this YouTube video, in which two ex-Mormons share why they left the church.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) movement started in the late 1800s under the leadership of Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916). Russell outlined early church doctrine in his six volume series, Studies in Scripture.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Christianity died soon after Christ, but was resurrected under Russell. In the 1870s Russell organized the Watchtower Society, which directs, administers and disseminates all doctrine. Per current Watchtower doctrine, society members are “modern day servants of Jehovah, a people intent on living in the light of biblical truth.”