Light the World picture

As Christmas approaches, I have noticed that Mormon Missionaries are changing their pictures on social media, adding these words Light the World. Many of them have a photograph of themselves, usually holding a Book of Mormon, and beneath their picture are these words #LightTheWorld.

Impressively, several of them have ‘Light of the World’ in other languages, particularly Farsi, as they seek to reach out to asylum seekers here in the U.K. What are they doing?

Light the World with Love is a Mormon initiative to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Their aim, they say, is to love as He did, and so show the world the true meaning of Christmas. As admirable as this is, and as nice and shiny as their pictures may be, I have all kinds of issues with this.

We Celebrate Christmas Just Like You

Mormons would have us believe that they are ‘Christians’, who celebrate Christmas just as other Christians do. Their purpose, they say, is to light the world, just like other Christians. On the surface it can appear that this is the case. For example, they will sing well-known Christmas Carols and read the familiar Christmas narratives from the gospels. They will talk about Jesus being born as the Saviour of the World and how His atoning sacrifice is the reason for the season. But friends we need to go beyond their superficial platitudes, to discover why the Mormon Christmas is not the Christmas celebrated by Bible believing Christians.

The Baby in the Manger

The first question we need to ask the Mormon is, who is the baby in your manger? Do Mormons and Bible Christians have the same baby lying in that cradle? Let me begin by outlining the Jesus of historic, orthodox, Christianity.

The child born unto Mary was the uncreated second member of the Holy Trinity.1 The Trinity is the belief that there is One God, who has eternally existed as three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).2 The baby in the manger has existed eternally as the Son of God,3 and was truly God and truly man.4 This baby was born via a miraculous virgin birth and that which was conceived in her was from the Holy Spirit .5

Does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirm these great truths? Do Mormons have the same baby as Biblical Christians?

Throwing the Baby out with the Bath Water

Have you heard people say that you shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water? While there may be some truth in this, it depends on whether there is a baby in the bath water to begin with? Who do the Mormon’s believe the baby to be?

Mormons affirm that Jesus was not created, but before we jump up and rejoice, let us consider what they mean by this. They believe that Jesus was not created in the same way they believe none of us were created. Jesus, like each of us, is made from pre-existing eternal material.

Twelfth LDS President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Our spirit matter was eternal and co-existent with God, but it was organized into spirit bodies by our Heavenly Father”6

In Mormon belief, creation was not by ex nihilo (out of nothing) but rather ex materia (out of pre-existing eternal material). This eternal matter was organised in creation, and it is also the stuff of what each of one of us is made. Therefore, we are all non-created beings. We are eternal matter with a spiritual body, which was created for us by Heavenly Father.

This means there is no difference between Jesus and anyone else, even Satan himself has the same nature. The only distinction between us and the Mormon Jesus, is that he was the first spirit child of Heavenly Father.

Friends, this is not the Jesus of Biblical Christianity. Theirs is a different baby.

His Name Shall Be Immanuel

Biblical Christianity teaches that Jesus was God incarnate.

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Matthew 1:23

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:1; 14

Though Mormonism will call Jesus the Son of God, they do not believe he is uniquely so. As I explained above, the Mormon Jesus is no different from us and so we are all sons and daughters of God.

Christianity teaches that Jesus is distinctively the Son of God because He has existed eternally as God, the second person of the Holy Trinity.

You may have heard Mormons say that they believe in the trinity, but of course it is important to have them unpack and explain everything that they claim to believe.

In our Articles of Faith we declare our belief in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost – in other words, the Trinity. We accept the scriptural doctrine that they are separate and distinct personages’.7

The ancient prophecies knew that the Godhead consisted of three separate and distinct personages, each of whom had a definite work to perform, and yet they all worked in perfect unity as one. The three Gods constituted the Holy Trinity’.8

As can be seen from these quotes, Mormonism teaches that the trinity consists of three separate Gods. This is not the orthodox trinity of historical Christianity.

Friends, this is not the Jesus of Biblical Christianity. Theirs is a different baby.

The Baby and His Mission

Why did the eternal Son of God leave His heavenly glory to be born on earth? This is what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says:

Heavenly Father promised us that He would send His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to teach us the gospel, to be our example, and to suffer and die for us so that we could return to Heavenly Father’s presence.9

Notice what is being said here. The Father sent the Son to:

  1. Teach us the gospel
  2. To be our example
  3. To suffer and die that we could return to Heavenly Father’s presence.

Let us briefly consider what is being said here.

The Gospel According to Mormonism

‘THE GOSPEL NEVER CHANGES. This work is based upon the fundamental principles that do not change. They must not, they cannot change, because they are eternal…FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL. By fulness of the gospel is meant all the ordinances and principles that pertain to the exaltation in the celestial kingdom…’10

The gospel is our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. The central doctrine of the gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:4). In its fulness, the gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom. The Savior has promised that if we endure to the end, faithfully living the gospel, He will hold us guiltless before the Father at the Final Judgment (see 3 Nephi 27:16).11

Friends this is not the biblical gospel, this is a different gospel. The gospel of Mormonism, what they term ’Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness’ cannot be found anywhere in the Bible or indeed anywhere taught in Christian history.

Do we find Jesus, or the Christian Church, anywhere teaching that He was the first spirit child of Heavenly Father?

Do we read anywhere, outside of Joseph Smith’s imaginings, that temples must be built, and ordinances performed so a person can potentially return to a Heavenly Father who dwells in a celestial kingdom?

The gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is far removed from the simple gospel preached by the early church.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…

(1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Is the gospel preached by Paul to the Corinthians in any way comparable to the Mormon gospel? The great apostle warned the church in Galatia:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

Friends, the Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus of Biblical Christianity. Theirs is a different baby.

Jesus Our Example

What do Mormons mean when they say that Jesus was our example? In an article entitled: Jesus Christ set the perfect example for us, Howard W. Hunter, the fourteenth president of the church said:

To be a light is to be an exemplar—one who sets an example and is a model for others to follow. … [We have covenanted] to follow Christ, the great exemplar. We have the responsibility to learn of him, the things he taught and the things he did during his earthly ministry. 12

In Mormon belief Jesus was ultimately only an example that we are to follow. Just as Jesus followed the Father’s Plan of Happiness, we must do the same. Just as Jesus kept all the laws and ordinances of the gospel, so should we. In other words, Jesus showed that it was possible to live a life obedient to the Father and we too, if we want to return to Heavenly Father, need to be perfect as He was perfect.

Friends, Jesus did not come to only be an example that we must imitate. Jesus had a unique mission, one that He alone could fulfil. He was the long-foretold Messiah:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

The baby in the manger was ‘God with us’. The eternal God made His dwelling amongst us, for He alone could bear the price for our sin.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Friends, the Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus of Biblical Christianity. Theirs is a different baby.

Jesus Our Saviour

Mormons teach that Jesus suffered and died that we could return to Heavenly Father’s presence. As we have seen this is predicated upon our obedience in following Jesus’ example.

When Mormons speak about Jesus as Saviour, they mean something very different from biblical Christianity. Christians believe that Jesus did it all and all to Him we owe, whereas Mormons believe they must do their bit. The Jesus of Mormonism played His part, now we must play ours if we are to enjoy eternal life with Him.

For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.’13

To enter the celestial and obtain exaltation it is necessary that the whole law be kept.’14

How incredibly sad it is that rank and file Mormons follow after that which cannot be achieved through their self-effort. If the law could be perfectly kept, then there would have been no need for Jesus to have died for our sin. But there is nothing we can do to save ourselves; we can only throw ourselves upon God’s mercy – we need grace.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

The Light of the World

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2)

Who Jesus is booklet
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Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I began this article by pointing out that Mormon Missionaries were flooding social media with pictures of themselves and the hashtag #LightTheWorld. What we have discovered in this brief excursion into Mormon belief about Jesus, is that theirs is a different baby. The light the Mormons offer is no light at all, and in fact leads people away from the true light into darkness.

Friends, the Jesus of Mormonism is not the same baby worshipped by the angels, adored by the shepherds, and celebrated by the Magi. Mormons may claim to be Christians celebrating Christmas as ‘other’ Christians do, but let’s not be fooled – theirs is a different baby.

1 Colossians 1:16, 17 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

2 Matthew 28:19, 20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

3 Matthew 3:16, 17 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

4 John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Colossians 2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily

5 Matthew 1:20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

6 Spencer W. Kimball Miracle of Forgiveness, p.5

7 Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life, p.312

8 Milton R. Hunter, Pearl of Great Price Commentary, p.52


10 Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:159. Italics in the original.



13 Doctrine and Covenants 78:7

14 Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p.206