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I'm sure Mormons are neither Catholic nor Orthodox. There is no doubt that they are Christians but I'm not sure they are Protestants or not.

Are Mormons Protestants or they are just "Latter Day Saints"?

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It all depends on what you mean by "Protestant". Webster's reserves two definitions for the word "insects" - one for those having only three pairs of legs and the other one for those having just many legs. A child will say that a spider is an insect, and a scientist will say not, and both will be correct according to Webster's, because they will be using different definitions. So, it all depends on what definition you are using for the word "Protestants". –  brilliant Jul 13 '13 at 19:56
If your definition of "Protestant" is the one who calls himself a Christian and does not belong to the Oriental Orthodoxy, Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, then Mormons will fall into this category. However, if you say that a protestant is the one who calls himself a Christian, does not belong to to the Oriental Orthodoxy, Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, and yet believes that Jesus is God, then Mormons will be dismissed. –  brilliant Jul 13 '13 at 20:24
Protestant and Catholic are two sides of the same coin. LDS is not of the same coin. The word "Christian," is used by more than 33,000 Protestant denominations, which have differing ideas on Christology, and not even the catholic churches agree completely. So, it would be better to address specific Protestant belief groups. –  Waeshael Jul 16 '13 at 14:43
According to whom? –  Flimzy Feb 12 at 18:42
@Flimzy The I think we can assume that a good answer will first cover what LDS thinks and then in general what the Protestants think. There's no too much information in there for a single answer, so I am not going to vtc. –  fredsbend Feb 12 at 22:07

6 Answers 6

up vote 21 down vote accepted

No, not really. While you might find them sometimes lumped together, they aren't a subset of the class.

In some popular usage, the term "Protestant" has come to mean anything that doesn't properly fall under the umbrella of either Catholicism or Orthodoxy. In this sense where there is no "Option D, none of the above", one would have to throw them in with the rest of Protestantism.

There is, however, also a fundamental difference: their theological roots are not the same. The LDS church is what is sometimes referred to as a "restorationist movement" - a reference to their theology's claim to be restoring something that was lost. While they agree with Protestants that the Catholic church lost it's way, their proposed solution varies radically from that of Protestantism.

The basic tenets of Protestantism as a movement include rejection of a few Catholic doctrines and ultimately the Catholic church's claim to apostolic authority. In rejecting some of the core tenets of Catholicism, it based itself instead on a core set of doctrines (often loosely summarized in the "5 solas") that all require a certain reliance on the Scriptures as authoritative and un-corrupted.

The LDS church on the other hand is fundamentally based on the premise that Apostolic authority was lost (much earlier than even the rise of the Catholic church) and needed to be miraculously restored. This and other revelations are believed to have been given independently (and in opposition to) the existing claims of the Bible and historical Christian churches (whether Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox).

In other words, while they would also protest against Rome, their basis for doing so is entirely independent of the Protestant reformation and theologically they should be considered a sect (or cult depending on who's definitions you're using) outside of the theological umbrellas of Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant traditions.

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Very good. For further explanation read the five solas and you will see that Mormonism doesn't fit the philosophy. –  Angelo Nov 30 '14 at 5:37
With reference to the third paragraph presumably "tenants" should read "tenets"? I am no expert on Protestantism but I understand that some denominations, in particular the Church of England, are quite close to Catholicism, and accept for example the concept of a church hierarchy (namely bishops, priests, curates, etc.) rejected by non-conformist denominations. –  user17534 Jan 5 at 16:16

Latter-Day Saints do not consider themselves to be Protestants. The most fundamental concept of the Protestant tradition is an attempt to replace Catholic traditions and Catholic theology with a reformed theology derived from reading the Bible and attempting to interpret it properly.

Latter-Day Saints believe that this is impossible to do successfully; that the Scriptures were given by revelation, and can't be understood in their fullness by the wisdom of men alone, but require the same spirit of revelation and prophecy by which they were given in the first place (2 Pet 1:20,21). Therefore, because the original Church had become corrupt and apostate, (Mormons agree with Protestants on this point,) what was necessary was not to reform the church and its doctrines, but to restore them in their purity, through revelation and direct divine intervention. The official LDS doctrine of the Restoration is explained on

Mormons and (most) Protestants agree that this puts Latter-Day Saints outside the Protestant tradition.

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When you explain it like that it is difficult to call LDS Portestant or Reformed Catholicism. "Restored Christianity" seems like the term they would prefer. Like a Third Testament, maybe? –  fredsbend Jul 13 '13 at 19:38
@fredsbend No, it's "The Newest Testament". –  Mawia Jul 15 '13 at 9:56
Well, they do claim to have a "third testament" of sorts -- the Book of Mormon. –  Jay Mar 27 '14 at 5:58
@fredsbend I am the Third Revelation! –  the dark wanderer Mar 24 at 22:08

I have been asked this because I am an LDS missionary, and I would say no we aren't protestant. The word as far as I understand it is referring to a group protesting the beliefs of the Catholic church. We aren't protesting anything, but we believe in a Restoration of knowledge through prophets.

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Thanks for contributing! I think you're the first currently-serving LDS missionary we've seen on this site. –  Matt Oct 13 '14 at 16:06
I'm glad to be here. I can't post often, but this is the most accurate site I have found on my beliefs so I figure I could share a bit. –  atherises Oct 13 '14 at 16:28
Good to see you here. Apparently things have changed quite a bit over the years; when I was a missionary they'd have never let us spend time on websites, even thematically-appropriate ones like this. You got to use the Internet for email on P-day and that's it. But I'm glad you find our site's depiction of LDS beliefs accurate. We work hard to keep things accurate, official, and civil here, and if you find anything that doesn't look right (especially if it's someone trying to make trouble) please flag it and I or another moderator (the people with diamond names) can review it. :) –  Mason Wheeler Oct 14 '14 at 17:27

We don't consider ourselves protestant, but the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, with all the principals, ordinances and priesthood power that the Savior established during his mortal ministry. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 refers to a falling away. The truth was lost and needed to be restored. Acts 3:21 speaks of a restitution of all things. We believe that through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ restored his gospel in its fullness.

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Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. Do you maybe have a link or source that can support what you are saying. Here's a +1 in advance. –  fredsbend Sep 10 '14 at 3:04

I'm a Mormon myself. I think the term is "Restorationist" as we believe that the fullness of the gospel had been lost from the earth, through a great apostasy. We believe that God restored the fullness of the Gospel to the earth through a Latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., and that God continues to speak to His children through a living prophet today, the current one being Thomas S. Monson.

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So do you consider yourself protestant or not? –  curiousdannii Mar 27 '14 at 3:39
Welcome to the site! What follows next has nothing to do with the quality of your answer (which is good); it's just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first). As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": the help page and How we are different than other sites?. I hope to see you around! –  WelcomeNewUsers Mar 27 '14 at 12:51

Of course they are. Follow the history-

  1. In the first few centuries of Christianity, there was a lot of turmoil and many different sects. By the reign of Justinian things had settled into what become the Catholic (Universal) Church. This religion included almost all Christians for about one thousand years.
  2. As the Roman Empire grew it became necessary to divide power between the west (Rome) and the east (Byzantium). Over the centuries Byzantine and Roman ways diverged, and eventually the Eastern Church became what is today known as "Orthodox", including Greek, Russian, Serbian, and other branches.
  3. Beginning in the late middle ages, the Protestant Reformation occurred. Many different Protestant sects branched off from Catholicism, and the English Colonies that later became the United States were dominated by Protestants (even Maryland.)
  4. Before Joseph Smith invented Mormonism, he was a Protestant. His parents were Protestants. His grandparents were Protestants. None of his ancestors were Orthodox, and none of them had been Catholics since the sixteenth century.
  5. All of the other early Mormons- from New York to Nauvoo to Deseret- were Protestants. Their ancestors were all Protestants.

I understand that Mormon theology differs greatly from mainline Protestantism. But it cannot be denied that the PEOPLE who became the Mormons were Protestants first.

EDIT- Everything comes from somewhere. People are born into their parent's world. Smith's family, and the families of the other founding Mormons, were all raised in the Protestant tradition. Their own ideas and philosophies are baked into Mormonism. They didn't create a new religion, they created another branch of Christianity- one that grows from the Protestant limb, just as the family trees of the Founders grow from Protestant limbs.

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Your last sentence seems fallacious. The people who became Protestants were Catholics first; does that make Protestantism Catholic? Of course not. The two currently top-voted answers explain what developments make Mormonism radically disjoint from Protestantism. –  Bear in a Studebaker Feb 12 at 16:33
@Mr.Bultitude Saying that Protestantism is Catholic isn't really that wrong, especially from an Eastern Orthodox critique of Catholicism. If all Protestants really did rebel just against the Roman Church, that would indicate that early Protestantism stems from Catholicism in the same way Mormonism does from Protestantism. The argument is actually fairly reasonable. –  the dark wanderer Mar 25 at 9:32
@thedarkwanderer And therefore all Muslims are Christians, all Christians are Jews, etc. It's a nonsensical argument. Of course everything comes from somewhere; that doesn't make the thing identical to what it came from. –  Bear in a Studebaker Mar 25 at 15:39
In order to assume we stemmed from protestants, you must first assume that the LDS beliefs are incorrect because according to the LDS belief all docrines came through revelation, not other churches. The idea is that it stemmed from God, not from other men. According to LDS view we are not, and cannot be protestant if we are under the LDS view. From an outside source it is arguable, but from the LDS view, it is impossible. –  atherises Mar 27 at 1:35

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