I know the Christology and soteriology of Mormonism is heterodox. But would Mormons disagree with any of the following:

  1. the inspiration of scripture (Book of Mormon notwithstanding)
  2. the substitutionary atonement of Christ (his divinity notwithstanding)
  3. the literal bodily return of Christ
  4. the literal resurrection of all men
  5. the future judgment of all men
  6. eternal existence in heaven and hell

I am aware of the purgatory-like doctrine of hell which is not eternal and of the "lake of fire" where Satan et al (but not humans) will go, but this seems the only point on which the LDS doctrine doesn't conform with traditional pre- or post-mil eschatology (even if it does mix it all up).

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    – JBH
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 4:17
  • 1
    According to many Christians, the theology of substitutionary atonement is itself heterodox.
    – guest37
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 17:59
  • "his divinity notwithstanding", I'm having a difficult time understanding what is meant by this statement? That Mormons do believe Christ is divine? or don't? Commented May 16, 2018 at 14:42
  • I am sort of ambivalent about substitutionary atonement myself, but I've certainly had the (fully-developed and just about as intricate and complicated as trinitarianism) theology presented to me by many strictly orthodox Christians. I've never heard it suggested that it could be heterodox and wonder what gives that impression? Joshua - as I understand it, divine yes, but not GOD himself. Divine in the way that any man can become divine by following the teachings and lifestyles ascribed to by the Mormon faith. (I may be oversimplifying it, but this is how it has been described to me).
    – sss979
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


I apologize that this answer is missing sufficient links to scripture or church leaders. It's late and I'm out of time. However, nearly all of these subjects have been treated in detail here on Christianity.SE. If anyone happens to know of an appropriate answer that can be linked to the statements below, please do. Thanks!

The inspiration of scripture (Book of Mormon notwithstanding)

  • What's orthodox? We absolutely believe in the inspiration of scripture.

  • What's heterodox? We do not believe that scripture is perfect. "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly" (Article of Faith #8). This is one of the reasons we need (and believe we have) living prophets today.

The substitutionary atonement of Christ (his divinity notwithstanding)

This is complex because there are multiple substitutionary atonment theories. The closest match to the LDS belief is the satisfaction and penal substitution theory. However, because there are multiple theories and no consensus1 I think it's difficult to claim anybody is "orthodox." (See Article of Faith #3.)

The literal bodily return of Christ

  • What's orthodox? We absolutely believe in the literal bodily return of Jesus Christ.

  • What's heterodox? Our view of the last days and Second Coming are very different from most Christian churches. For example, we believe in what other denominations call "the rapture" but we believe it will happen at the moment of Christ's descent. We do not believe in a "tribulation" as other denominations define it. Describing the differences would be a very long response.

The literal resurrection of all men

  • What's orthodox? We absolutely believe in a literal resurrection. (2 Nephi 9:22-23.)

  • What's heterodox? You know, there may not be anything heterodox about this belief.

The future judgment of all men

  • What's orthodox? We absolutely believe in the future judgement of all people. (Article of Faith #2.)

  • What's heterodox? Many denominations appear to believe that the grace of Jesus Christ trumps justice and judgement. I have a copy of a pamphlet handed out in an airport 30 years ago by one small sect that actually taught that if we take any action to repent we are denying the grace of Christ and will be judged unworthy of His grace. We specifically believe that the grace of Christ is a gift only after all that we can do — but if we do little or nothing, little or nothing is all the reward we will receive. We take Christ literally when He commands us to obey. A specific example is some denominations believing that baptism isn't a saving ordinance. For example, we take Jesus at His word when He taught in Mark 16:16 that those who both believe and are baptized will be saved, making baptism (from the LDS perspective) a saving ordinance.

Eternal existence in heaven and hell

  • What's orthodox? We absolutely believe in the eternal nature of heaven and hell.

  • What's heterodox? We believe that what most Christian religions call "heaven and hell" are the pre-judgement holding area (which we call the "spirit world") where the spirits of just people made perfect reside in "heaven" (spirit paradise) and everyone else is in "hell" (spirit prison). Because judgement removes people from this condition and places them in what we see as a much more complex post-judgement view (the Celestial kingdom, the Terrestrial kingdom, the Telestial kingdom, and Outer Darkness where Lucifer,2 his followers, and the sons/daughters of perdition will be). Therfore, you can look at the distinction between "heaven" and "hell" in either of two ways: (a) the presence of the Father is heaven (celestial kingdom, everything else is hell) or (b) Any reward of glory is heaven (outer darkness is hell, everything else is heaven). Why the two perceptions are both valid is, once again, a lengthy discussion.

1Unless you consider the sheer size of Catholocism being a represetative consensus. However, despite having a clear majority in terms of membership (think "U.S. House of Representatives"), I suspect most denominations would prefer to have their voices heard (think "U.S. Senate").

2We believe Lucifer, his followers, and all angels are human beings, the children of our Heavenly Father. Lucifer and his followers will be denied physical bodies on Earth and therefore cannot be resurrected. Angels are either the children of the Father who have not yet been born to the Earth or resurrected beings.

  • Thank you. Your response has been detailed, thoughtful, and MUCH appreciated! God bless. :)
    – sss979
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 7:00
  • "Obviously, nearly every other belief system on Earth believes the Latter-day Saints are heterodox". Not trying to nitpick, but isn't this true of every belief system (since if two belief systems believed the same things, they would be the same)? Commented May 15, 2018 at 12:49
  • @PyRulez, yeah... it was late. I removed the line.
    – JBH
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 14:05
  • This is an excellent summary answer to the question. As JBH points out though, there are many details missing and I would encourage the OP or anyone else who has further questions on any of the individual points to ask additional questions (or see if they have already been asked here). Commented May 16, 2018 at 14:45

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