The title says it all, I'd like a list of all heresies condemned by the Catholic Church, but note this, it must be before the Protestant Reformation. This time specifically those heresies identified in Mormonism and Jehovah's witnesses.

  • you want a list of heresies condemned by the catholic church, prior to the protestant reformation, AND condemned by lds or jehovah's witnesses?
    – depperm
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 12:10
  • to use the same source for condemned catholic heresies can you identify a list/website of heresies? is this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… a good enough list?
    – depperm
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 12:11
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    Mormons and Jehovah's witnesses are so different, it would be better to split the question imho.
    – kutschkem
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 14:19
  • Just adding to the comment by kutschkem, the top answer to this question is just the beginning of the differences: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/60930/…
    – x457812
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 21:35

3 Answers 3


In 325 A.D. the Church produced the Creed of Nicaea (to distinguish it from the Nicene Creed) in order to exclude one particular heresy doing the rounds back then. Examination of the Creed of Nicaea shows both the Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witness religions supporting that heresy, in different ways, and to different degrees. I do not intend to do a comparison between the two modern groups (you only ask for a list), simply to state the Creed of Nicaea so that those familiar with LDS and JW doctrines on the Person of Christ will see how they fall foul of the heresy spelled out in that ancient document. I do not think Stack Exchange accepts simple lists, but requires evidence to support answers, hence the details I provide. Because the opening sentence runs on (and on, and on) I quote the first four paragraphs before picking out the various heresies each modern group supports. Here is what the Creed of Nicaea says:

“We believe in one God, the Father, Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only-begotten, that is, from the substance (ousia) of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, Very God from Very God, begotten not made, of one substance (homoousios, consubstantial) with the Father, through whom all things were made, both in heaven and on earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was incarnate, was made man, suffered, and rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, and is coming to judge the living and the dead;

And in the Holy Spirit.

And those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not’, and: ‘Before he was begotten he was not’, and: ‘He came into being from nothing’, or those who pretend that the Son of God is ‘Of another substance (hypostasis), or essence (ousia) [than the Father] or ‘created’ or ‘alterable’ or ‘mutable’, the catholic and apostolic church places under a curse.”

Please note how this ancient document is penned by “the catholic and apostolic church” and how they state that those disagreeing with this Creed are anathema – cursed. That is because they are viewed as supporting the heresy the Creed was designed to expose.

Now, the LDS are anathema (heretical) due to claiming there are many Gods/gods. They teach that the god Elohim fathered his firstborn via a spirit wife, and he was called Jehovah (who had, as a younger brother, Lucifer). This Jehovah became a god himself, and also became the man, Jesus Christ. They teach that there was a time when the Son of God ‘was not’. Hence the LDS violate the first sentence plus paragraph four. That amounts to two particular heresies.

The JWs are anathema (heretical) due to claiming that Jesus was created by Jehovah as the archangel Michael. The JWs disagree on the meaning of ‘only-begotten’, saying that it means he was the first-created creature of Jehovah God, whereas the Creed stresses that ‘begotten’ means the opposite of ‘made’. They are cursed because of disagreeing with paragraph four of the Creed; one particular heresy. They also claim Jesus is a different 'god' to Jehovah God, being 'a god' as per their rendition of John 1:1, which likewise makes them polytheistic, as are the LDS. That is a second heresy.

Please note, this answer does not claim to be an exhaustive list. But it should suffice to give a categoric answer to the question as to why LDS and JW denominations are viewed as heretical by Catholicism (and Protestantism also, let it be noted) today.

Source: Article ‘What Really Happened at Nicea?’ By James R. White, Christian Research Journal, Spring 1997 pp 30-34

  • 1
    Jehovah's Witnesses would disagree that John 1:1 makes them polytheistic. They have a specific way of interpreting that verse which is similar to how a Catholic would deny that Psalm 82:1, 6 makes them polytheistic.
    – user32540
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 19:18
  • @4castle - We know JWs have translated Jn 1:1 differently and also interpret it differently to mainstream groups, just as the LDS do with various verses, to justify their 'take' on them. No group claiming to be Christian can admit to being polytheistic!
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 13:47
  • 1
    Right, but the logic you're employing to say that JWs are polytheistic is the same logic which would misrepresent Catholics as polytheistic. Catholics wouldn't recognize JWs as heretical for polytheism for the same reason they don't consider themselves polytheistic: they admit that created beings can be considered "gods" to a different sense. (Psalm 82:1, 6; John 10:34; 1 Cor. 8:5)
    – user32540
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 13:50
  • It's not 'me' saying this. It's the Creed of Nicaea. Only those adhering to it avoid polytheism with regard to Jesus Christ. If a primary God created him as a secondary god, and a different person, then you have two Gods. Only if Jesus is the uncreated, eternal Son who was begotten, not made, does it and John 1:1-3 make sense. This does not ignore mighty ones [gods] like created angels and God's representatives on earth. They have to worship Christ (Hebrews chap. 1) as He who has the same Being (not 'person') as the Father. Catholics agree with that. JWs don't as their Jesus is a created angel
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 15:35
  • The Creed of Nicea makes no statements as to whether people who disagree with it are polytheistic.
    – user32540
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 18:32

All of this from Wikipedia, and simplified:

Arianism was the view held by some 4th century christians that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost were three seperate and different essences (beings), and that the later two derived their godhood from the Father, were created and so on. They were seen as inferior to God.

Semi-Arianism differed from Arianism in that it viewed God and Jesus Christ as seperate, but similar essences. As such it places Jesus Christ on the same level as God. The Holy Ghost is seen as different.

Both views were condemned by the Nicean creed which makes the view "same substance/essence" explicit. Other answers go into more detail here.

LDS theology can't really be said to be Arian or Semi-Arian, but shares the view that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three distinct beings. Since all spirits are both co-eternal with God, and made into his children at some point, one could say LDS are somewhere in-between both views.

I can't say much about Jehovahs Witnesses, but I assume the doctrine can also be (very roughly again) compared to Arianism and will fall somewhere completely different on the spectrum than LDS doctrine.

Audianism (also 4th century) taught that God literally created mankind in his image. LDS teach this too, including the view that God has a physical body.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) fall foul of the basic Christian tenants of belief with regard to the Trinity and to the nature of Christ. The Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creeds form the basis for Christian faith and any denomination that departs from those are condemned by the Catholic Church as heretical.

"There are three separate persons in the Godhead: God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost. We believe in each of Them (A of F 1:1). From latter-day revelation we learn that the Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bone and that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, without flesh and bone (D&C 130:22–23). These three persons are one in perfect unity and harmony of purpose and doctrine (John 17:21–23; 2 Ne. 31:21; 3 Ne. 11:27, 36). It is generally the Father, or Elohim, who is referred to by the title God. He is called the Father because He is the father of our spirits (Num. 16:22; 27:16; Mal. 2:10; Matt. 6:9; Eph. 4:6; Heb. 12:9)."

"The God known as Jehovah is the Son, Jesus Christ (Isa. 12:2; 43:11; 49:26; 1 Cor. 10:1–4; 1 Tim. 1:1; Rev. 1:8; 2 Ne. 22:2). Jesus works under the direction of the Father and is in complete harmony with Him. All mankind are His brothers and sisters, for He is the eldest of the spirit children of Elohim."

"The Holy Ghost is also a God and is called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit, and the Spirit of God, among other similar names and titles. With the aid of the Holy Ghost, man can know the will of God the Father and know that Jesus is the Christ (1 Cor. 12:3)."

Source: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/god-godhead?lang=eng&letter=g

Three Gods who are separate and distinct beings. Their Jesus is not the eternal and uncreated Word of God who was with God in the beginning and who is God.

Mormons belive "As man now is God once was. As God now is, man may be."

They also believe in baptisms for the dead.

And they reject the authority of the Pope.

It would take too long to list all the pre-Reformation heresies that could be applied to Latter Day Saints, but is there any need to go further than the fact they reject the Christian definition of the Trinity and who Jesus Christ really is?

The link given by depperm will give you all the necessary details on pre-Reformation heresies condemned by the Catholic Church. See specifically: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_heresies#Trinitarian/Christological_heresies

  • We do not believe that Jesus was married and procreated during His mortality. We do believe that to obtain the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom one must be married and that Jesus will, in His own due time, take care of that. We do believe Jesus was with the Father in the beginning (before this world's creation), but as a spirit, not a resurrected being. It's too much work to fix all the mistakes you made. One of the problems with comparative religion questions like this is that you know your side, I know mine, and almost no one knows both sufficiently well to answer the question.
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 17:01
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    @JBH Allow me to make an edit. It should read: "Because of the beliefs that (1) celestial marriage is required for exaltation, and (2) that Jesus is exalted, some leaders of the LDS Church have hypothesized that Jesus must have been married, possibly to Mary Magdalene, Mary, sister of Lazarus, and/or Martha." I also found this: To progress his own god-hood, Jesus had to be married to at least three identified women. The wedding at Cana is said to be his own wedding to one woman. Joseph Smith claimed to be a direct descendant of Jesus. (Reference LDS Journal of Discourses Vol 1 pp 345-346)
    – Lesley
    Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 9:47
  • 1
    The Church does not accept the Journal of Discourses as a reliable expression of LDS Doctrine, nor does it present the JD as such. It's not dissimilar to the Catholic's view of Origen: yeah, he said a lot of good stuff... but... The citation you offer is a talk by Jedediah Grant, who cites the ancient writer Celsus, and it was Celsus who claimed that Jesus was polygamously married. Bro. Grant's discourse does not carry the weight of scripture, does not reference scripture, and is not considered authoritative today (no LDS member today, nor the Church today, believes Christ was married).
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 14:19
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    Finally, I can't find where Joseph claimed to be a direct descendant of Jesus Christ. Scripturally, the Church claims Joseph is specifically NOT descendant from the Messiah, but is a descendant of Joseph, son of Abraham who was sold into Egypt. (2 Ne. 3:5-15). As I said, "you know your side, I know mine, and almost no one knows both sufficiently well to answer the question." In the future, please consider sticking with what you find on LDS.org or the LDS canon of scripture to support what the LDS Church believes. Thanks.
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 14:25
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    @JBH Please accept my apologies for posting inaccurate and misleading claims. I stand corrected and I have removed the offending material. Also, I have noted your comments in the source document I originally used to ensure I do not repeat the same error. Your comments have been most helpful, especially as I was able to go to my BoM and read 2 Nephi 3:5-15.
    – Lesley
    Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 16:25

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