As background to my question, I found this statement by a Mormon that shows Mormons believe that there are many gods in the universe:

“While we believe that there are other gods out there, they are not our God.“

My question is this. Since Mormon's claim that salvation is only through Christ, why aren't those other gods able save their own followers?

The author of the quote above goes on to explain:

I find that an analogy helps me think about this clearly: At work, I have one boss. He is my boss and no one else is. There are other bosses, but I do not report to them, they do not affect my quarterly reviews, and I don't really interact with them in any sort of manager-underling relationship.

I don't really interact with the other bosses but their subordinates do. And they have to respect and follow their bosses just as I do my own.

Taking the analogy further, what sense would it make for me to try to steal some person from another department into my own? It's not like my department is the only one that pays for work done. Why rock the boat and create all the trouble proselytizing in the name of Christ?

This analogy doesn't fully satisfy me as an explanation. What is the official LDS doctrine on the ability of gods other than Christ to save people?

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    see also mormon.org/jesus-christ for a helpful summary of Mormons' belief about salvation through Christ.
    – Matt
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 17:45
  • I am a tad bit confused about what you are asking, in this analogy how is anyone "stealing" anybody in mormon theology?
    – Dougvj
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 18:55
  • @Dougvj What I mean by "stealing" in that analogy is why do Mormons proselytize and bring people from other religions into the LDS church (and go to so much trouble for it) if other gods are not fake gods or evil? Why not respect the other gods? Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 19:18
  • @MonikaMichael This question is bouncing all over the place. Can you choose just one (e.g. why Christ is the only Savior) for this post, and then open another one about other gods and proselytizing? And even then, missionary work is a very different topic from polytheism.
    – Matt
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 19:54
  • @Matt To me they don't seem unrelated. If Christ isn't the only way there's no sense in proselytizing. But if that bothers you, you can just ignore the second part and answer the first one. Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 19:59

3 Answers 3


A Prophet in the Book of Mormon Proclaims:

And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

-Mosiah 3:17

Mormons believe that salvation is only attainable through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, however they believe that a full understanding of the Gospel as revealed through Joseph Smith is necessary in order to attain full salvation. This view was expressed by the late Apostle David B. Haight:

Our understanding, belief, and faith in [Joseph Smith's first vision] of God the Father and His Only Begotten Son appearing to Joseph, thereby ushering in this final dispensation with its great and precious truths, is essential to our eternal salvation. Salvation comes only through Christ. Joseph Smith is the instrument or revealer of that knowledge, divinely called to teach of the terms and conditions of the Father's plan and given the keys of salvation for all mankind.

-Speech given at Brigham Young University, March 2, 1986 (Emphasis Added)

The Book of Doctrine and Covenants also affirms:

For we saw him [Jesus Christ], even on the right hand of God; and we heard [a] voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father — that by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

-Section 76: Vs 23-24

The plurality of worlds here has led some church leaders to suggest that Christ is not only the means of salvation for this earth, but also for many other worlds. There has been no official doctrine as to Christ's significance in other realms beyond our own, however statements seem to support a strong opinion that he does indeed play a significant role.

As far as why Mormons believe Christ is the only one who can provide salvation for us stems from the fact that the teachings of Joseph Smith are not solely based on works he produced, but also on the Bible. Mormons do not reject the Bible outright, and believe firmly in all the declarations pertaining to Christ and his providence of salvation. One particular unambigous passage Mormons have no reason to reject is the following:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

-John 14:16

Implications that some Mormon doctrines may hold are speculated upon wildly in both Mormon and Non-Mormon literature, yet there has never been official doctrine regarding them. There have never been statements by any leader implying that anyone except our own God and Savior Jesus Christ can provide salvation, and such would contradict not only Mormon literature but also that of the Bible. We can conclude, therefore, that despite the Mormon belief in a plurality of Gods as taught by Joseph Smith, they continually affirm a strong belief in the necessity of Christ's Atonement to attain salvation for all of God's children. God here referring to the Heavenly Father of all mankind. Mormon references to a supreme creator always refers to him and none else. The affairs of other Gods have never been revealed nor have they ever been spoken of by any of the leadership. The reality and necessity of Christ and his atonement has been repeatedly emphasized by them, however.

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    Though that is informative it doesn't answer the crux of my question - Why so? Why can't the other gods save their followers? What is so unique about Jesus among the gods? Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 17:14
  • @Monika Micheal Such a question hits hard at the roots of philosophy itself inside Christianity. One could equally pose the question: Why is a savior necessary at all? At some point you have to run into fundamental axioms and laws that exist either by decree of God or naturally as part of existence for which a "why" can never exist.
    – Dougvj
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 17:17
  • "for which a "why" can never exist" I would disagree. I am not looking for summa theologica but for a general principle or a single statement logic that explains the thing. It could be something as simple as - "Other gods are evil" or something else. But to say that a why can never exist seems more like a blind belief than a position arrived at through logic. Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 17:26
  • 2
    @MonikaMichael Also, Mormons do not believe that other gods have any sort of bearing on the many belief systems found in humanity, and adopt the view that although many of them have true principles, they do not represent complete truth.
    – Dougvj
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 18:57
  • 1
    @MonikaMichael I never attempted to make it a debate, I simply tried to point out in my response that the answer to your original question as I understood it is the subject of great debate within Mormonism itself, and therefore a clear-cut answer from strictly from Mormon theology is near impossible. My attempt was to make it a neutral answer without any bias. I do not attempt to defend or reject any tenant of Mormonism here and if I made that impression, I apologize; I failed.
    – Dougvj
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 20:17

What I'm going to write here is how I understand this. Mason Wheeler, please tell me if anything here seems to be inaccurate.

We are spirit children of God. Jesus Christ is also one of God's spirit children, but he became perfect like His father before mortality. Christ was able to pay the price for the sins of those who will repent and was able to be resurrected so that everyone who is born can be resurrected.

Because of Christ, we can eventually become perfect and have immortal bodies like God does if we repent. We have the potential to become like our father. Also, God once was in a state like we are now in.

It would seem to me from this that there are probably many other gods in this family tree. However, we do not need to know any details about them to accomplish our missions in this life. These gods are not the gods of other religions on earth, nor are they the gods of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! To the best of my knowledge, this answer is both a factually correct representation of LDS theology and a spot on answer to this question. What would make it even better is some references to official doctrinal statements for each of the main points you make. While you're here, I would encourage to you read our faq and checkout Christianity Meta, particularly these posts that cover our guidelines for answers.
    – Caleb
    Commented Oct 6, 2012 at 10:03

This answer is in response to edits and clarifications on the original question, and therefore my original response is to the question as it originally stood.

The Book of Mormon teaches:

All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator

-Alma 30:44

This passage explicitly indicates that everything which we can see was created by a Supreme Creator. Mormon theology teaches that God is the father of all the spirits of mankind. This is echoed in statements from the church:

One of life’s great questions is “Who am I?” A beloved Primary song helps even little children answer this question. We sing, “I am a child of God, and he has sent me here.” The knowledge that we are children of God provides strength, comfort, and hope. You are a literal child of God, spiritually begotten in the premortal life. As His child, you can be assured that you have divine, eternal potential and that He will help you in your sincere efforts to reach that potential.

-True to the Faith, "God the Father"

It is clear that in Mormon theology, all things observable to us and all humankind are the offspring of a single entity, God. Additionally, the LDS church teaches the God answers the prayers of all of his children in every religion. Joseph Smith also taught:

Could man exercise faith in God so as to obtain eternal life unless he believed that God was no respecter of persons? He could not; because without this idea he could not certainly know that it was his privilege so to do, and in consequence of this doubt his faith could not be sufficiently strong to save him.

-Lectures on Faith, 3

It seems clear from these contexts that Mormon belief is that there is one God who is the God of all which is in the world, and that other religions worship the same God from a Mormon perspective, albeit with some perceived erroneous notions.

For this reason, Mormons spend energy on proselyting. Not to convert them from one god to another, but to teach them the truth as Mormons believe it. To extend the analogy: All that we see is one single department, everyone we know works for the same Boss; there is none other. He is not a respector of persons. We are only aware of the potential existence of other Departments, but know absolutely nothing about them. Our Boss and our department is the only one we worry about.

Mormonism receives much criticism for the doctrine of the plurality of gods, perhaps with good reason. However, there is widepread ignorance as to how it is interpreted inside Mormonism itself. There is several orders of magnitude more Mormon-produced literature on the nature of God, Christ, and our relationship with them than there ever has been on a plurality of gods.

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