Martin Luther and Mormonism
by Staci Lee
In the early 1500's, a man named Martin Luther figured out something
important -- the Roman Catholic Church, of which he was a devout and
devoted part, was abusing its power. Among other things, the church
was selling -- for money -- forgiveness and passes to heaven.
Luther could see that the church was in error because Luther had
thoroughly studied the Holy Bible.
In Luther's day, the Catholic lay-people knew little of what was in
the Bible. The Catholic clergy used a Bible written in Latin, a
language that the common people did not speak or read. The clergy,
by keeping the Bible to themselves in this way, were free to
misinterpret the holy book to their own benefit -- and thus they did.
In an attempt to end the wrongful practices of the Church upon the
people, Luther himself translated the Bible into German. Though he
did not, at the time, particularly agree that a few of the books
belonged in the Bible, he did not presume to add to, nor take away
from, the Bible as it was. He translated God's Word, making it
accessible to the masses.
Skip ahead three centuries. In the early 1800's, a man named Joseph
Smith produced a book called the Book of Mormon, which condemned the
Catholic Church for its errors, calling it the "great and abominable
church". It should be understood that the "Reformation", a movement
that had started with Martin Luther, would have been widely
recognized by Smith's day.
This is a good time to add just a little more information about the
Reformation. According to www.theopedia.com,
"The theology of the Reformers departed from the Roman Catholic
Church primarily on the basis of three great principles:
* Sole authority of Scripture,
* Justification by faith alone, and
* Priesthood of the believer. "
In other words, in the view of the Reformers (who had read and
studied the Bible for themselves), where the Catholic Church was
most errant was in
1- Going above/around the Bible for spiritual/religious doctrine
2- Teaching that salvation had more requirements than faith in Christ
3- Claiming exclusive "priesthood" for the religious elite, rather
than for each born-again believer (1 Peter 2:9).
Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon claimed that the Catholic Church
had erred by taking many "plain and precious truths" from the Bible,
and that he was the one to put those truths back in. This post is
not going to address his work on the Bible, other than to state that
it is easy to prove that what Joseph "restored" came from his
creative imagination and desire to prove himself a prophet.
The question for this post is, since Mormonism since its inception
has believed the Catholic Church is the church of the devil (or at
least the main face of said church), why has it done the exact same
1- The Mormon Church claims that there is authority over and above
the Bible: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl
of Great Price (all produced by Joseph Smith), and the teachings of
the LDS authority figures.
2- The Mormon Church has added to faith many other requirements.
3- The Mormon Church teaches that priesthood is only for worthy LDS
The Catholic Church was able to keep its people subjugated to the
Church and its leadership by keeping them away from a knowledge of
the Holy Bible.
Martin Luther gave people the power to read the Bible and thus freed
them, financially, emotionally, and spiritually from the religious
wrong-doings of the Roman Catholic religion.
The Mormon Church keeps its people subjugated to the Mormon Church
and its leadership by keeping them away from a knowledge of the Holy
The LDS have the Bible in their homes, in their own language. But
their religion still keeps the Bible truth out of their minds and
hearts in at least five ways:
1- The LDS religion insists that the Bible can not be trusted (the
8th Article of Faith).
2- The LDS religion has created and taught new definitions for terms
in the Bible, so that when a Mormon reads the Bible, s/he is
confused. Some examples of this are the teachings a) that there are
two "God the Father"'s, b) that salvation equals universal
resurrection and the ability to overcome sin, and c) that
'priesthood' is an authority or power that gets handed down from one
faithful (to the church) Mormon man to another.
3- The LDS religion emphasizes Book of Mormon reading over Bible
reading. The Book of Mormon contains plagiarized sections of the KJV
Bible, with minor wording removed or inserted. It contains Bible
stories with new character names and reworked story details. It also
contains separated and recombined Bible passages. Because a Mormon
is typically more familiar with the Book of Mormon than the Bible,
Bible comprehension is negatively affected by the reader's Book-of-
4- The LDS religion has an official version of the Bible, the KJV.
The King James Version, written in Old English, contains out-dated
words and phrasing. More modern Bible translations, such as the NKJV
or the NASB, are much more easily understood by the modern reader!
5- The LDS Bible comes with chapter headings. These headings look
like they are brief overviews of each chapter. However, they are
really used to promote Bible-contrary LDS church doctrine. For
instance, the chapter heading for 1 Corinthians 8 teaches that there
are many real gods, just as Joseph Smith did from this same piece of
I was a Mormon. Like Martin Luther, I'm protesting that the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is keeping their members away
from them the truth of and in the Bible, for the sake of money and
power. My efforts, and those of people like me, will probably not
bring the Mormon Church to its knees. But my prayer is that many
Mormons will still find the Bible, and because of it, be freed from
Mormonism and saved into the Life of Jesus Christ.