Rorate Caeli

Reminders from the past: are Mormons Christian?


on the validity of baptism conferred by
«The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints»,
called «Mormons» 
Question: Wheter the baptism conferred by the community «The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints», called «Mormons» in the vernacular, is valid.

Response: Negative.

The Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved the present Response, decided in the Sessione Ordinaria of this Congregation, and ordered it published.

From the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 5 June 2001.
+ Joseph Cardinal RATZINGER
+ Tarcisio BERTONE, S.D.B.
Archbishop emeritus of Vercelli

The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter.


  1. What's so hard about conditional baptisms?

  2. Nothing.

    They are just not applicable in this case.

  3. I'm sorry I wasn't clear; I was responding specifically to the Lumen Gentium quote.

  4. Nothing, once again. But that is beside the point here.

  5. Two of the men I respect mot in this world are Mormon.

    But they are no more christian than Hindu's are.

  6. Thank you for this timely reminder. This is a very important point to address with Mormons striving hard to be seen as just another Christian denomination. I wrote in detail about Mormon beliefs here:

    And here is some analysis of the political implications of the Mormon belief system:

  7. Mormon baptism is not a baptism.

    LG is referring to a valid baptism.

  8. no name2:30 AM

    "Wheter the baptism conferred by the community «The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints», called «Mormons» in the vernacular, is valid."

    They believe such things as that God the Father, known by them as Elohim, is "an exalted man"; that Jesus Christ has been both Adam & the archangel Michael; that Jesus is the bodily result of Elohim's copulation with Mary*; that Elohim has several wives; that men are gods in embryo; that the Holy Spirit is bodiless, unlike Jesus & Elohim. And so on.

    That should answer the question. Does the CC regard the fraud known as the "Book of Abraham" as Holy Writ ? Mormonism does. Does the CC accept any of Joseph Smith's additions to the early chapters Genesis, or his two additional creation narratives, as Holy Writ ? Does it accept the Book of Mormon, with the claims made for it ?

    *That is what Mormons say - it is they who reduce the Virginal Conception to something no different from copulation between Classical gods & mortal women

    The Mormon "God" is basically a dirty old man of uncertain origin with an over-active libido. This is not Christianity in any sense. It resembles, very closely, some features of Ancient Near Eastern Religion, with its uninhibited & all-too-human deities who are the offspring of other deities, themselves pro-created by deities originating in natural processes. Mormonism with its sexually-active gods & goddesses is paganism with a Yankee veneer, & about as Christian as the worship of Zeus or Poseidon.

    One really wonders just how well-informed the Vatican is about the cults.

  9. On a related theme, the Salvation Army have been considered Christians for a long time, yet they deny Baptism - or any other sacraments for that matter. They go to great lengths to explain why Baptism is not necessary for 'Christians'.

    Interestingly, the mother of William Booth, Mary Moss, was Jewish, which makes William Jewish too because according to Jewish custom Jewishness is passed down through the maternal line.

  10. Ecclesia Militans5:00 AM

    Mormonism is a masonic creation, so of course its doctrines are perverse. They were designed to be such.

    That being said, does someone know do any major protestant sects "reckognize" them as "Christians"?

  11. As far as I can tell, most American evangelical denominations and sects do not recognize Mormons as Christians, due to their rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity, their polytheistic, pagan conception of "divinity," and their obscenely carnal caricature of the doctrine of the Incarnation.

  12. I don't know, but it's possible that some of the decrepit, formerly Christian "mainline" denominations (Episcopalianism, ELCA, United Church of Christ . . .) now accept them as Christian, but then those denominations' members can hardly be accepted as Christians themselves given how extensive apostasy and religious indifferentism is among them.

  13. Anonymous2:46 PM

    From what I know, a Mormon is not more of a Christian than a Muslim is.

    Then of course they may both believe they are, but this is fully beside the point.


  14. Peterman3:13 PM

    Mar, Interesting point about the Salvation Army. I can appreciate that they try to assist unfortunate people but as a Catholic I can't give one red cent to them and I walk right on by those red kettles often to dirty looks, so be it.

  15. Joe B3:46 PM

    I'll tell you one group that often does think Mormons are Christians - formerly Catholic Hispanic converts to Mormonism. I met some that told me Mormons are Christians. Mormons encourage this deception with statues of Mary and other Catholic symbols to make Hispanics feel they are in a Christian place. The deception works in at least some percentage of cases.

    But the real question is, can they balance the budget or not?

  16. Aquinas5:08 PM

    As as a Mormon convert to Catholicism, I can tell you that Mormon baptisms are most certainly invalid, as I had to be baptized absolutely in the Extraordinary Form.

  17. Picard10:51 PM

    Oh, Aquinas

    - a mormon converit. How nice. How many convertits in this direction do you know, are/were there more than you in your erea, etc..?

    And how to converte a Mormon, what do you think are the best arguments?
    What were the arguments that were important for you, how did you convert??

    I am asking because I had contact with some Mormons - and I like them (as kind, educated and "pious" persons).

    I am also familiar with their teachings; and more than one Mormon told me that they were thinking that either Mormonism or Catholicsm must be true. They seemd to have a high esteem of Catholicism.

  18. Aquinas10:51 PM

    I am also familiar with their teachings; and more than one Mormon told me that they were thinking that either Mormonism or Catholicsm must be true. They seemd to have a high esteem of Catholicism.

    Thanks for your comments, Piccard. As for your comments, your average Mormon today has very positive feelings towards the Catholic Church because of a few commonalities the churches share. First Mormonism is founded on the idea that Jesus' entire Church was destroyed and valid Apostolic Succession was lost in a Great Apostasy. The loss of valid Apostolic Succession thus required God to restore the Church to the world by giving priesthood authority to the the mormon "Prophet" Joseph Smith in the 1829.

    In Mormonism, and thus in the minds of most mormons, priesthood authority is absolutely necessary to lead the true Church and perform all of their "ordinances" (i.e. the sacraments including baptism.) If there is no priesthood, there is no Church. The Catholic Church also teaches that valid Apostolic Succession is an essential characteristic to Christ's true Church.

    Because Mormons believe that valid Apostolic Succession is a necessary characteristic of the true Church, there are only two likely possibilities in the minds of most mormons:

    1) Either valid Apostolic Succession was lost and Christ's Church needed to be restored in which case Mormonism is true, or

    2) valid Apostolic Succession was never lost in which case the Catholic Church is true since only its historical pedigree goes back to the Apostles.

    (The protestants are considered break-offs of the original church, and thus they are usually held to have no real claim to valid Apostolic Succession.) In fact, one of the Mormon's "Apostles", the late LeGrand Richards states that only the Mormon or Catholic Churches could be Christ's Church in his book A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. This book is required reading for Mormon missionaries. As for the Orthodox Churches, most mormons don't realize they exist, and even if they did know of their existence, the mormon understanding of priesthood hierarchy would make the Roman Catholic Church the most likely one of the first millennium Churches to be the valid, since only they have a single person over the priesthood hierarchy with universal jurisdiction).

    Mormons also share many of the same stances on moral issues and family values as Catholics. Mormons also reject the concept of saved by faith alone, and place a high premium on a person's obedience to the church. Mormons are expected to "work out their own salvation." Since the Catholic Church also places an emphasis on people doing God's will and not simply giving it lip service, Mormons also relate to the Catholic Church's position and have a high respect for the Church for being "doers of the word and not hearers only."

  19. Aquinas10:53 PM

    On an unrelated note, although the Mormon Church has softened is PR stance on the Catholic Church, historically the Mormon Church used to take a very anti-catholic position. In fact, up until the 1970s, Mormonism held a very negative view of the Catholic Church. The Book of Mormon which is considered Holy Scripture by Mormons calls the Catholic Church "The great and abominable Church" "the whore of all the earth whose founder is the devil", who "persecueth the saints of God" and is drunk on the blood of his saints. The Book of Mormon accuses the Catholic Church of corrupting the Bible to hide God's truth and to lead people to hell.

    The Book of Mormon was written in the protestant environment of the Second Great Awakening (only 47 years after the American Revolution ended), so a lot of the ideas of the Revolutionary War are recurring themes that show up in the Book of Mormon. In fact, idea of "the greatness of liberty" and America being "a chosen land above all other lands" are recurring themes in the book. The pilgrims search for Religious Freedom is portrayed as an act of divine providence that allowed God to break the power of the Catholic Church which is the "Church of the devil."

    These accusations used to be frequently hurled directly at the Catholic Church by Mormon Prophets and apostles, but in the 1970s under the leadership of Spencer W. Kimball the Church leadership decided to tone it down a little.

  20. Aquinas11:37 PM

    - a mormon converit. How nice. How many convertits in this direction do you know, are/were there more than you in your erea, etc..?

    I personally don't know of too many Mormons who have converted to Catholicism and I was the only one in my group when I converted. However, there was another guy at a parish down the road that also had converted.

    And how to converte a Mormon, what do you think are the best arguments?

    This really depends on the individual and the Grace that God has given them. The Holy Spirit works differently with each individual. There are countless arguments that you can use to logically disprove Mormonism. An intellectually honest person will eventually have to yield to the facts, but Mormonism does not primarily rely on logic to convert and retain its members. It relies feelings and a lack of knowledge. Thus often times logical arguments may end up being ignored.

    Mormons teach that one can know the truthfulness of Mormonism through the Holy Ghost, who will give you feelings of peace, happiness, "a burning in the bosom", etc. that will let you know the truthfulness of all things. Of course this is patently absurd as these feelings are not at all indications of something being true. I know many different individuals that claim that they have these feelings about the truthfulness own religions, but if we are to respect the law of contradiction, it is clear that not all of those religions can be true.

    Many mormons are also in the Church because of cultural and social reasons rather than their conviction of the Church's truthfulness. In order to find the best approach for the individual you must know how the individual feels and why they believe mormonism.

    Also Mormons teach that you can be married after you die and even continue having children with your spouse/spouses in the afterlife. Many mormons want to be married to their spouses in the next life. To leave the Church would mean that they couldn't be married to their spouse after they are dead. The Church also says that they can't have the relationship of parent and child in the next life unless the Church grants this to them through the Church's priesthood. Many mormons don't want their families "to end" when death they do part. The Catholic Church teaches that marriage ends at death. This is a hard thing for many Mormons to accept....even if Jesus did say it the Gospels.

    Also, lifelong Mormons have been have been taught all their lives that the Church is true. Many of their family members are members of the Church and have been for generations. To be excommunicated from the community is a very big fear, because most people do not want to be rejected, looked down upon or even shunned by family, friends, and the community.

  21. Aquinas12:29 AM

    What were the arguments that were important for you, how did you convert??

    Well, the arguments for the Catholic Church were just as important for my conversion as the arguments against the Mormon Church. As Bl. Cardinal Newman said, "To be steeped in history is to cease to be Protestant." To me it seemed that Jesus Church would have existed since he founded it personally while He was on earth. After all, Jesus declared "thou art Simon Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." It also seemed clear to me, that this Church had a ministerial priesthood since it was clear that only those upon whom the Apostles assigned could perform certain sacramental functions. (Simon tried to buy the priesthood from Peter in the book of Acts, which means he couldn't get it the ability to give the Holy Ghost just by being baptized. If all Christians could do this, Simon would only need to ask for baptism, not for the power to lay on his hands to give the Holy Ghost.) Jesus also clearly gave the power to remit sins to the Apostles, and not to all Christians after his resurrection when he tells them "Whomever's sins you shall forgive they shall forgiven them..."

    I also believed that there was only one God and was uncomfortable with the pagan assertion that there were many gods. (Many mormon's don't realize that the Church teaches this) In fact, the mormon Church's teaching on the nature of God is confusing to many.

    As for arguments against mormonism, they are many so it would be difficult to list them or explain them all on this forum.

    Polytheism in Mormonism
    Constant Reversals in doctrinal positions
    Blood oaths and death penalties in Temple ritual
    Oaths of Vengeance in Mormon Temples
    Temple ritual copies from masons
    (Mormon claims that the masonic ritual was from Solomon's Temple)
    Adam God Theory
    Denial of the Virgin Birth
    Changing the text of the Bible
    Canonizing scriptures and then removing offending passages from the list of canon when it contradicts.
    Evolving and contradicting teachings on the nature of the Trinity.
    Book of Abraham is a proven hoax translation
    Research Joseph Smith's life

    Also, a lot of teachings of the Church can be factually show to be false. (For instance, translations of the Book of Abraham. Another contradiction is that Mormons teach that Jesus is Jehovah and the Father is Elohim but we can only worship the Father. But in Hebrew the First commandment, commands us to only worship Jehovah, who would be Jesus in Mormonism. However, in recent times the Church has asked its members to only pray to the Father in the name of the Son. Members of the church are told not to pray to Jesus directly. However, praying to the father would violate the 10 commandments which compel us to worship Jehovah all alone. Thus by telling Church member to worship the Father, Mormonism is commanding us to break the Ten Commandments.

  22. Aquinas12:55 AM

    What were the arguments that were important for you, how did you convert??

    For me Tradition itself was a major part of my conversion. It seems to me that what the Apostles gave you should be handed down unchanged as much as possible. I know that the Extraordinary Form has changed in certain ways overtime, but the ceremony is obviously very ancient, a marriage of the Old and New Testaments. Church teachings and rites should change as little as possible in the core characteristics. Changing doctrine or reinterpreting doctrine is a big turn off to me. The Catholic Church, or at least the Traditional half of the Church seem to be a reflection of the consistency of handing down what was ancient. Consequently, Tradition had a big impact on my conversion.

    While I was involved in a lot this soul searching about the Church, I happened to wander into a Catholic Church for a Solemn sung Mass in the Extraordinary form. The beauty, tradition, reverence, and humility of the confiteors of the experience struck me as the way that God ought to be treated. Sitting in that mass was when I began to realize that I was going to be baptized Catholic.

    Of course, it didn't happen all at once, the diocese I was in refused to baptize or confirm me in the extraordinary form so I had to struggle with them for almost a year, as they tried to pressure me to change my mind. (I was actually told I had no right to baptism on "my terms", and that I couldn't be baptized unless I accepted it in the Novus Ordo form. I was essentially told that I was unworthy of the sacrament for insisting on the old rite. Thankfully, after about 10 months of delay, I finally found a priest who was willing and able to do the baptism and confirmation in complete compliance with canon law. It was the first time in the diocese that a traditional baptism and confirmation had been held since the close of the Second Vatican Council.


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