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Study Resources :: Articles and Books :: Exposé of Mormonism :: 9. What's the Difference?

9. What's the Difference?

9A. Do both groups trace their roots to Joseph Smith, Jr?
Similarities and Differences Between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Yes, the larger group officially known as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" are often referred to as LDS or Mormons. The smaller group is officially called, "The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." They are often referred to as "Latter Day Saints," or "RLDS."

9B. Following are some of the similarities taken from a pamphlet written by Ex-Mormons for Jesus, Ira T. Ransom.
  1. Acknowledge Joseph Smith, Jr. as a true prophet
  2. Accept the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants as Scripture.
  3. Baptized by immersion for the remission of sins. (Children are baptized at the age of eight.)
  4. Believe that good works are essential to attain salvation.
  5. Have Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood.
  6. Believe that there are three Heavens: Celestial, Terrestial, and Telestial.
  7. Believe in continuous revelation and have an open canon of Scripture.
  8. Both groups have similar, but not identical views about Hell. Neither group believes that Hell is a place of permanent punishment.
  9. Have presidents whom they consider to be living prophets.
  10. Believe that Zion will be established on the American continent during the Millennium.
  11. Both groups make the same fatal mistake of trusting in their good works for salvation instead of putting complete faith in Jesus Christ and His redeeming work.
9C. Differences between
  1. The RLDS think of God as eternally unchangeable, but Mormons believe that God is progressive.
  2. RLDS believe that men may develop in righteousness into any degree of glory, including the Celestial glory, through obedience to the fundamental gospel principles.
    Mormons believe that by obeying those principles, men can even become Gods in the highest Heaven.
  3. The RLDS marry only for time, but Mormons marry for time and eternity, believing that Celestial marriages are essential to attain Godhood.
  4. Mormons accepted the revelation about polygamy (Doctrine and Covenants 132) as from Joseph Smith, and followed it. The RLDS claim that Brigham Young gave the revelation, so RLDS have always rejected the dogma of polygamy.
  5. Mormons accepted a fourth book as Scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, which the RLDS never considered as Divine revelation.
    As a result of teaching in the Pearl of Great Price, Mormons did not allow Blacks to hold the Priesthood, believing that they were cursed with a dark skin, and were also unworthy spirits in the pre-existence. Now Blacks can hold the priesthoods in the Mormon Church since a revelation by President Spencer W. Kimball in June 1978. The RLDS never discriminated against Blacks.
  6. The RLDS system has Pastors, elected from the Eldership, who preach sermons. Mormons have no pastors, but have Bishops who lead the local assemblies.
  7. The RLDS have headquarters in Independence, Missouri. The Mormons have headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  8. The RLDS followed Joseph Smith's sons as their second President. The Mormons followed Brigham Young.
  9. The RLDS have presidents in the Joseph Smith family line. The Mormons choose and sustain their presidents from different families. So far, each new president has previously been the president of the Council of the Twelve Apostles.
  10. The RLDS go more by the earlier teaching of Joseph Smith, while Mormons hold distinctive views which resulted from his later teachings.
  11. The teachings of the RLDS are more in harmony with the Book of Mormon, while Mormon theology comes more from the Pearl of Great Price and some of Joseph Smith's Sermons.
  12. Mormons and the RLDS both have a book called Doctrine and Covenants, but they are not exactly the same, therefore, the numbering system is different.
  13. The nickname "Mormon" applies only to the Utah Latter-day Saints.
  14. The RLDS write the term "Latter Day Saints: as three words with three capital letters. Mormons write it "Latter-day Saints" with a hyphen and a small "d."

Chapter Eight

Return to Index

Chapter Ten


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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