What is the difference between the Catholic religion and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?
This article was contributed by a local member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The views expressed may not represent the views and positions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the Church's official site, visit churchofjesuschrist.org.
by Mattie Guthrie
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I often get asked about the differences and similarities between our faith and others. In this article, we’ll explore some of the main differences that I’ve noticed and the similarities between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Catholic religion.
Although many religions have significant differences, we shouldn’t let these differences keep us from being united. I love my Catholic friends! We are all brothers and sisters, children of our loving Heavenly Father. If you have any more questions or insights, please contact us!
1. First of all, we are both Christians!
From what I understand, both churches believe in Christ as their saving Redeemer! However, Latter-day Saints believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings, but one in purpose. The Catholic Church believes in the Trinity, which are these three beings, but only as one person. As far as I understand, Catholics believe that Jesus Christ has all power, as well, but is a spirit and does not have a physical body.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be baptized at age 8 and older. We perform baptisms only by full immersion in the water by a male figure in the Church, who is a worthy holder of the priesthood, or the power and authority of God, followed by giving the gift of the Holy Ghost to whoever was baptized.
As I can understand, members of the Catholic Church can be baptized at any age by way of sprinkling, pouring, or full immersion in the water, done by a priest.
As far as I understand, the Catholic Church believes in the Bible as the only collection of true ancient accounts involving Jesus Christ, his prophets, and apostles. It takes place in the Middle East, ancient Europe, and Egypt.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we also believe in the Bible, as far as it is translated correctly. We believe the Book of Mormon to be another true testament of Jesus Christ and to be a companion scripture to the Bible that contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the Book of Mormon to be an account of the people in the ancient Americas following their migration from the Middle East and the experiences they had as followers of Jesus Christ.
4. Personal Revelation and Church leaders
The leader of the Catholic Church is currently Pope Francis. According to Catholic belief, the Pope holds the power of God that was given to St. Peter by Jesus Christ. Members of the Catholic faith, as far as I have understood, believe that receiving additional revelation to govern the entire Catholic faith ceased with the deaths of the ancient apostles. “All subsequent revelations conferred by God are known as private revelations, for the reason that they are not directed to the whole Church but are for the good of individual members alone” (Catholic.com). In the Catholic Church, as far as I can understand, revelation can still be received from God, but additional doctrine can no longer be received to govern the faith as a whole.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that after Jesus and His apostles (such as Peter and Paul) were killed, four critical parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ were removed from the Earth: prophets, apostles, the power and authority of God (known as the priesthood), and revelation (known as inspiration and information from God). These four essential parts began to be restored again to the Earth in 1820, starting with a vision that a young farm boy named Joseph Smith had.
Joseph Smith, according to his own account, prayed to know which church was true and was visited by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, who appeared to him as two separate beings who both had bodies of flesh and bone. Under the direction of Heavenly Father over many years, Joseph was prepared and prepared others to receive the priesthood after receiving visitations of heavenly messengers, including John the Baptist, and Peter, James, and John.
With the priesthood and under God’s inspiration, Joseph and others we believe were called by God helped restore apostles, prophets, and ongoing revelation to the earth again. This led to the translation of the Book of Mormon, a record of the inhabitants in the Americas that testifies of the divinity of Jesus Christ. From Joseph Smith’s own account, Moroni, one of the prophets in the Book of Mormon appeared to Joseph and showed him where to find the record, written on gold plates, which Joseph later translated by the power and gift of God.
Due to these four central parts of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ being restored (prophets, apostles, the priesthood, and revelation), members of the Church believe that the same Church that Jesus Christ established anciently is on the Earth once again. We believe that we have living prophets and apostles who have the same authority Christ gave to his apostles anciently. Our living prophet is Russell M. Nelson who, Church members believe, receives guidance from Heavenly Father. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also believe that all can receive personal revelation for themselves, but that only the prophet can receive revelation to govern the entire body of the Church.
5. The Sacrament
The main reason why members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints go to church is to take the Sacrament. We do this every Sunday with the bread and water that has been blessed by two worthy men who hold the priesthood. The bread and water represent the body and blood of Christ. We remember Him and try to be more like Him every week.
To my knowledge, the Catholic Church has seven Sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist (the partaking of the bread and wine), penance (confession, repenting), anointing the sick, marriage, and being ordained a bishop, priest, or deacon. Both faiths perform these acts to help them come closer to Christ. In the Catholic faith, partaking of the bread and wine can be done every day, if asked, and is given and blessed by a Priest or Bishop.
While reading, you probably noticed that there are lots of similarities! Although many religions have significant differences, we shouldn’t let these differences keep us from being united. I love my Catholic friends. We are all brothers and sisters, children of our loving Heavenly Father. Thank you so much for reading and don’t forget: GOD LOVES YOU!!