Terminology of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses

Words are the tools of evangelism. With Cults, definitions are the tools you need to sharpen. It is vitally important, especially with Mormons, to know the meanings of the words they use. A Mormon can say he believes in the Trinity and salvation by grace but what he means is that he believes in the godhead, which is an office held by three separate gods, and that resurrection is a free gift to everyone. With J.W.'s, for example, the Holy Spirit is not a person but a force like radar. So, if you don't know their definitions you'll only be talking in circles.

Know their definitions and you will be a much more effective witness for Christ.

LDS = Latter-day Saints or Mormons. JW = Jehovah's Witnesses.


    • LDS - The Bible is correct only as far as it is correctly translated. It is basically trustworthy. It is the only one of the four standard works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) that is not considered infallible.
    • JW - The Bible is the inerrant word of God. (Be careful. Though the J.W. organization believes in the inspired Word of God it has changed the Bible to support its own theological bias.)
    • Bible - the Bible is the inspired inerrant word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).


    • LDS - Simple bodily resurrection. It does not simply mean forgiveness of sins. Jesus died for universal resurrection.
    • JW - Earned by good works in cooperation with Jesus' sacrifice.
    • Bible - Forgiveness of sins with the result of a present new life and in the future eternal life with God (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 6:23; Rom. 10:9-10).


    • LDS - Divided into three Kingdoms: Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. The Celestial is for perfect Mormons, the Terrestrial is for moral people and lukewarm LDS, and the Telestial Kingdom is for everyone else.
    • JW - The place that God dwells. Christians do not go to heaven except for 144,000 elite JW's.
    • Bible - The dwelling place of God (1 Kings 8:30). Christians go to heaven.


    • LDS - Celestial heaven.
    • JW - God's "theocratic" rule on earth, his "system of things."
    • Bible - All the believers of Christ (Matt. 13:41-43).


    • LDS - "A spirit man. He can only be at one place at one time... " (Mormon Doctrine by Bruce McConkie, p. 359.) The Holy Ghost is contrasted with the Spirit of God which is the influence of the Godhead that fills the immensity of space which enables God to know what is going on. It is likened to electricity."
    • JW - God's active force. He is not alive, but a force like radar.
    • Bible - Third person of the Trinity. Same as Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4).


    • LDS - Exaltation (exaltation to a Mormon means obtaining Godhood) in the Celestial Kingdom.
    • JW - Eternal life on paradise earth - for JW's only.
    • Bible - Forgiveness of sins and life eternal with God (John 17:3; Rom. 6:23).


    • LDS - An office held by three separate Gods: the Father who is a god; Jesus who is a god; and the Holy Ghost who is a god.
    • JW - Consists of only one person: the Father.
    • Bible - God Himself, not an office. Three persons in one God. A Trinity: The Father; the Son; and the Holy Spirit.


    • LDS - Spirit brother of Satan. A god in the Godhead. He is Jehovah of the O.T. compared to Elohim being the Father. He was the first spirit child to be born to the Father and Mother gods.
    • JW - Jesus is not God, but Michael the Archangel who became a man and then stopped being a man and became an angel again.
    • Bible - Jesus is God, second person of the Trinity (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9).


    • LDS - The sacrifice of Christ that made resurrection possible along with the possibility of our earning forgiveness of sins.
    • JW - The atonement makes possible our earning salvation.
    • Bible - The substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. He died for our sins (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2).


    • LDS - We existed in heaven with God our (literal) Father before we became human.
    • JW - No pre-existence.
    • Bible - We did not exist before we came to earth (1 Cor. 15:46).


    • LDS - The laws and the ordinances of the Mormon church.
    • JW - The teachings of Jesus, the kingdom and kingdom work (it is general and vague).
    • Bible - The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

    As you can see, some definitions are quite different. Some are very similar. The better you know them the better able you will be prepared to "give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Pet. 3:15).







    About The Author

    Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.