Baptist vs. Mormon: What’s the Difference?

The Baptist tradition and Mormonism are two distinct belief systems with deep-rooted histories and unique practices.

While both have emerged from the broader landscape of spiritual beliefs, they have carved out individual identities.

This article offers a comparative overview, shedding light on their similarities and differences, and enhancing our understanding of their respective places in the tapestry of global beliefs.

Mormon church
Are there more Baptists or Mormons? See below

Comparing the Baptist Tradition and Mormonism: An Overview

“Baptist” derives from the Greek word “baptizo,” meaning “to immerse” or “dip,” reflecting the tradition’s emphasis on believer’s baptism by immersion.

“Mormon” comes from the “Book of Mormon,” a sacred text in the LDS Church, named after an ancient prophet and historian, Mormon, who compiled the book.

Baptist TraditionMormonism (LDS Church)
NameBaptistThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
SizeApprox. 100 million worldwideApprox. 16 million worldwide
Date Started17th century1830
FounderJohn Smyth (among others)Joseph Smith Jr.
Key BeliefsSalvation by faith alone, believer’s baptismRestoration of original church, additional scriptures, priesthood authority
Key PracticesBeliever’s baptism by immersion, Lord’s SupperBaptism, endowments, sealing, priesthood ordinations
DivisionsNumerous (e.g., Southern Baptist, American Baptist)Mainly LDS, with smaller offshoot groups
Central LocationVaries by denominationSalt Lake City, Utah
Sacred TextsBibleBible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price

In Mormonism, “Restoration” refers to the belief that the original church of Jesus Christ, lost after the apostolic age, was restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith.

This restoration included the return of priesthood authority, lost teachings, and additional scriptures, notably the Book of Mormon.

Communion: Similarities and Differences

Baptist TraditionMormonism (LDS Church)
MethodBread and grape juice/wine; symbolic of Christ’s body and bloodBread and water; symbolic of Christ’s body and blood
FrequencyVaries; often monthly or quarterlyWeekly during Sunday services
ParticipantsBelievers who have professed faith in JesusBaptized members; age 8 and older
SignificanceRemembrance of Christ’s sacrificeRenewal of baptismal covenants

Baptism: Similarities and Differences

Baptist TraditionMormonism (LDS Church)
MethodImmersion in waterImmersion in water
AgeAge of accountability; after a profession of faithAge 8 and older
PurposePublic declaration of faith and identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrectionEntrance into the LDS Church and covenant with God
Performed byOrdained ministers or church eldersPriesthood holders (usually at least Aaronic Priesthood)
Christian church
Do Baptists and Mormons believe in the Trinity? See below

Baptist and Mormon Beliefs: Similarities and Differences

Mormons differ from Baptists in their view of the Godhead.

While Baptists adhere to the Trinitarian concept of one God in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), Mormons see them as three distinct beings united in purpose, not one singular entity.

Baptist TraditionMormonism (LDS Church)
The BibleInerrant word of God; primary authorityOne of four standard works; additional scriptures recognized
GodOne God, eternal and unchangingHeavenly Father with a physical body; Godhead consists of three separate beings
Jesus ChristSon of God, fully divine and fully humanFirstborn spirit child of Heavenly Father; Savior of humanity
The TrinityOne God in three persons: Father, Son, Holy SpiritGodhead consists of three separate beings with one purpose
The Holy SpiritThird person of the Trinity; indwells believersSeparate being from Father and Son; provides guidance and testimony
The AtonementChrist’s sacrifice covers all sins for those who believeEssential for salvation; requires faith, repentance, and ordinances
The ResurrectionAll will be resurrected; believers to eternal lifeUniversal resurrection; varying degrees of glory based on life’s choices
The ChurchLocal congregations; autonomy; priesthood of all believersOrganized hierarchy; global church with centralized leadership
Church TraditionVaries; Sola Scriptura principle emphasizedChurch leaders’ teachings and revelations are important alongside scriptures
The Second ComingImminent return of Christ; pre-, post-, and amillennial viewsJesus will return and reign from two global capitals: Jerusalem and Zion (in America)

Mormons believe Jesus is the literal firstborn spirit child of God.

On the other hand, Baptists hold that Jesus existed eternally before the incarnation, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, not as a created being but as the eternal Son of God, part of the Trinity.

Christian Bible
Who killed Joseph Smith? See below

Baptist and Mormon Practices Compared

Baptist TraditionMormonism (LDS Church)
BaptismBy immersion after profession of faithBy immersion at age 8 or older by priesthood holder
CommunionLord’s Supper; symbolic remembranceSacrament; symbolic renewal of covenants
PrayerDirect communication with GodDirected to Heavenly Father in Jesus’ name
Church GovernanceLocal church autonomy; congregationalHierarchical with a prophet and apostles
Missionary WorkEncouraged; various mission boardsTwo-year missions encouraged for young adults
TithingEncouraged as act of worship and stewardshipMandatory 10% of income for good standing
Temple/Church ServiceWorship in churches; no templesWorship in chapels; sacred ordinances in temples
Laying on of HandsOften for ordination or healingEssential for certain ordinances like confirmation
FastingPersonal or congregational choiceMonthly fast for two meals; offerings given to the needy
Bible StudyEmphasized; personal and group studiesStudied alongside other LDS scriptures

In Mormonism, tithing is a command. If a member doesn’t tithe, they may not be deemed “temple worthy,” meaning they cannot participate in certain temple ordinances.

Additionally, not tithing might impact a member’s standing in the community and their ability to serve in certain church callings.

10 Key Events in Baptist and Mormon History

Baptist HistoryMormonism (LDS Church) History
1. John Smyth baptizes first English Baptists (1609)1. First Vision of Joseph Smith (1820)
2. Thomas Helwys establishes first Baptist church in England (1612)2. Publication of the Book of Mormon (1830)
3. Roger Williams founds First Baptist Church in America (1638)3. Church officially organized in Fayette, NY (1830)
4. London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)4. First temple dedicated in Kirtland, OH (1836)
5. Formation of the Baptist Missionary Society (1792)5. Mormons forced to leave Missouri (1838)
6. Southern Baptist Convention established (1845)6. Nauvoo era and martyrdom of Joseph Smith (1844)
7. Landmarkism movement emerges (1850s)7. Pioneers enter Salt Lake Valley (1847)
8. Baptist World Alliance formed (1905)8. Official declaration ending plural marriage (1890)
9. Conservative Resurgence in Southern Baptist Convention (1980s)9. Priesthood available to all worthy male members (1978)
10. Cooperative Program for missions funding initiated (1925)10. Dedication of the Rome Italy Temple (2019)

What is the largest denomination in the Baptist tradition?

The largest denomination within the Baptist tradition is the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

Founded in 1845 in the United States, the SBC has grown significantly and plays a prominent role in American evangelicalism, emphasizing biblical inerrancy and individual conversion experiences.

How did Joseph Smith die?

Joseph Smith was killed in 1844. He and his brother Hyrum were jailed in Carthage, Illinois, on charges related to destroying a printing press.

A mob stormed the jail, and both were fatally shot. His death marked a pivotal moment in Mormon history.

[2] Baptists – Britannica

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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