The Southern Baptist Convention is a Christian denomination with more than 16 Million members, making it one of the largest Protestant denominations in the world. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, an American who Mormons consider a prophet. Smith founded Mormonism in 1830 after claiming to have discovered another gospel of Jesus Christ, which is now known as The Book of Mormon. Despite similar differences in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Messiah, The Southern Baptist Convention has a history of advocating against Mormonism.
In 1997, SBCLife, an official journal publication of the Southern Baptist Convention, ran an article entitled, "Bizarre Theology Does Not Prevent Mormonism's Growth." The article warned of the rapid rise of Mormonism and instructed Southern Baptists to pray for those who had been "ensnared by the attractive nature of Mormonism but are unaware of its unbiblical doctrines.”
Points of Contention
Some key points of contention between the Southern Baptist Convention and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints include Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. Mormons believe that an angel named Moroni visited Joseph Smith and directed him to dig up and retrieve plates of gold. The plates of gold are said to have contained an ancient North American tribe’s account of Jesus’ teachings, which Smith translated and called The Book of Mormon. Mormons also believe that Smith was visited by Jesus himself and received revelations from God. The Southern Baptists believe Joseph Smith to be a false prophet, and believe his teachings and ideas to be incompatible with biblical Christianity.
Salt Lake Ministry
In 1998, the Southern Baptist Convention chose Salt Lake City, Utah as its national convention host. Salt Lake City is the organizational center of Mormonism, and the SBC dispatched 3,000 missionaries to Mormon neighborhoods hoping to spread the Southern Baptist faith and win converts among those who the SBC considered “lost.”
A “Cult” Religion
In the 1980s, much of Mormonism’s domestic growth was coming from converted Southern Baptists. This led the SBC to produce educational materials for its missionaries, pastors, and congregations. One such production was called "The Christian Confronting the Cults" and was an informational packet that detailed the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, the Worldwide Church of God, the Unification Church and Mormonism.
- George Frey/Getty Images News/Getty Images